Monday, April 30, 2018

Israel, and Palestinian Complaining

Leaders if American Jewish organizations literally fell off their chairs when they heard what Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told them in New York on March 27.

If the message was news to them, this also means that they have not been paying very close attention. This new news had een reported on this blog, and on the Israeli site Debkafile, many months ago. If they had been better informed they would not have hurt themselves by falling off their chairs.

In any event, Axios reported yesterday:

In a closed-door meeting with heads of Jewish organizations in New York on March 27th, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) gave harsh criticism of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), according to an Israeli foreign ministry cable sent by a diplomat from the Israeli consulate in New York, as well three sources — Israeli and American — who were briefed about the meeting.

The bottom line of the crown prince's criticism: Palestinian leadership needs to finally take the proposals it gets from the U.S. or stop complaining.

According to my sources, the Saudi Crown Prince told the Jewish leaders:

"In the last several decades the Palestinian leadership has missed one opportunity after the other and rejected all the peace proposals it was given. It is about time the Palestinians take the proposals and agree to come to the negotiations table or shut up and stop complaining."

And there’s more:

MBS also made two other points on the Palestinian issue during the meeting:

1.      He made clear the Palestinian issue was not a top priority for the Saudi government or Saudi public opinion. MBS said Saudi Arabia "has much more urgent and important issues to deal with" like confronting Iran's influence in the region.
2.    Regardless of all his criticism of the Palestinian leadership, MBS also made clear that in order for Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states to normalize relations with Israel there will have to be significant progress on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Fair enough, MBS did not repudiate the Palestinians completely, but he made clear his exasperation with them.

In the meantime American foreign policy seems to getting its bearings in the region. Secretary of State Pompeo’s visit to the region led to a Saudi attack on Houthi rebels—killing some of their leaders—and an Israeli missile strike on an Iranian base in Syria. One must conclude that the Tillerson/McMaster team was incompetent… at defending American interests in the region. This might, for all I know, be the reason why they lost their jobs.

Anyway, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia has labelled the Palestinian Authority a bunch of whiners. Apparently, Secretary Pompeo holds a similar view. In his recent visit to the region he did not deign to treat Mahmoud Abbas and Co. as players, if I might use the term. He did not meet with them and did not even ask for a meeting. With this gesture he declared the end to the moral equivalence between Israel and the Palestinians.

If the Palestinians where not whining, the New York Times was doing their whining for them. What would they do without the New York Times?

I imagine that this story is intended as news analysis:

TEL AVIV, Israel — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo came to Israel Sunday in the midst of the worst crisis in relations between Israelis and Palestinians in years, but he did not meet a single Palestinian representative and mentioned them publicly once.

For decades, American diplomats saw themselves as brokers between the two sides, and secretaries of state typically met Palestinian representatives on regional tours like this one. When relations between the two sides deteriorated, the United States sought to bridge the divide.

No more.

No one at the State Department called Palestinian leaders to ask for a get-together with Mr. Pompeo, according to Palestinian officials. And that may be because the Americans knew the answer they would have gotten: No.

Note how the authors construct the narrative to make appear that the Palestinians have some face. They were not shunted to the side. They would never have agreed to be party to any negotiation.

The Times seems to respect the Palestinian outrage, outrage that, incidentally, has destroyed the lives of generations of Palestinians in a futile attempt to destroy Israel:

Infuriated by President Trump’s decision in December to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, paving the way for the United States to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to the contested holy city, Palestinian leaders have cut off political contacts with the Trump administration. They say the White House can no longer be considered an honest broker in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

“There’s nothing to discuss,” said Xavier Abu Eid, a senior official of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Negotiations Affairs Department.

Of course, this is impotent rage. If, as reported here, Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman, along with Crown Prince of the Emirates, along with the president of Egypt told the Palestinian leader to make a deal, his rage is merely a cover up for his ignominious defeat.

Of course, the Times is having none of it. By their analysis the futile and suicidal protests on the border of Israel and Gaza has:

… generated global sympathy for the Palestinian cause….

Which global sympathy would that be? Does the New York Times newsroom take itself to be the “globe?”

The world is transfixed by the events on the Korean peninsula. The Arab world, especially the Sunni Arab world, has tired of Palestinian terrorism, not only because it sees many advantages to be gained by allying itself with Israel, but also because the Palestinian authority, a laboratory for Islamist terrorism, has tarnished the reputations of Arab Muslims around the world.

Pompeo’s task was to unite the region in the struggle against Iran. He did not go there to assuage the hurt feelings of the crybaby Palestinians.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Michelle Wolf's Misogyny

The internet is abuzz today about someone named Michelle Wolf. As you know, she headlined the White House Correspondents Dinner last night and managed to cover herself in ignominy by offering up a vulgar and ignorant attack on female members of the Trump administration.

As though to prove a point made more than a decade ago by Christopher Hitchens, Wolf was seriously unfunny. She was rude, offensive and obnoxious. There’s nothing funny about calling women professionals liars. And there is nothing funny about saying that Ivanka Trump is about as useful to a woman as an empty box of tampons.

If you fell down laughing when you heard that joke, you have been brainwashed to within a millimeter of your sanity.

Wolf also demonstrated point that intrigues me: women’s inhumanity to other women. Obviously, her madness had a method to it. Any woman who fails to toe the feminist party line will be taken out and trashed and thrashed. It was a warning shot against any woman who would think to vote for Trump. But, it also showed the misogyny at the heart of the feminist project. These are not women who like other women. These are women who only like women who belong to their cause.

The Trump administration has had a notably hostile relationship with the press. The president declared last night in Michigan that he refused to attend a dinner where empty-headed stand-up comedians would trash him and where he would be obliged to smile. Because if he didn’t smile he would be called ungracious… or something.

And yet, the press corps has been at war with the Trump administration. Opinion journalists are not the issue. Their views are clearly labeled as opinion and they more often than not live up to the label by being opinionated. The real issue is the slanting and skewing news coverage… in order to make the president look bad. No matter what happens the press wants to make Trump look bad. One cannot fail to mention that Trump, especially in his use of Twitter, often seems to be colluding with them.

In the meantime, the White House press corps could have shown some grace, some dignity and even some good humor. Donald Trump can laugh at himself. He has shown the ability to indulge self-deprecating humor. And yet, he will certainly not be impressed by the Michelle Wolf rant against women.

Many attendees noted that Wolf had pretty much ensured that President Trump will never attend such an event. And she had missed an opportunity to heal the breach that has opened up between the press and the Trump administration.

One notes the following tweets. Some of the journalists understood how bad it was for them:

That @PressSec sat and absorbed intense criticism of her physical appearance, her job performance, and so forth, instead of walking out, on national television, was impressive.

Unfortunately, I don't think we advanced the cause of journalism tonight.

Couldn’t agree more. So much important and amazing journalism this year — that should be the focus, when truth matters and is needed more than ever. It was an embarrassment in the room and surely to the audience at home. 

Nikki Haley Ascendant

Much to no one’s surprise, the most popular politician in America today is… U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley. Considering that former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson seemed overwhelmed by his job, Haley became the de facto spokesperson for Trump administration foreign policy.

She handled herself admirably. She spoke clearly and directly. She took stands and laid down markers. She sat tall and proud, a wonderful representative of the United States.

CNN has the story:

American voters of different partisan stripes don't agree on much nowadays, but they can agree on this: most of them approve of US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley.

A broad 63% of American voters approve of her job performance vs. only 17% who say they disapprove in a new Quinnipiac University poll. Twenty percent had no opinion. Her approval spans party lines: 75% of Republicans, 63% of independents and even 55% of Democrats say they approve of how she's handling her job.

Her boss, President Trump, has a 39% approval rating. Perhaps he should ask her how she does it.

Consider Haley’s communications skills. A couple of weeks ago she went out on the Sunday talk shows to announce that the administration, through Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, would be introducing new sanctions on Russia. Clearly, she had been instructed to say this. And then, someone in the crack White House policy team, changed his mind. The sanctions did not happen. Clearly, it was a major policy failure at the highest level of government. Such confusion does not provoke confidence. You cannot make policy by following the call of your gut.

Anyway, White House sources suggested that Haley had been confused… thus hanging her out to dry. Her response was exceptional. You recall it. She said:

“With all due respect, I don't get confused.”

The White House, in the person of Larry Kudlow, was forced to back down. But, note what Haley did. She did not complain about sexism. She did not whine about the injustice of it all. She certainly did not back down. She stated her position clearly and forthrightly. She did not explicitly accuse anyone of anything. She gave them a chance to take back what they had said.

As a communications strategy, it was brilliant. For those who believe that the only correct response to being treated unfairly is to denounce someone’s sexism, the Haley reply should serve as an excellent instance of how to do it.

It is especially important for women, given that the first woman presidential candidate, that would be Hillary Clinton, has been on an extended whinathon, showing poor sportsmanship and a sour disposition. Where Hillary blames everyone but herself for her appalling performance, Haley showed how a woman can exercise leadership and command respect.

The Kanye, Candace and Donald Show

The reasons escape me, but Kanye West’s affection for President Donald Trump has been all over the news.

I have two side-thoughts on the West-Trump bromance, both of which has been largely ignored in the media.

First, when Kanye West was hospitalized for what they call ""exhaustion in late November, 2016, the president-elect reached out to him. Apparently, they knew each other and called each other friends. Trump did what any decent human being would do when a friend was in trouble. Trump reached out and invited West to visit him at his headquarters at Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue.

West and Trump met in December, 2016… to discuss matters that concerned West, especially the state of the black community in his hometown of Chicago. The Obama years were not very good to Chicago blacks.

What’s the point? Simply, that Trump made a kind gesture, a gesture of respect and recognition, to a man who was down. He didn’t wish him well in therapy. He didn't tell him to get in touch with his feelings. He met with him publicly to discuss his concerns. The gesture enhanced West's self-respect, a good thing for someone who is feeling depressed.

No one notices such gestures, but, in the course of human existence, they count for more than the grand dramatic confrontations that fill up our news shows. During the recent brouhaha West noted that Obama had never met with him.

My second thought is this: those of us who are not very tuned in to the antics of the younger set now know the name of Candace Owens. As you know, the current brouhaha started when West saw Owens in action and declared on Twitter that he liked the way she thought. He was quite right to say so. 

Owens, who has gained enormous media exposure, is an exceptionally bright young woman. Disregarding the issue of her being on one side or another of the political divide, hasn’t it crossed your mind that the African-American community needs more role models who show academic excellence? There are many reasons why a community produces children who excel academically. One of the factors must be that those who do exceptionally well in school, who demonstrate uncommon intelligence, are revered and admired within the community.

Think what you want about Owens’ opinion. She ought to be praised for her brilliant mind. West did precisely that. A community that rises up against someone who is that smart is not going to produce too many children who excel academically.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Forever Amazon

If this is not the first time you have visited this blog, you might have noticed the new look. On the left side of the page I have added a link to Amazon. This means that you can go directly from this blog to the Amazon site. And, now that I am an Amazon Affiliates Associate, any time you use the link to go to Amazon and buy something, you are making a generous contribution to the blog. Feels like a win/win to me. Happy shopping!

Misogyny on the Left

Maybe we should be surprised. Somehow, we aren’t. After all, the feminist paradise of Sweden routinely covers up rapes by refugees. In my view, often expressed on this blog, the practice smacks of human sacrifice, sacrificing young women to the gods of multiculturalism.

And yet, we are still appalled when reading Tom Knighton’s report about the goings on in the Maine state legislature. The issue was a law banning female genital mutilation. As Knighton says, was there ever an issue more prone to have bipartisan support? Apparently not. The Democrats in the state legislature voted, in lockstep, to reject the ban. Thus, female genital mutilation is legal in Maine.

Read Knighton’s story and see the face of leftist misogyny:

If ever there was a bipartisan cause in this country, shouldn't it be banning female genital mutilation? Well, a bill banning FGM in the state of Maine was just voted down -- along party lines.

As Townhall's Elizabeth Yore reports, "69 GOP (and 1 Dem) [voted] for the bill and 77 Dems and Independents [voted[ against an FGM bill that would criminalize female genital mutilation."

Yore continues: "The Democratic House legislators who voted against this FGM bill curiously argued that 'FGM doesn’t happen in Maine,' despite the fact that Maine is one of only eight federal pilot programs to address the exponential growth of FGM in America. If little girls in Maine are not at risk for FGM, then why is Maine receiving more than $200,000 a year from the federal government to help prevent FGM?"

Even if the Democrats' claim, that "FGM doesn't happen in Maine," was true, what is the objection to banning the practice before it arrives there? In reality, this common practice in the Muslim world is being committed in the United States by immigrant populations.

Of course, genital mutilation does happen in Maine. It happens in Somali immigrant communities, and perhaps not merely there. And yet, the Maine Democratic Party could not bring itself to ban it.


In the first place, multiculturalists believe that the worst crime you can commit is bigotry. They are phobic about being accused of racism, so they open the doors to the genital mutilation of girls. Thus, they are willing to sacrifice young girls to the gods of multiculturalism.

Second, the American left has thoroughly embraced the cause of transgenderism. If you don’t accept it, you are a cold, heartless bigot. Since transgenderism has persuaded physicians and even parents to accept that a 6 or 8 year old child can declare him or herself to be of the opposite sex, it has happily accepted mutilation as treatment. Giving these children puberty blocking hormones, eventually mutilating their genitals, or, in the case of girls, giving them double mastectomies… has become acceptable medical practice.

The facts tell us that the large majority of children who claim to be of the opposite sex change their minds when they reach puberty. It does not matter to our thought police. Anything that protects you from the charge of bigotry is acceptable.

Call this by its name: pagan idolatry run amok. No wonder they hate Western civilization.

No Confidence in Sheriff Scott Israel

Some people can’t take a hint. The man who bears the most institutional  responsibility for the massacre at Stoneman Douglas High School, that would be Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, has received a stinging vote of no confidence from his deputies. It wasn't even close. Israel lost by 534-94. 

For now Sheriff Israel seems to be planning on clinging to his job. Not only is he incompetent, but he has no sense of dignity or decency. Better to blame the NRA, huh, Scott.

The deputies of Broward County have issued a stunning rebuke of Sheriff Scott Israel by voting “no confidence” in his leadership.

The deputies voted “no confidence” by a 534-94 margin and will ask Florida Governor Rick Scott to remove Israel from his position.

Sheriff Israel has faced intense scrutiny for the way he handled the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February.

Deputy Scot Peterson, the school resource officer on duty at the time of the shooting, waited outside when it was clear what was going on inside the school. It was later revealed that even after additional deputies arrived on scene, they waited behind their cars instead of entering the school and trying to eliminate the threat. The deputies were reportedly given an order to “stand down.”

Aside from the immediate response, Israel was also criticized because his office allegedly mishandled dozens of calls about the shooter, Nikolas Cruz.

Golden State Follies

How are things in California? How are things going in the most “woke” of American states? How are things going in the nation’s most progressive state and poorest state?

Glad you asked.

This (via Ed Driscoll at Instapundit) gives us the picture we need. Naturally, the Daily Mail, a London tabloid, tells the story. Incidentally, how does it happen that a London tabloid has to break the story?

In one superb headline the Daily Mail describes a San Francisco subway station:

'Simply unacceptable': Disturbing footage emerges of semi-conscious junkies openly shooting up in front of commuters in vomit-covered BART station as San Francisco struggles to contain its homeless problem

You will agree with me that it’s a great headline. Anyway, the story continues:

Junkies have been filmed openly shooting up in a San Francisco subway station amid piles of vomit and unconscious bodies. 

Commuter Shannon Gafford recorded the disturbing video at the Civic Center BART station, saying he sees the same thing every day.

BART managers point to a national homeless and opiate crises as the cause of the problem, saying they are simply 'overwhelmed' by the amount of drug use.

Posting his video to Facebook, Gafford wrote: 'Someone needs to clean this up. Every morning, every day, it's the same thing. 

'Junkies shooting up and making Bart the most pleasant experience ever! I walk the Civic Center Station everyday and not once has this changed. 

'Does someone need to be hurt first ? I've posted several of these videos and sent it to #BartSF #BartPoliceDepartment and nothing.'

And here are a few photos of the scene. Keep in mind, this is San Francisco, adjunct to Silicon Valley, place where the grandees of the high tech industry live and work. What do they have to say about any of this? What are they doing about it, except shielding themselves from the horrors that surround their high tech utopias?

A man was seen standing in the middle of the walkway, hunched over and still like a zombie (pictured)

Shannon Gafford filmed shocking footage of drug users openly shooting up at the Civic Center BART station in San Francisco

And then there’s the Los Angeles subway system, haven for the homeless. At least, this well reported story comes to us from the Los Angeles Times:

The early morning commuters stepping off the Metro escalator paid little attention to the 10 people huddled under blankets and curled up in corners at the Hollywood and Vine station.

John Gant, 60, lay sprawled on the tile floor, his hoodie drawn over his face. When three social workers stopped to ask if he wanted help, he nodded.

Over hot coffee and pages of paperwork, Gant, who had been homeless for years, called his mother to share the news. He cracked a rare smile, saying: “They’re trying to find me a place to sleep.”

The Metro system has been a refuge for homeless people for decades. But as Los Angeles County’s homeless population has surged, reaching more than 58,000 people last year, the sanitation and safety problems on trains and buses are approaching what officials and riders say are crisis levels.

People looking for warm, dry places to sleep have barricaded themselves inside emergency exit stairwells in stations, leaving behind trash and human waste. Elevator doors coated in urine have stuck shut. Mentally ill and high passengers have assaulted bus drivers and other riders.

And also:

Riders’ feelings about the safety of buses and trains have had a direct effect on ridership. More than 1 in 5 current passengers has been harassed on the train. In a 2016 survey, 29% of former riders told Metro they stopped taking transit because they felt unsafe.

“Too many homeless and not enough cops,” wrote one former rider, in survey responses reviewed by The Times. Others described their commutes as “filthy, noisy, scary” and “rather disturbing at times.”

As you might expect, the local citizens feel empathy for the misery they see around them:

Passengers who encounter chronic addiction, illness and misery say they feel they can do little to help, and struggle to stay empathetic when they encounter trash and human waste on platforms, urine in train cars, and harassment from riders who are mentally ill.

Complaints have been pouring in. Local authorities have stepped up policing. But, just to be sure, they are sending in an army of social workers to deal with the problem. That’s right. These people need therapy.

And guess what, the mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, wants to run for president. Will the entertainment never end.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Macron's Game

By now, everyone understands that French president Emmanuel Macron is vying for the role of leader of Western Europe. Calling him the leader of the Western alliance is a bit of an exaggeration, but he is certainly trying to elevate France over Germany in Western Europe… because of his friendship with President Donald Trump.

Anyone who compares the ceremonial levels of the visits of Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel cannot fail to see that the former is ascending while the latter, a close ally of Barack Obama, is descending in importance and influence. Whereas Obama went to Germany before his election to declare himself a citizen of the world—a Kantian formulation—President Trump attended last year’s Bastille Day celebrations in Paris, as the honored guest of President Macron.

We can mention in passing that Trump is barely welcome in England at all. As soon as his first trip was announced, London's mayor, the notoriously weak Sadiq Khan declared that it would be good to protest Trump. Comparing that gesture of disrespect with Trump's being welcomed at the French Bastille Day last year tells you most of what you need to know about the shift in Atlantic alliances.

If there is one thing that Trump wants to put at a distance, it’s Merkel’s open-arms policy toward refugees. Last week, the government of Emmanuel Macron has further cracked down on Muslim terrorists.  Just days before Macron visited America the French parliament, the National Assembly, approved a new tougher anti-immigration bill.

Donald Trump has found a partner, and ally and a friend in Emmanuel Macron. He ought to be happy about it. Obviously, Macron is a junior partner, but he has the president’s ear. Keep in mind, Macron is more than three decades Trump’s junior. Gestures interpreted as disrespectful might better be seen as avuncular.

The president respects Macron’s views and if you listened carefully to the news conference the two leaders held after their meetings, you would hear that each had made moves to close the gap between them. They were both conciliatory, in deal-making mode.

The Wall Street Journal editorialized this morning:

The French President said he’s willing to accept a revised Iran nuclear deal that includes at least some of President Trump’s demands.

“We want sustainable stability and I believe that the discussions we’ve had together make it possible to open the way, to pave the way, for a new agreement,” Mr. Macron said Tuesday, surprising many in Europe. The Trump-centric U.S. media gave more attention to Mr. Macron’s remarks a day later that he thinks Mr. Trump still wants to withdraw from the deal by May 12, but that isn’t news. Progress toward a joint Europe-U.S. revision is.

Revising the nuclear deal in order to ensure that Iran never obtain nuclear weapons— point made forcefully by Macron in his address to Congress—represents a step in the right direction. Between being for or against the JCPOA, the middle ground calls for a new, revised JCPOA. It is not nothing.

About Macron, I would emphasize a point that few commentators have remarked on, but that would not have escaped the attention of the French. Namely, that Macron came to America, negotiated with Donald Trump and addressed a joint session of Congress… in ENGLISH.

The French take great pride in their language. They want more and more people to speak it. They are terrified at Anglo-Saxon cultural hegemony and have made strenuous efforts to protect their culture from empirical and pragmatic thinking. One notes that Macron, a technocrat and Anglophile, a man who got his political start working for a Socialist government, is turning his nation toward America and toward Great Britain. He is rationalizing the economy and changing socialist labor laws. At a time when Bernie Sanders wants to guarantee everyone a job, Macron wants to put an end to the French labor laws that make it impossible to fire people and that allow railway workers, for example, to retire at age 52 with full benefits.

Macron has enjoyed a level of success that his predecessors, from the left or the right, have not. It is certainly not nothing. We do not know the outcome, but we see that he is moving his country in a positive direction.

Obviously, Macron is president of France. His job is to enhance French national pride. Many French intellectuals and other leftists are horrified to see Macron pal around with Donald Trump, but he is also palling around with the president of the United States, treated with dignity and respect. People cannot fail to notice the ceremonial symbolism. And they should be proud to see that the American president respects him. 

Of course, the American left saw Macron’s speech to Congress as a repudiation of Trumpism. In truth, no matter what he had said they would have considered it a repudiation of Trumpism. He asserted the virtue of the Paris Climate Accord and spoke against nationalism. Democrats cheered lustily, better than sitting on their hands when Donald Trump told them about improving employment rates in minority communities.

One needs to understand that Macron was speaking to two audiences. He was speaking to the American Congress but he was also speaking to his own nation. If he had sounded like an American president, like any American president, he would have alienated his own nation. So he affirmed his national pride without speaking down to America and without speaking up to a superior world power. It was a delicate balancing act, one that Macron seems, in large part to have accomplished.

If anything Macron's presence, the ceremonial welcome Trump accorded him, showed that Macron was the living breathing repudiation of Merkel and Obama.

Killing Alfie Evans

To those of us who retain an ounce of human sympathy the situation makes no sense whatever. The case of Alfie Evans has attracted worldwide attention, as well it should. Alfie Evans might not celebrate his second birthday because the National Health Service of Once-Great Britain has decided that he has to die.

Apparently, Alfie is terminally ill. He is in a semi-vegetative state. The NHS is tired of paying for his treatment. I am not competent to judge the medical issues at hand. And yet, the question is not whether the NHS should or should not pay for more treatment. The question, decided by a court, was whether Alfie’s parents could take him to Rome where physicians were at the ready to try to treat him.

It will cost British taxpayers nothing. It will cost the NHS nothing. And yet, a British court has forbidden the parents from trying this last ditch treatment. It feels like the most abject cruelty. It might be futile, but why do judges decide this? The child has nothing to lose. Why has the British court system become a death panel? In a nation that prides itself on its no longer practicing capital punishment....

As of now, the ventilator has been turned off. The child is being denied food and water. And the British call themselves civilized?

The Independent Women’s Forum has the story:

Alfie Evans is a terminally ill 23-month-old child in Liverpool, receiving health care through the National Health Service (NHS). Suffering from epilepsy and a neurogenerative disease, he has been on a ventilator for about a year in a semi-vegetative state. The hospital recommended that active treatment be stopped – which would result in his death. The parents have desperately tried to transfer Alfie to another hospital where treatment might be continued, and have been repeatedly blocked; in fact, the hospital made efforts to remove the family’s parental rights in court, which they eventually walked back in the face of a substantial backlash.

In response, Alfie’s mother and father mounted a public relations campaign to try and save their son’s life by controlling his health care – a petition to release Alfie to a hospital of his family’s choosing garnered over 500,000 signatures, and the Vatican has offered to fly him to Rome to continue treatment. Sadly, British courts barred the family from taking their son out of the Alder Hey Hospital, despite the fact that Italian government granted Alfie Italian citizenship and is providing an air ambulance outside the hospital to transport him. On Monday, Alfie’s ventilator was turned off – yet somewhat miraculously, the child began to breathe on his own. Nevertheless, the hospital has withheld oxygen, water, and food from him as the legal wrangling continues.

A Murder Epidemic in Latin America

The only possible reason why President Trump wants to build a wall on America’s southern border is raw, unadulterated bigotry. Because if you are a bigot you see everything in terms of bigotry. After all, if things are no so good south of the border, the fault must lie with America's oppressive capitalist culture.

In any event, it makes no sense that Trump would want to shield America from the fine and productive people of Mexico, South and Central America. Unless, of course, you discover, via the Daily Mail, that Latin America has earned the dubious distinction of being the world leader in homicide. If you think Chicago is bad, take a gander at what is going on south of our border.

The Daily Mail reports on the latest study:

Latin America has suffered a 'breathtaking' wave of homicidal violence with more than 2.5million murders since 2000, a report has revealed.

The region accounts for a third of the world's murders - despite being home to only eight per cent of the global population, according to the Brazilian think-tank, the Igarapé Institute.

About 25 per cent of all global homicides take place in four of the region's countries - Colombia, Venezuela, Mexico and Brazil.

The institute's report said the 'sheer dimensions of homicidal violence are breathtaking' with almost half of all victims aged between 15–29.

It continues:

Of the 20 nations in the world with the highest homicide rates, 17 are in Latin America, where the proportion of murders involving firearms is 'astonishingly high' at 75 per cent compared to a global average of 40 per cent, the report found.

Meanwhile, of the 50 cities in the world with the highest murder rates, 43 are in the region - topped by San Salvador in El Salvador.

Ah, yes, San Salvador. Home of the MS-13 gang. How could anyone be so heartless as to prevent these people from coming to our great country.

The lines on the Statue of Liberty say: Bring us your tired and your poor, huddled masses yearning to live free. A noble sentiment, indeed. To which we might add: keep your killers, your assassins, your gang bangers to yourself. 

Thursday, April 26, 2018

California as a Thought Police State

Do you see America’s future in California? When Ross Douthat recently traveled to his home state with his family, he reflected on whether California would become our future.

Those who want it to be so have unleashed a torrent of vitriol against those who oppose their big ideas. They are trying to turn their world into a police state, a state where they have a monopoly in the marketplace of ideas. Douthat calls it a one party state, though it is more accurate to call it a one party thought police state… a state that polices your mind but not behavior.

In the ongoing culture war, tech oligarchs like Jack Dorsey of Twitter want to live in a world where everyone thinks the same thoughts, feels the same feelings and believes the same beliefs. This state has thought police to impose the right ideas on everyone. Its adherents do not want to win territory or even to attain prosperity: they want absolute control over everyone’s minds. That's how they win elections. If that doesn’t scare you, you are not paying attention.

Let’s say that you live in California and do not accept the LBGT agenda. Your children will be taught it and will be indoctrinated in it, whatever you think. Do you want to spare your children such lessons? You have no right to do so.

Todd Starnes reports from California (via Maggie’s Farm):

Parents in Orange County, California may not opt their children out of lessons related to gender identity or sexual orientation, according to a memorandum written by the school district’s general counsel.

“Parents who disagree with the instructional materials related to gender, gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation may not excuse their children from this instruction,” read the memorandum from Ronald Wenkart to the Orange County Board of Education.

A school district spokesman confirmed the authenticity of the memorandum sent to us by a parent.

“However, parents are free to advise their children that they disagree with some or all of the information presented in the instructional program and express their views on these subjects to their children,” the attorney wrote.

The most frightening part of the diktat is that the school district is graciously allowing parents to offer opposing ideas to their own children. Think about it, in what kind of world do parents need to apply to school officials before expressing their views to their children, before providing their children with a moral education?. You know and I know that one of these days some administrator is going to decide that parental authority must not be allowed to make such determinations.

If you like, you can call this liberalism, but it is illiberality on steroids. It is radical leftist ideology. It owes far more to Hegel than to John Stuart Mill.

Why is it happening in California? And why are the tech oligarchs leading the way? It makes some sense. They have established a virtual monopoly over information technology and now they believe that they ought also to have a monopoly over the marketplace of ideas. 

Ironically, they are not the masters of their own minds. They are not independent thinkers, but have been indoctrinated. They believe fervently in the dogmas of the Church of the Liberal Pieties because a band of big thinking academics and media commentators have seduced their minds.

Recall our discussions of how Bill Gates, the world’s richest dupe, was conned by Harvard professor Steven Pinker into embracing a polemic for atheism disguised as a glorification of the Enlightenment.

Douthat comments on the advent of a one-party state in California:

For all its deranging effects, I am always grateful to Twitter for the interesting ideas it surfaces. But rarely does this surfacing happen quite so overtly as it did earlier this month, when Jack Dorsey, the Twitter C.E.O., tweeted out as a “great read” an article series urging national Democrats to seek the kind of final victory they’ve won in California, in which the G.O.P. is reduced to a rump under one-party Democratic rule.

As of now, by all evidence, the 2018 elections will be a blue wave. Republicans have been underperforming in the off-year elections. If the trend continues—a big if—Democrats will take control of the House of Representatives. Whatever power the nation gave to the Republican Party in 2016 seems to have been squandered… in some part because the media has shown such unremitting hostility toward Trump and Republicans that many people are willing to vote Democratic in order to shut down the media vitriol machine….

While Trump has scored some important successes, these are always portrayed as disasters in the making. Trump gets no credit and Congressional Republicans—exception made for tax reform-- do not seem capable of governing. It began when John McCain killed Obamacare reform. Recently an eye surgeon from Kentucky threatened to undermine the nomination of the exceptionally bright and capable Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State for reasons that defied reason.

To understand California, Douthat argues, we must understand that the state has lost its middle class. It is now divided into the hyperrich and the immigrant or minority poor. There is next to nothing in between. The state is beginning to resemble the Central American oligarchies that the new migrants are fleeing. A very rich upper class owns all assets, especially agricultural assets, and the rest get crumbs… or join gangs.

To begin with, you can’t understand the political transformation of California without understanding how much it has been shaped by a long-term middle class exodus — the out-migration, across years and decades, of the kind of people who in the Trump era tend to vote Republican, the native-born petit-bourgeoisie. This out-migration has been compensated for by in-migration, but the new arrivals are more likely to be either immigrants or well-educated professionals: Since the 1990s new Californians are disproportionately likely to make around $200,000 a year, ex-Californians are disproportionately likely to make around $45,000.

An interesting point, so we underscore it. Yesterday we were pondering the fact that the blue state outmigration risks sending Democratic voters into Republican tax havens. In California, apparently, many of those who are leaving the state are natural born Republicans… leaving the state with high tech oligarchs who are using their power to promote their ideology and very poor people. After all, over forty percent of California households do not speak English.

If California is a laboratory for today’s progressive liberalism, it is fair to note, as Douthat does, that the leftist utopia is becoming a dystopia:

And ambitious liberals will have to do so while evangelizing on behalf of a social-political model that right now looks nothing like the ideal egalitarian society liberalism claims that it can build. Under one-party liberal rule, California is presently as unequal as a Central American republic, with one of the highest poverty rates in the country once you control for its exorbitant cost of living. Its educational performance is lousy and its racial gaps are stark — which is why it’s not only lower-middle class whites moving back to red America, and why black complaints about white liberal gentrifiers in SoCal or the Bay Area can resemble the complaints of Trump-leaning ex-Californians. As in other enclaves where Democrats are dominant, its ruling party has proved itself pretty good at rentier-friendly environmentalism and kicking social conservatives while they’re down, O.K. enough at redistribution, and completely terrible at figuring how to build an information-age middle class.

Think about it, California has every manner of environmental regulation. Today’s liberal left, ensorcelled by Mother Nature, is happy to shut down industry and even a large amount of agriculture in order to preserve the pristine beauty of the natural world. We note that California’s most important industries, entertainment and technology are pure and clean. They are not like mining and manufacturing, traditionally dirty industries. 

Of course, shutting down industry promotes poverty and unemployment. It forces the middle class out of the state. But, perhaps that is what the thought police want. They want to rid the state of anyone who would dare defy their edicts and pronouncements and would reject their dogmatic beliefs.

Of course, it will be a calamity. Thought control inevitably produces a reaction. At least, we like to think so. The peasants with their pitchforks will eventually see what is happening and will put an end to what Douthat calls:

… the sun-kissed aristocracy that liberals have built … in what was once, but no longer, the proving ground for the American dream.