Free Markets, Free People

Bruce McQuain

Stray Voltage

Is the “open borders” movement coming to an end in Europe because of Islamic terrorism?

Germans appear to be losing faith in the idea of a borderless Europe, as the results of a poll published on Tuesday showed that two-thirds would prefer the government to end the Schengen free-movement zone.

The survey by French pollsters Ifop found that while 60 percent of Italians were against Schengen – an agreement which allows people to travel within the EU without showing a passport – across the Rhine the number of French people wanting borders closed was as high as 72 percent.

The apparent “thank you for allowing us in” from the Brussels bombers has helped pour cold water on the idea that borders between countries in Europe should be uncontrolled. And:

With 79 percent of Germans now believing that some migrants may be potential terrorists, numbers are similar to those in France (80 percent) and a little behind those in Italy (84 percent).

My goodness, who knew so many “Islamaphobic” people lived in … Europe?  I thought that was strictly a “right-wing” American problem.

A “New Red Guard” update.  This time at Dartmouth where protesters got a sorority to cancel its “Kentucky Derby Party” because it was  … “racist and elitist.”  Yes, that’s right friends, the NRG thought it was elitist because it was a private party (apparently, in The New Red Guard’s world, those are verboten) and racist because it reminded certain special snowflakes of the ‘Old South’ and gave them the vapors.

“We realized that if anyone on campus felt uncomfortable or upset with the theme, then we obviously shouldn’t have it,” said KDE social chair Jehanna Axelrod.

KDE vice president Nikol Oydanich said house members were convinced by critics that the party was racially offensive because it evoked the aesthetics of the plantation-era South.

“[It is] related to pre-war Southern culture,” she said. “Derby was a party that had the power to upset a lot of our classmates.”

As the article notes, the first Kentucky Derby was run in 1875 and had, therefore, no relation to the “plantation era” South, but was instead a post war sporting event that became a tradition.

But, hey, those are facts and we all know that the historically illiterate who populate our colleges and universities anymore aren’t interested in facts.  It’s all about feelings and perception.  What it’s not about, at least for the NRG, is anyone’s feelings or perceptions but their own.  And they’re they’re certainly not going to let facts stand in the way of those!

Big article in The Guardian about how the rest of them have to halt the “far right” in Europe, because …!  Yeah, that’s the part that never gets fully explained, but there were some laugh-out-loud paragraphs that simplicity explain why the “far-right” are making gains there.

For example:

Citizens’ lack of trust in the capacity of governments to get on top of problems is what fuels the growth of far-right parties. These, in turn, threaten Europe’s democratic fabric and social cohesion. If these movements continue proliferating, they will spell the end of the EU as a project, and possibly the end of stability and peace in our region.

Citizen’s lack that trust because government has consistently failed over decades to get on top of the “problems” in question.  It is the same reason Trump is so popular here (although I’d hardly call him “far-right).  None of the politicians on either side of the pond seem to get this.  And that causes what?

European citizens will migrate to political extremes in even higher numbers if EU institutions and governments don’t manage to build trust in the system. Right now, that can be done only if decisive steps are taken both against terrorism and uncontrolled migration. It may sound cynical, but lofty idealism simply won’t do the trick.

And we all know that’s not the prescription the leadership of various European nations are pushing is it?  As usual, both here and in Europe, the voice of the people is being ignored for those “lofty ideals” which lead precisely down the road now being traveled.

So?

Tolerance was once described by Merkel as “the heart and soul of Europe”. The painful paradox today is that halting the advance of parties that promote intolerance, want to bury the EU, and feel empowered by recent tragic events, may require some maximalist moral postures to be abandoned.

 Or to translate the progressive type who wrote the article, maybe a degree of “intolerance” (i.e. protecting citizens from people who are much more “intolerant” to their way of life than the other way around) is the answer.  Because,  you know, mindless tolerance has been so well rewarded, hasn’t it?

Speaking of progressives and history, you have to wonder how in the world that movement has been so successful in redefining itself over the years that it has apparently hidden its very nasty roots:

You don’t have to take my word for it. Read the excellent new book by Princeton’s Thomas Leonard, Illiberal Reformers: Race Eugenics and American Economics in the Progressive Era. Under the banner of a “New Nationalism,” progressives called for a centralized administrative state manned by expert managers and planners, who would use “scientific methods” to enhance human welfare.

Believing that social progress “required the individual to be controlled, liberated and expanded by collective actions,” progressive intellectuals perceived human persons as “lumps of human dough” to be formed on the “social kneading board.”

That molding, Leonard points out, was to be done “by the best and the brightest, those who, uniquely, ignored profit and power to serve the common good – which is to say, the progressives themselves.”

These experts denied inalienable rights. Their hero, Woodrow Wilson, called them “nonsense.” The editors of the progressive journal, The New Republic, spoke for the movement when it ridiculed individual liberties as “quaint and retrograde.” The leading progressive legal scholar, Roscoe Pound (1879-1964) author of Social Control Through Law, argued the ten amendments in the Bill of Rights “were not needed in the [founders time] and they are not desired in our own.”

Believing that the State superseded even God, progressives encouraged government officials to embrace eugenics – “the social control of human breeding” to rid the nation of perceived undesirables.

Progressive-era eugenics, Leonard writes, “required agreement upon three things only – the primacy of heredity, human hierarchy rather than human equality, and the necessary illiberal idea that human heredity must be socially controlled rather than left to individual choice.”

In 1911, N.J. governor, Woodrow Wilson, signed into forcible sterilization legislation aimed at “the hopelessly defective and criminal classes.” Numerous states and municipalities followed Wilson’s lead.

Read the whole article.  How they are able to maintain the veneer of freedom loving individuals who are there to right wrongs when their history is a litany of subjugation, class warfare, elitism, social control and discrimination based on race is beyond me, but – aided and abetted by the media – they have.  They pushed eugenics, for heaven sake! Government sponsored eugenics. Remind you of anyone?

Bill Clinton tangled with the Black Live Matter gang and frankly came out on top.

Oh, no, no, no … he can’t do that, say various progressives, because they’re one of the protected minorities.  Or so the implication goes.  In fact one writer at Slate, after this particular episode, called on Hillary to fire him:

It was a mess, but it’s not the first mess he’s caused for his wife’s campaign. Just a couple of weeks ago, he decried “the awful legacy of the last eight years,” which sounded a lot like a condemnation of the Obama presidency—a presidency that Hillary Clinton is doing her best to tie herself to. And in February, Clinton said that if the system is rigged, it’s because Americans “don’t have a president that’s a changemaker.”

One might attribute this repeated clumsiness to the fact that Bill Clinton is getting old; his hearing is bad, and on the trail he looks frail and wan. Perhaps he’s simply slipping, mentally. But let’s remember that Clinton caused similar problems for Hillary in 2008. There was the time he tried to diminish Obama’s victory in South Carolina by noting that Jesse Jackson won there as well. The time he described the idea that Obama had gotten the Iraq war right as “the biggest fairy tale I’ve ever seen.” The time—it hurts to remember it—when he complained that the Obama campaign “played the race card on me.”

And yet, after all that, once Hillary had lost and Bill Clinton was supporting Obama, the sloppiness ceased and he was back to performing superbly. (Witness, for example, his celebrated speech at the 2008 Democratic convention.) It is somehow only when he is working on his wife’s behalf that he veers into sabotage. What is needed here is probably a shrink, not a neurologist. Either he doesn’t want her to overtake him, or he doesn’t want her to repudiate him. Regardless, Hillary should shut him down. She can’t divorce him, but she can fire him.

Yup … can’t be talkin’ truth to stupidity now, can we?  Especially when the black vote is once again important.  Give it a year, black folks … they’ll go right back to forgetting about you as they always have in the past.  Meanwhile, Bill, the old codger, is apparently shaking up the myth by telling more truth than he has in his life.  Ain’t old age wonderful?

Have a great weekend!

~McQ

Venezuela gives new meaning to black (out) Friday

Indeed, not only can you not get any staples at grocery stores in the socialist paradise of Venezuela, now there’s an energy shortage.

Solution!?  Take Friday off for a couple of months (because no one uses electricity at home)!

President Nicolas Maduro said Venezuelans will have “long weekends” in an appearance on state television on Wednesday night, announcing the measure as part of a 60-day plan to fight a power crunch.

“This plan for 60 days, for two months, will allow the country to get through the most difficult period with the most risk. I call on families, on the youth, to join this plan with discipline, with conscience and extreme collaboration to confront this extreme situation,” Maduro said.

Yes, discipline, conscience and extreme collaboration because your government has so screwed the pooch that the poor thing is dying.  And it is your responsibility, dear Venezuelans, to do with out to fix their mess.

You see, they’ve flat run out of yours and other people’s money and they’re now calling on you to sacrifice even more!

And even with Venezuela and Cuba as prime examples of what Senator Sanders is pushing, there is a significant portion of the voting public that is trying to “feel the Bern”.

All the Venezuelans want is to “feel” a little electricity, oh, and milk and toilet paper, and diapers, and vegetables and meat, meat would be nice, and …

~McQ

 

Being “wonderful” with other people’s money

Or, the definition of politics today (and how Margret Thatcher defined socialism).  Today’s “wonderful” people?  Well they’re all in California.  Example one:

San Francisco on Tuesday became the first city in the United States to approve six weeks of fully paid leave for new parents — mothers and fathers, including same-sex couples, who either bear or adopt a child.

California is already one of only a few states that offer paid parental leave, with workers receiving 55 percent of their pay for six weeks, paid for by employee-financed public disability insurance. The new law in San Francisco, passed unanimously by the city’s Board of Supervisors, mandates full pay, with the 45 percent difference being paid by employers.

That’s right friends, the price of being nice means charging employers 45% more for paid family leave just for the privilege of doing business in San Francisco. Isn’t that just “wonderful”?

Well of course it is … just ask the clueless:

The United States, which guarantees up to 12 weeks of unpaid parental leave, is the only developed country that does not guarantee all new parents paid parental leave. Expectant mothers get 18 weeks of paid leave in Australia, 39 weeks in the UK, and 480 days in Sweden.

That’s right, they do it in … say it with me, Europe!  You know, the group of countries, all of which were they states in the US, would be poorer than Mississippi.  That’s what we want, isn’t it boys and girls!

It is the responsibility of others to pay for our choices! Because, you know, it’s the fault of the employer its employees get pregnant and miss work.  They should pay them for that time.  And what the heck, they can just socialize the payment by raising their prices, can’t they?

And, of course, they can socialize even more with California’s new $15 minimum wage.  Because everyone knows that employers ‘owe’ employees a “living wage”.  However, don’t forget members of California’s various governments up to their necks in giving away other people’s money – employers still have choices, and you can believe when they are feasible and affordable, they will exercise them.

When that happens, Cal Pols, you can hold a math quiz with everyone who finds themselves looking for work because employers took their business elsewhere or automated.

The question?

“What’s $15 dollars times zero hours?

Oh, wait, I forgot  … government run schools.

Never mind.

~McQ

When government interferes in a market, results are predictable

And it is neck deep in health care.  So, with the passage of ObamaCare, what is the state of medicine?

Oh, just great:

The doctor is disappearing in America.

And by most projections, it’s only going to get worse — the U.S. could lose as many as 1 million doctors by 2025, according to a Association of American Medical Colleges report.

Primary-care physicians will account for as much as one-third of that shortage, meaning the doctor you likely interact with most often is also becoming much more difficult to see.

Now, 2025 is 9 years away and, the “primary-care physician” is the star of ObamaCare because he or she is the “gatekeeper”.  However, which doctor is the worst compensated of all doctors?

Why the gatekeeper of course.  And, that’s by design.  Government design:

Starting salaries in high-paying specialties can range from $354,000 (general surgery) to $488,000 (orthopedic surgery), while primary-care fields tend to bring a sub-$200,000 starting salary, from$188,000 (pediatrics) to $199,000 (family medicine), according to a Merritt Hawkins report.

Why?

The pay disparities reflect America’s “fee for service” health-care model, which compensates providers based on the number and type of services they complete, and which inherently favors specialists.

Anyone know what entity pushes the “fee for service” model?  Can you say “Medicare”?  And yes, the insurance companies follow their lead. Hence, we have doctors in the primary care field looking at specializing because as gatekeepers, they are mostly the chief “referrer” to the other medical specialties … the ones that get paid more.

Wow … what a surprise then that the field of primary care is looking at a future shortage.  It’s another one of those “human nature” things that central planners simply can’t wrap their brains around.

Then there’s the exacerbation of the problem by ObamaCare:

The shortage is one that’s been stewing for decades but of late was exacerbated by passage of the Affordable Care Act, which increased the number of insured people and along with that the demand for doctor access, experts say.

As we’ve mentioned countless times, having insurance does not equal having care.  And as the number of gatekeepers dwindles, that problem will become even more acute.

Of course everyone knows what the answer that will be put forth by our political leaders don’t they?  Why of course more government.  You know, like the UK, where the former head of the NHS just died because the operation she needed was postponed 4 times.

~McQ

Meanwhile, The New Red Guard carries on …

Under the banner, “you can’t make this stuff up”, enjoy the following bit of idiocy:

Southwestern University in Texas has canceled its annual production of “The Vagina Monologues” because its author, Eve Ensler, is white — and featuring a performance written by a white lady would just not be inclusive to women of other races.

Instead, the school will host a performance of “We are Women,” which promises to “address similar experiences while emphasizing women of color,” according an article in the Megaphone, the school’s official newspaper.

Well, it promotes “similar experiences” except for white women I guess.  Who knew “women of color” didn’t have vaginas?

Yes, this is indeed patently absurd.  The Vagina Monologues was written as a feminist play to emphasize the supposed problems of women.  Thus it was totally inclusive of … women.  But not inclusive enough for The New Red Guard.

In fact:

Cancelling performances of “The Vagina Monologues” has become a bit of a trend on college campuses these days. For example, just last year, all-women’s Mount Holyoke College canceled its own performance on the grounds that the production was not “inclusive” enough to people who identify as women but do not have actual vaginas.

No, really … it’s all about their definition of “inclusivity” and a feminist play, if written by a white woman, just doesn’t make the grade anymore.

You have to laugh at this sort of nonsense to remain sane.  The one sterling good coming out of all of this is at whom many of these attacks are aimed.  Leftists.  Old Guard leftists.  And a more deserving group I cannot imagine.

But the real point here is the implied claim that whites, no matter their gender, have nothing of value to say or add.  This isn’t new by any stretch, it’s just become more common.  For instance, this from early last year from The New Red Guard at, yeah, Berkeley:

We are calling for an occupation of syllabi in the social sciences and humanities. This call to action was instigated by our experience last semester as students in an upper-division course on classical social theory. Grades were based primarily on multiple-choice quizzes on assigned readings. The course syllabus employed a standardized canon of theory that began with Plato and Aristotle, then jumped to modern philosophers: Hobbes, Locke, Hegel, Marx, Weber and Foucault, all of whom are white men. The syllabus did not include a single woman or person of color.

Of course, if you look closely, it’s not just “white men” they’re shooting at, it is the foundational philosophies of the West.  Apparently they believe that if there were women and persons of color writing philosophy during the same eras, they must have had something just as important to say, seeing as how their cultures matured equally with that of the West (and yeah, I know that some of the dead white dudes were not especially enamored of the West’s culture at the time). What the TNRG don’t seem to understand is they live in Western culture and the class is about “classical social theory” and thus likely wouldn’t include philosophers who had no impact on that “classical society” or those who lived outside of it and had no impact.

But this is all about gender and skin color … not context or logic.

Speaking of context and logic, James Lileks adds them:

College, apparently, is now a place where the notions of people freshly matriculated from high school must be handled with oven mitts and lightly buffed with soft cloth lest their orthodoxies suffer the slightest abrasion. Like the school that canceled the annual performance of The Vagina Monologues because it othered non-traditional women who lacked the titular orifice, it’s a delightful example of leftist autophagy. Marx is in foul order in Berkeley not for his ideas, or the heaps of corpses accumulated in his name, but because he had a prostate.

Yes, indeed. Oh, and because he was white.

~McQ

“Occidentophobia”?

Interesting article by a Dutch author that talks about the immigrant problem in Europe.  As always, read the whole thing.  But I was struck by these two paragraphs:

In December 2013, Professor Ruud Koopmans of the Berlin Social Science Center published a study on “Fundamentalism and out-group hostility,” in which he compared hostility among Muslim immigrants with hostility among Christian natives in Western Europe. He writes: “Almost 60 percent agree that Muslims should return to the roots of Islam, 75 percent think there is only one interpretation of the Quran possible to which every Muslim should stick and 65 percent say that religious rules are more important to them than the laws of the country in which they live.” In regards to Christian citizens he concludes: “Less than 4 percent can be characterized as consistent fundamentalists.”

On hatred of Jews and homosexuals among Europe’s Muslim population, Koopmans finds: “Almost 60 percent reject homosexuals as friends and 45 percent think that Jews cannot be trusted. While about one in five natives can be considered as Islamophobic, the level of phobia against the West among Muslims — for which oddly enough there is no word; one might call it ‘Occidentophobia’ — is much higher still, with 54 percent believing that the West is out to destroy Islam.” Recorded rates of Christian hate toward Muslims hover around 10 percent.

I am enamored of the new term because, more than anything, it is a term that can be thrown back at those who like to trot out “Islamaphobia” each and every time anyone attempts to discuss radical Islam.  So what’s the problem with Muslims, aka the “religion of peace”, that so many of them have hatred for the West and Western ways?  Doesn’t that qualify for a “phobia” for heaven sake – especially in the era of being tagged as ___aphobic (fill in the blank) of you disagree about anything the left is invested in.

The article says much of the problem in Europe is that Muslims there aren’t assimilated.  I can believe that.  The question, however, is how much of that is Europe’s fault and how much of that is the immigrant’s fault.  For instance, if you’re not willing to subordinate your culture (religious or otherwise) to the dominant culture, you’re not going to be assimilated.  If that’s the case, and the numbers are as indicated, aren’t then a majority of immigrant Muslims “phobic” about the West?

So, why are they there?

That’s the salient question, if the data is true, and it is one that EU leaders and those in the US, won’t ask or face.

If not to assimilate, what is the purpose of your immigration?

That question likely will see me labeled as “Islamophobic”.  If so, I can live with that.

~McQ

It all depends on how you define “existential threat”

Our Idiot-in-Chief recently opined that we shouldn’t take the JV team very seriously because they’re just not an existential threat.  Of course when I heard that I had to ruefully shake my head and remind myself that January of next year will be here soon. To paraphrase another yahoo that once occupied the Oval office, it depends on what the meaning of “existential” is.

If we’re doing a hand wave and pretending they’re a conventional force, then yes, they are not an “existential” threat.  They have no airforce capable of penetrating American airspace.  Certainly they have no navy.  And they haven’t any airlift capability or conventional weaponry that poses any threat to the American mainland.

But that’s not the war they’re waging is it?

Of course it isn’t.  They are, instead, waging what used to be termed “unconventional warfare”.  They’re using guerrilla tactics.  They’re targeting soft targets in far away lands.  And, according to a new study, they’ve upped the ante by plenty:

The deadly toll of terrorism around the globe has jumped nearly 800 percent in the past five years, according to an exhaustive new report that blames the alarming expansion of Islamist groups across the Middle East and Africa.

The nonprofit Investigative Project on Terrorism found that an average of nearly 30,000 people per year have been killed by terrorists since 2010, when terrorism’s death toll was 3,284. The authors of the study, which tabulated the numbers through the end of 2015, say that the exponential increase shows two troubling trends: More attacks are happening, and they tend to be deadlier than ever.

“Everyone has known that terrorist attacks have generally been increasing yearly since 9/11,” Steven Emerson, executive director of IPT, tells FoxNews.com. “But the magnitude of the increase of the attacks surprised us, especially in the past five years. Even if you look back at the annual reports issued by the most senior analysts in the top five intelligence and counter-terrorism agencies, there is not one report that predicted or forecasted that we would likely see such a massive escalation of attacks.”

The study notes that most of the attacks have been centered in the Middle East and Africa.

In addition to ISIS, groups like Boko Haram in Nigeria and Al Shabaab in Somalia have been on the rise in the last few years. The Taliban has been resurgent in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where it took responsibility for Sunday’s Easter attack on Christians in Lahore; Kurdish-affiliated groups have been blamed for bombings in Turkey; Palestinian terrorists have waged at least two uprisings in Israel and Al Qaeda has continued to be active in Syria and Yemen, among other locations.

The terror groups, particularly those in the Middle East, have new access to deadlier weapons, which they have used to destabilize governments and terrorize citizens, said Emerson.

There is a method to their madness in the regions mentioned.  Many of the countries in which they’ve waged their terror campaigns have become failed states. So using their tactics of choice, they’ve certainly shown themselves to be a proven existential threat to weaker nations.

But we’re apparently not in that category according to our Prez.  And that’s because we’re big, we’re powerful and we are arrogant.  We also apparently don’t think outside the conventional box.

Meanwhile, as we watch and assess conventionally, the enemy moves and executes unconventionally to the point that the kill rate now is 10 times what it was a mere few years ago.

Oh, and it’s moving from the Middle East and Africa … to Europe and Asia:

They also predict that Asia will see more terror attacks as countries like Thailand, The Philippines and India are perceived as soft targets, and that due to the migrant crisis, violence in Europe will increase over the next two years as extremists continue to exploit the immigration system throughout the EU.

Meanwhile, where we are having “conventional” success against them, they are shifting away from there to more amenable soft targets:

“With ISIS losing large swaths of territory as well as key commanders, its center of operational gravity definitely appears to be shifting to Europe, where it can recruit among the more than 30 million Muslims who live in Europe,” Emerson said.

“Add to this mix the fact that thousands of mosques in Europe are controlled by Salfists, Wahabists and the Muslim Brotherhood – which indoctrinate their followers,” he said, “and you have a future recipe for a massive increase in Islamist terrorist violence.”

But remember, we don’t say “Islamic extremists”.  And what we won’t say and won’t acknowledge, we can’t defeat.  And what we won’t address and thus can’t defeat remains a very real existential threat, simply because we won’t confront them in the reality in which they operate.  When a mall or an airport or mass transit station go up in flames here, perhaps Mr. No Existential Threat will finally acknowledge the truth.

…. Nah!

~McQ

Stray Voltage

It’s almost as if Donald Trump is a Democratic operative:

Hillary Clinton had a gaffe-filled, staggeringly bad week last week. It started with her politicizing Nancy Reagan’s funeral and ended with more explosive allegations that her informal adviser Sidney Blumenthal had directly cut and pasted classified intelligence into an unsecured personal e-mail account. But you wouldn’t know it from media campaign coverage, which has been far more occupied with the GOP primary and the escalation of violent incidents at rallies.

Oh, it got a mention here and there, but the Trump thing (the Trump thing as a whole) has sucked all the oxygen out of the news cycle – and it wouldn’t surprise me if that’s purposefully being done by the media.  You know, I’d be “shocked, shocked I tell you!”

The intolerant New Red Guard were at it at Emory University this week:

Students protested yesterday at the Emory Administration Building following a series of overnight, apparent pro-Donald Trump for president chalkings throughout campus.

Roughly 40 students gathered shortly after 4:30 p.m. in the outdoors space between the Administration Building and Goodrich C. White Hall; many students carried signs featuring slogans such as “Stop Trump” or “Stop Hate” and an antiphonal chant addressed to University administration, led by College sophomore Jonathan Peraza, resounded “You are not listening! Come speak to us, we are in pain!” throughout the Quad.

Yes, friends, chalk markings on the sidewalk put them in PAIN!  Pain I tell you.  They needed protected and the only acceptable way to protect them … the usual, stifle speech and set the university up they way they prefer.

Thankfully a student at Emory understands the danger of pandering to these intolerant crybabies.  Amelia Sims writes:

I agree with the protesters: Donald Trump has neither the character, temperament, nor policy knowledge to assume the presidency. 

However, classifying support for a major presidential candidate as “hate speech” endangers the democracy that we hold so dear.

Universities do not exist to create insulated echo boxes, which shelter students from ideas that provoke offense or discomfort. In class, professors assign ideologically offensive texts so that students may learn to analyze and challenge these arguments.

Quelling discomforting thoughts prevents a free exchange of ideas. It fosters an environment where resentment and radicalism fester and metastasize.

Students certainly have the right to protest, but I worry about a campus environment that frequently turns to shouting and censorship to defeat offensive ideas.

When protests become increasingly dominated by trivial concerns and histrionic displays, Orwellian newspeak and thought control begin to take hold.

Now if college presidents and administrators would grow a spine and follow her lead, maybe TNRG can call it a day and go back to whining about their grades instead.

Meanwhile, the Idiot-in-chief has been playing footsie with Commie dictators in Cuba.  Michael Totten brings a little reality to the gig:

The Cuban people, Castro says, won’t “relinquish what they have gained through great sacrifice.” What he really means is that the government won’t relinquish the power it has gained through bloodshed and repression.

No serious person believes there will be riots in the streets of Havana if people are allowed to earn more than 20 dollars a month. Not even the most ardent Castro apologist thinks Cubans will go into open rebellion if they’re allowed to vote for more than one party. Not a soul fears they’ll yearn to relocate to North Korea if they suddenly find themselves with freedom of speech and assembly.

During Monday’s press conference, Castro lashed out when CNN journalist Jim Acosta asked him about political prisoners. “If there are political prisoners,” the dictator said, “give me a list, right now. What political prisoners? Give me their names, and if there are political prisoners, they will be free by tonight.”

Oh, please. Just yesterday—a few hours before Obama landed in Havana—the regime arrested more than 20 people at a Ladies in White demonstration. Secret policemen dragged women to a police bus and threw men onto the ground and handcuffed them. The Ladies in White is an all-women movement of sisters, wives, and daughters of male political prisoners. What does Castro expect us to believe they’re protesting for?

Read the whole thing.  Totten has been to Cuba several times and doesn’t at all play the politically correct game Obama and crowd would prefer.  He calls Cuba what it is, a shipwrecked state that oppresses its people.

The latest excuse for false racial charges?  Why they “open up conversations”.

Falsely accusing someone of a crime is never okay and society should never excuse it. Sadly, today’s culture allows anyone to accuse someone of rape or racism and seek forgiveness by claiming the false accuser just wanted to “start a dialogue.”

In the recent race hoax at State University of New York at Albany, where three black women started a fight on a bus and accused a dozen white people of attacking them for being black, a professor at the school claimed they were justified because they started a conversation on race.

“My white students have said this has opened up conversations,” said Sami Schalk, an assistant professor in SUNY Albany’s English department. “Things that are inadvertent, small, but that these white students have no experience with, not being a person of color on this campus.”

That’s a bit like saying all Black Lives Matter wants to do is “start a conversation on race”.  It is the cult of the victim desperately looking for victimhood … so, one supposes, they can feel both oppressed and special.

An interesting take on why so many Muslims, especially the young, are becoming radicalized:

As a young Muslim boy growing up in the 1980s and 1990s, it was impossible for me to look up a hadith unless I traveled to an Islamic library, something I would have never thought to do. For all intents and purposes, if I wanted to know about the traditions of Muhammad, I had to ask imams or elders in my tradition of Islam. That is no longer the case today. Just as radical Islamists may spread their message far and wide online, so, too, the Internet has made the traditions of Muhammad readily available for whoever wishes to look them up, even in English. When everyday Muslims investigate the Quran and hadith for themselves, bypassing centuries of tradition and their imams’ interpretations, they are confronted with the reality of violent jihad in the very foundations of their faith.

The Quran itself reveals a trajectory of jihad reflected in the almost 23 years of Muhammad’s prophetic career. As I demonstrate carefully in my book, Answering Jihad: A Better Way Forward, starting with peaceful teachings and proclamations of monotheism, Muhammad’s message featured violence with increasing intensity, culminating in surah 9, chronologically the last major chapter of the Quran, and its most expansively violent teaching. Throughout history, Muslim theologians have understood and taught this progression, that the message of the Quran culminates in its ninth chapter.

Surah 9 is a command to disavow all treaties with polytheists and to subjugate Jews and Christians (9.29) so that Islam may “prevail over all religions” (9.33). It is fair to wonder whether any non-Muslims in the world are immune from being attacked, subdued or assimilated under this command. Muslims must fight, according to this final chapter of the Quran, and if they do not, then their faith is called into question and they are counted among the hypocrites (9.44-45). If they do fight, they are promised one of two rewards, either spoils of war or heaven through martyrdom. Allah has made a bargain with the mujahid who obeys: Kill or be killed in battle, and paradise awaits (9.111).

Muslim thought leaders agree that the Quran promotes such violence. Maajid Nawaz, co-founder of the Quilliam Foundation in the United Kingdom, has said, “We Muslims must admit there are challenging Koranic passages that require reinterpretation today. … Only by rejecting vacuous literalism are we able to condemn, in principle, ISIS-style slavery, beheading, lashing, amputation & other medieval practices forever (all of which are in the Quran). … Reformers either win, and get religion-neutral politics, or lose, and get ISIL-style theocracy.” In other words, Muslims must depart from the literal reading of the Quran in order to create a jihad-free Islamic world.

Interesting that the solution is to “reject literalism”.  That and the fact that the Quran is now available to everyone without the buffer of an imam’s interpretation.  Of course there are also plenty of imams who push this very Surah as the reason Muslims must become activists.  Read the whole thing.

Our final insanity comes from a known place of insanity, UC Berkeley, where students have a demand:

The University of California in Berkeley administration must decide whether to provide abortions on campus to students who deem their uninterrupted education more important than the lives of their unborn children.

The Berkeley student senate has passed a resolution demanding that abortion, referred to as “medication abortion,” be made available on-campus so that female undergraduate and graduate students could “continue their education with little disruption.”

The resolution explains that the university’s Tang Center used to perform abortions in the 1980s, but now there are no longer trained abortionists at the center. Abortion is a right, their logic goes, and so abortion access is a right, too.

The resolution does not suggest how to fund its demand. But Aanchal Chugh, primary sponsor of the bill, told Campus Reform that school administrators should be willing to take pay cuts in order to fund on-campus abortion services. Students, she says, should not bear any financial burden.

You have to wonder how these spoiled children would feel if they knew their parents had had so little regard for their lives that they’d made the same demand in their day?  Of course, such a demand in their parents day would have received a raucous horselaugh (well, maybe not a Berkeley).  It’s all about their convenience.  They don’t want to have to leave campus to abort their child:

There are five abortion providers within 15 miles of the Berkeley campus, all of which accept MediCal health insurance. FPA Women’s Health, four miles from the campus, performs free abortions for women who lack health coverage for the procedure.

And, of course, they don’t want to pay for it.  Prototypical Bernie Sanders voters.

Have a great weekend!

~McQ

A litany of failure

This is what happens when you let the inmates run the asylum:

Some St. Paul public schools are unsafe for students and teachers, writes Katherine Kersten, a senior policy fellow at the Center for the American Experiment, in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

A Central High teacher was “choked and body-slammed by a student and hospitalized with a traumatic brain injury,” while another teacher was knocked down and suffered a concussion while trying to stop a fight between fifth-grade girls. There have been six high school riots or brawls this school year.

Hoping to close the racial suspension gap, the district has spent millions of dollars on “white privilege” and “cultural competency” training for teachers and “positive behavior” training, an anti-suspension behavior modification program, writes Kersten.

Misbehavior is initially tolerated and as it is, it become endemic and epidemic.  What’s the penalty for doing so?  Well, teachers are punished with “white privilege”, “cultural competency” and “positive behavior” classes.

Meanwhile where the problem is centered, i.e. with the students, nothing changes.  In fact, the “authorities” then make the problem even worse:

When that didn’t work, “they lowered behavior standards and, in many cases, essentially abandoned meaningful penalties,” she writes. Students can’t be suspended for “continual willful disobedience” any more. Often, students “chat briefly with a ‘behavior specialist’ or are simply moved to another classroom or school where they are likely to misbehave again.”

Behavior has gotten worse, wrote Aaron Benner, a veteran elementary teacher, in the Pioneer Press. “On a daily basis, I saw students cussing at their teachers, running out of class, yelling and screaming in the halls, and fighting.”

Again, this isn’t rocket science. The problem students, knowing they aren’t going to be punished for their behavior, continue to replicate it and push the envelope even more.  All the liberal psychobabble that has led to this point has had inevitable result that teachers live in fear.

Teachers say they’re afraid, writes Pioneer Press columnist Ruben Rosario. He quotes a letter from an anonymous teacher, who says teacher are told there are no alternative placements for violent or disruptive K-8 students.

“(Teachers) have no way to discipline. If a child is running around screaming, we let them run around and scream. If a student throws a chair at the Smart Board we remove the other students and call for help. If a student shouts obscenities, we simply use kind words to remind them to use kind words themselves. I am not kidding. . . .

The only consequence at the elementary level is taking away recess or sending the offending student to a ‘buddy classroom’ for a few minutes.”

Who are the victims?  Well, obviously the teachers.  But there are even more victims which the dominant philosophy within this school district seems to simply ignore:

At this teacher’s high-poverty, highly diverse school, “I have many students in my class who are very respectful, work hard and care about doing well in school,” the teacher writes. “The disruptive, violent children are ruining the education of these fantastic, deserving children.”

No kidding.  So what has increasing tolerance, lower behavioral standards and the refusal to discipline brought this school system?  Failure.  It has failed the teachers who are left to deal with increasingly violent behavior.  It has failed the good students who have their ability to learn and succeed hampered by disruptive students who go unpunished.  And, in reality, they fail the disruptive students, who are never taught the hard lesson that certain behavior is unacceptable and will be punished.

Because, you know, that’s just outmoded thinking.

Oh.  And “race”:

On March 9, a veteran high school teacher was suspended for social media posts complaining about the discipline policy, when Black Lives Matter activists charged him with racism.

Theo Olson, a special education teacher at Como Park High, wrote that teachers “now have no backup, no functional location to send kids who won’t quit gaming, setting up fights, selling drugs, whoring trains, or cyber bullying, we’re screwed, just designing our own classroom rules.”

He did not mention race.

Black Lives Matter had threatened a “shut-down action” at the school if Olson was not fired.

That’s just pitiful.  And the results of such poor leadership within that district are inevitable:

The same day Olson was put on leave, another Como Park teacher was attacked by two students, suffering a concussion. “The two entered the classroom to assault another student over a marijuana transaction gone bad,” an associate principal told the Star-Tribune.  Two 16-year-olds face felony assault charges.

Welcome to the blue education model in action.

~McQ

 

The Junior Varsity strikes Brussels

I think we all knew it wasn’t a matter of “if”, but when.  “When” was today.

Today in Brussels was a demonstration by ISIS.   Unlike our President, they actually back their talk with action.  They’ve been saying for quite some time they were going to strike in a different way – a mass casualty way.  Previously, they were mostly interested in targeted actions, like Charlie Hebdo.

Today, it was about terror … pure and simple.  All the attacks took place outside of secure areas.  Easy as pie.  One in the waiting area to go through security at the airport and one in a subway station.  And it certainly doesn’t take a heck of a lot of sophisticated intelligence gathering.  The timing (rush hour at the subway station, any busy hour at the airport) is pretty easy to figure out.

It could have been anywhere a crowd was gathered.   But we’re not talking rocket science here.  Identify a target, recruit one or more fanatics, explosives … some assembly required (automatic disassembly guaranteed upon detonation).

It could have also happened anywhere.  In any country.  Of course, Brussels is the capital of the EU.  ISIS is big into symbolism when they strike outside their region.

The point of course is you can look for this to happen any number of times in any number of places in the (near) future.  As I said, this is their demonstration.

So where is “next”?  A crowded shopping mall on a sale day?  A stadium sports event?  A political rally?

More importantly what can we do about it … without giving up more liberty and freedoms?

Me, I’m all for taking my chances and playing the terrorist lottery.  I figure I’ve got about as much a chance of winning that lottery as I do the state’s numbers game, er, lottery.

However, that’s not what I expect to see.

Hide and watch.

~McQ