Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Travel Blogging IV

At sea, headed northeast toward Cherbourg:  Today is the first of three so-called “sea days” or days when we are between ports. Our next stop is the port city of Cherbourg, in the Normandy region of France.

During World War II, the occupying Nazis understood that if the Allies wanted to retake France they’d have to land troops and a port would provide the logical place to put heavy equipment and supplies ashore. So they fortified Cherbourg and other channel ports to make them hard to capture. 

The allies responded to this obstacle by putting everything ashore at a portable port they created on the Normandy D-Day beaches. They created a breakwater by sinking old ships and special towed huge concrete boxes called “mulberries” of which you can still see some remnants. The D-Day landing remains one of the largest and most complicated human undertakings ever attempted within the span of a few days.

The Nazis in Cherbourg were surrounded and cut-off but Hitler ordered them to die where they stood.  They held out for weeks of intense fighting and destroyed most of the port facilities. 

I wonder if any remnants of that fight remain? Probably not much. We think of Normandy as a historical battlefield but the inhabitants think of it as home and, naturally, don’t want it left in a shot-up, blown-up condition. They have lives to be getting on with; they aren’t docents in a Williamsburg-style tableau.

Down-Market Down Under

Demographer Joel Kotkin has mounted a long-term crusade against urban planners and other advocates of residential densification. We have featured his jeremiads against this trend here in the U.S. on several occasions. COTTonLINE shares his passion.

In a recent City Journal article Kotkin takes his crusade to Australia where planners are trying to suppress suburbs of the single-family-house-on-a-lot variety and replace them with high density housing strung along public transportation lines. The obvious aim is to get people out of their automobiles and into streetcars and subways, out of houses and into apartments, out of suburbs and into urban living.

Along the way Australia has emulated the U.S. in sending much of its manufacturing capacity overseas. This has resulted in a reduction in the proportion of Australians who can make a reasonable claim to a middle class lifestyle. It’s likely to result in a falling birth rate as well. Hat tip to Power Line for the link.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Here’s Hoping

Former Gov. Mike Huckabee writes at The Stream website about things Joe diGenova said on the Laura Ingraham show on Fox News on a night when Huckabee sat in for Laura. According to diGenova:
The FISA court has been looking into abuses of the FISA system and has communicated with the Justice Department about its findings. Their chief judge has already determined that for more than four years before the election of Donald Trump, there was an illegal spying operation (yes, spying — and, yes, illegal) going on by four FBI contractors to break the law to steal personal electronic information about American citizens and to use it against the Republican Party.
Huckabee’s article contains a link to a YouTube recording of the discussion. I hope it works for you, I can’t open it as ship WiFi is limited. FISA judges should be really angry as trusting the FBI made them appear either gullible or unethical; neither is a good look.

Travel Blogging III

Ponta Delgado, Sao Miguel, the Azores, Portugal:  For the past two days we’ve been in port at two different islands of the Azores, owned by Portugal. Yesterday’s island, Terceira, has the large but mostly inactive Lajes U.S. Air Force base and today’s island - Sao Miguel - has the capital of the Azores.

The weather has been dreary, expectedly so. The Azores’ location in the eastern North Atlantic isn’t a great neighborhood for warm, balmy weather. We had strong wind yesterday and have fog today. Last time we were here the weather was like this too - gray skies.

I think of this as Irish weather, sort of windy, damp, and raw like the California coast mostly is when you get north of L.A. If you want warm beaches, you want Florida, not California.

Beach towns in CA are picturesque but the water and air tends to be in the 50-60° F range a lot. The Chamber of Commerce didn’t tell you that, did they?

It’s the reason West Coast surfers wear wetsuits. It is also the reason as high schoolers we’d go to the beach and build a bonfire to huddle around while drinking and waiting for the grunion to come ashore to spawn.

I understand why Azores Portuguese who farm in CA’s hot Central Valley go to Pismo Beach on holiday. It has the same cool seacoast climate as back home.

Steroidal Snark

Instapundit Reynold, reacting to an New York Post article which reports Trump has more female senior advisors than any of the last three presidents.
When you think about it, all those people who say Trump is a bumbling incompetent have a point. He’s the worst Nazi president ever, he’s a total failure at being a racist president, and now he can’t even bring off the sexism thing.
Trump is, however, the reigning king of Tweets and pep rallies. He also excels at getting Dems to hyperventilate and act foolishly. Clearly he loves doing POTUS.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Cry for California

Consciously echoing the old Templar from Indiana Jones III, Instapundit Glenn Reynolds writes of today’s California.
Decline is a choice, and California has chosen . . . poorly.
And done so again and again. Like Argentina, California is a gifted-by-Nature place being degraded by its citizens’ wrong-headed politics.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Defining God

Growing up in a nominally Christian country and household, I have spent the several decades of my life under the impression Christianity is a monotheistic religion. I learned something different from a Toronto Sun article by a Muslim, writing about why the terror attacks happened in Sri Lanka. 

Apparently some substantial number of Muslims believe Christianity is polytheistic, based on the doctrine of the Trinity. I never felt the Trinity to be particularly important or relevant. 

I thought the Trinity referred to three different manifestations of one God in much the same sense as one man can be a father, a son, an employee, a team member, and a neighbor. That said, I’m certain there are those who view it as vital, perhaps even essential to Christian belief.

Anyway, the article’s author, one Tarek Fatah, says the Trinity is a major issue for Muslims, a possible motive for slaughtering Christians. Who knew? Hat tip to Instapundit for the link.

The Pendulum Swings

For the past two years the legacy media have been gloating over the impending demise of the Trump presidency.  Apparently in vain, if Mueller is to be believed.

With some of AG William Barr’s comments to Congress as trigger, the conservative press - trivial though it is - begins to gloat over “getting” former President Obama and his minions. I understand the impulse but suspect it is largely futile.

Why might that be? Regardless of guilt, imagine how many people would find prosecuting the first black president has a bad look. The “soft bigotry of low expectations” is alive and well, in spite of merited criticism.

It might be possible to prosecute some Obama minions, particularly those who are white. That would include his senior intelligence community people and top FBI folk, all of whom appear to have engaged in wrongdoing.

Going after African-American Attorneys General Loretta Lynch and Eric Holder would be harder. Very likely not worth the resulting accusations of racism.

I’d especially like to nail those who misled a FISA judge such that s/he issued permission to surveil Carter Page, and renewed it three times. In spite of which, Page was charged with exactly nothing.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Editorial Note

All posting time for items posted during this trip are in Pacific Daylight Time. I don’t bother to reset the time on my iPad on trips as it changes nearly daily and is a minor hassle. The post below says 4:58 p.m. when in reality the time here was 8:58 p.m.

Travel Blogging II

Two days east of Fort Lauderdale: Ship cruising is aimed at older people, there’s no point in denying it. It is a form of low-impact travel that is easy for those of us on the sunset side of life, with our sore knees and stiff joints, our special diets, finicky digestion and deficient hearing. Young people do cruise, but they’re a distinct minority and likely feel out of place.

That said, the music played on cruise ships is calibrated to appeal to their audience. When we first started cruising nearly 20 years ago we heard a lot of big band music. Frankly it was too old for us.

This new ship is the first I’ve sailed on with a dedicated rock venue, we caught a set last night and it was a serviceable, if uninspired group: three guitars, a keyboardist and a drummer. The ship also has a dedicated blues venue with a black group playing. Princess ships usually have a string duo or trio playing classical music.

Your typical cruise ship has a big theater where the ship’s singers and dancers put on a singing-and-dancing show twice nightly 3-4 times during a cruise. Interspersed among these are various guest entertainers who join the ship, perform once or twice, and leave at the next port to be replaced by more who’ve flown in to join the ship. These entertainers might be singers, jugglers, magicians, instrumentalists, ventriloquists, or acrobats.

This ship is unique in that it has a dance company which isn’t accompanied by singers. They did an all dance show last night that was darn good, in the big theater which uniquely on this ship is more-or-less theater-in-the-round and combined dance with light show. It used canned music, which may mean this ship has no ship’s band as such, also unique in our experience.

If cruise ships stop having a group of singers and a ship’s band, a whole bunch of talented but unknown musicians will be out of work. There must be over a thousand such on the briny tonight. You know what they say, if you want to guarantee your kid a life of poverty, buy him or her an instrument and teach them to play.

Frightening Incompetence

Instapundit Glenn Reynolds, writing about reactions to the Mueller report in his weekly USA Today column. See his conclusion:
One of the great legacies of the Trump Administration is the extent to which it has revealed that huge swathes of our national establishment, in government, the media, and elsewhere, are both hopelessly partisan and frighteningly incompetent.
The extremes of TDS are frightening indeed.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Brits for Boris

The Telegraph (U.K.) reports a new survey of Conservative Party members. It shows pro-Brexit Boris Johnson, of the wind blown blond locks, with a 17 point lead over his nearest rival for next Tory leader when Theresa May steps down, as promised.

Johnson has not supported May’s compromise settlement with the EU. This poll is important as a surrogate measure for pro-Brexit sentiment among Conservatives. One hopes the Tory party’s remainer MPs will see the electoral handwriting on the wall and join the Brexit coalition.

Travel Blogging I

A day’s cruise east of Fort Lauderdale:  The DrsC are on the briny deep once again, aboard Holland America’s Nieuw Statendam. We’re headed for the Azores, Normandy, the Norwegian fjords, and ending up in Amsterdam.

This is HA’s newest and largest ship, though not large by absolute cruise ship standards where some ships carry 5-6000 pax. The interior decorating esthetic aboard this ship is severely modern, feels Finnish or Swedish. I don’t care for Scandinavian styling, I find it cold and unfriendly. 

There are things each cruise line does well, and others they do poorly. HA does the most unpleasant first-day passenger safety drills of the lines we’ve traveled (Norwegian, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Hurtigruten and Holland America), Royal Caribbean does these best. On the other hand HA’s room service breakfasts are the best.

More comparisons as the three week cruise continues.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

A Not Entirely Ill Wind

Instapundit Reynolds links to an article with the unlikely title:
What If Winter Lasted for Years Like It Does on “Game of Thrones?”
Reynolds’ response was “I would move to another planet, somewhere comfy and warm, like Mercury.” Not bad.

My response was the more practical: “Since Florida is only pleasant in winter, it would make Florida comfortable year-round. White-headed snowbirds would no longer migrate north in spring.”

Long War Addendum

Last Wednesday when I mused about the very Long War, I listed a bunch of countries where Islam and not-Islam don’t coexist amicably. As though on purpose, the news today carries word of yet another country suffering the same conflict, in spades: Sri Lanka.

There suicide bombers killed 200+ Christians on Easter Sunday and wounded another 500 or so. Apparently no one has yet claimed credit, but there were warnings of Islamist violence during Holy Week and the suicide methodology is typical of jihadis.

Later ... I got curious and looked up the religious mix in Sri Lanka, using the CIA’s World Fact Book site. It turns out Muslims are only about 10% of the population, and Christians maybe 7-8%, fully 70% of Sri Lankans are Buddhist. This looks more like targeting Westerners and their sympathizers than a struggle for national dominance.

Saturday, April 20, 2019


Some, particularly the #NeverTrump, have an esthetic problem with the Trump presidency. Instapundit Glenn Reynolds has the perfect rejoinder (scroll down).
The American people had a chance to decide if they wanted a man like Trump in the White House, and they decided that they did (his italics). And Trump’s now polling better than Obama did at this point in his presidency.
Carve that in stone, esthetes, and ponder its meaning.

Alliteration Alert

Power Line regular Scott Johnson lets his freak flag fly in describing leading Democrats’ reaction to the Mueller report.
We are faced with the nattering nadlers of nihilism. The shifty and full of schiff. Delirium and dark waters. Schumer and shinola. They all embody the stupidity and excess and mendacity of the Democratic Party.
Darn ... he left out the petulance of pelosi and the windiness of warren.

Lost in the Rigging

Instapundit Glenn Reynolds quotes some especially juicy snark he found on Facebook:
Democrats lost an election they rigged, and now Democrats have lost an investigation they rigged.
Loving it ... losing the 2020 election will make it a hat trick.

Friday, April 19, 2019

RINO Romney

Anyone who can get elected the Republican governor of Massachusetts is a RINO. Speaking of which, Lucianne.com links to a Mediate article which cites a Mitt Romney Tweet with the following concerning the Mueller report findings:
I am sickened at the extent and pervasiveness of dishonesty and misdirection by individuals in the highest office of the land, including the President.
It warms my heart thinking how much sicker Romney will be when Trump is reelected next year. In so many ways Trump is the anti-Romney. Socially, Mitt would be much more comfortable with wealthy Democrats, and it shows.

Romney reminds blue-collar workers of every superior-acting headquarters phony who has done them dirt over the years, sending their jobs overseas. They didn't vote for him in 2012, and won't in the future.

Climatista = Cultist?

Is serious concern about anthropogenic climate change morphing into a cult? Steven Hayward who blogs at Power Line argues it is, basing his argument on his summary of an article at the website The Medium.

Ten (10) reasons are given for viewing so-called "climatistas" as cultists. All 10 are explained at both sites linked above. I find the reasons more than a little persuasive, see what you think.

Both Extremes Wrong

In the highly partisan post-Mueller report environment, most paint President Trump's outcome as either black or white, either armageddon or exoneration. Refreshingly, Jonah Goldberg writes in the San Francisco Chronicle that in truth it is neither.

The President is clearly no choirboy, and he isn't a traitorous Satan either, and Goldberg says as much. We go on from here, sadly much as before.

To most of us who voted for him, Trump is exactly who we knew him to be when he got our vote ... warts and all. To those who found him repulsive then, he is more so now ... is anyone surprised no opinions have changed? I'm not.

We voted for an ambitious guy who has tried many things, succeeded at quite a few and failed at more than a few too. As President he has been the same, with perhaps a somewhat better win-loss ratio.

The country is booming, nearly everybody who wants a job has one, many conservative judges have been confirmed and we haven't started any new wars. Aren't you glad you aren't a Democrat trying to argue that everything sucks?

What sucks is cities which have decided its okay to let crazy people shoot heroin and crap on the sidewalks. And those cities are all run by Democrats, who just can't help themselves. Orderly, clean Switzerland looks better every year.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Guilt Not Proven

Mollie Hemingway of The Federalist, as a member of Bret Baier's Fox News panel this evening, said something very insightful about Mueller's report. She observed the usual practice in U.S. criminal proceedings is innocent until proved guilty.

Hemingway noted that Mueller turned this on its head by complaining he could not prove Trump innocent of obstruction. Americans don't normally have to prove innocence, prosecutors have to prove guilt and the default setting is "innocent."

It appears the only two things the President did to obstruct the Mueller investigation were (a) to complain about its pointlessness and political motivation (First Amendment protected), and to refuse to testify against himself (a Fifth Amendment issue) although he did answer written questions.

No Smoking Gun

Attorney General William Barr released the redacted Mueller special counsel report today, on schedule. It turns out his four page letter last week accurately summarized the report for those who were only interested in the bottom line.

Those who want to mine the report for embarrassing, but not unlawful, actions of the President will find things to satisfy their prurient interests. Trump isn't always Mr. Smooth.

On the other hand, if you are a proudly patriotic person publicly accused of treasonous conduct and you know the accusations are baseless, you might behave in an outraged fashion too. I'm willing to cut him some slack on those grounds, essentially no Democrats will do likewise.

These days, many Democrats aren't nice people. I'm old enough to remember when Republicans had Democrat friends.

Barr Snacks

I watched Attorney General William Barr do his long-awaited press conference on the Mueller report, its redaction and release in two forms to two audiences. Barr is a pro, no question.

At the end I had a whimsical thought about disappointed Democrats, echoing a quote most associated with Sam Elliott’s character in the Coen Bros. film The Big Lebowski.
Sometimes you eat the Bar(r), and sometimes the Bar(r) eats you. 
Democrats ... the Barr just dined on you. Wait until he comes back for a second helping.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

The Really, Really Long War

The United States has been at war with Islam since President Thomas Jefferson sent the Navy to attack the so-called Barbary Coast pirates at their bases in 1801. Those bases were the semi-independent Ottoman Empire provinces of Tunis, Tripoli, and Algiers, plus the kingdom of Morocco.

The war simmers, flares up, simmers down, and flares up again. They really don't consider anyone not of the faith truly human, and we don't accept their categorization and treatment of us as subhuman "other."

Go round the world, there are few places where an Islamic population lives peaceably with non-Muslim neighbors. By contrast, there are lots of places where they don't: the Philippines, Thailand, Burma, India, Lebanon, Nigeria, Egypt, China, France, Germany, etc. And there are for sure people in San Bernardino, Orlando and New York City who would add the U.S. to the list.

Waiting for Mueller

About this time tomorrow the redacted Mueller report will be released by Attorney General William Barr. Odds are good it won’t please anybody. The pundit class will then spend the next several days poring over its entrails trying to divine its essential meaning and the penumbrae thereof.

I predict what each analyst finds will be more reflective of his or her biases going in, than on what the report actually says or conceals. In this sense, it will function as a Rorschach test.

BTW, one of the smartest things I’ve seen written about it is that we scientists know, or claim to believe, you cannot prove a negative. Finding nothing doesn’t equal nothing existing, perhaps you failed to detect what was there. Watch Democrats fall back on this trope.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Dual Loyalties, Considered

The election of two Muslim women (Tlaib, Omar) as members of the House of Representatives and some of their less temperate comments have begun to surface the concept of “dual or divided loyalties.” Their allegation being Jewish politicians having loyalties to Israel as well as the United States. Nobody seems to mention these ladies’ loyalty to the Palestinians as well as the United States.

Actually, divided loyalties are nothing new. Irish-American politicians have had a soft spot in their hearts for the Emerald Isle like forever, essentially nobody objected when it was Tip O’Neal or one of the Kennedys. I’d guess many Italian politicos feel warmly about Italy, too. So what? I have a soft spot in my heart for England and Scotland, from which a bunch of my relatives emigrated. None of us put the interests of those places before U.S. interests.

In a country populated mostly by immigrants and the offspring of immigrants, dual loyalties are a fact of life. Being interested in, and caring about the wellbeing of the old country is fine. Such only become a problem when people from “there” ask us to change to become like “there.”

Bottom line, and this must be made clear to all immigrants: you chose us, we didn’t choose you. Therefore, you adapt to us, we don’t adapt to you. If assimilation doesn’t work for you, the door is open and you’re free to try somewhere else or go home.

Afterthought: Today's Democratic Party is vaguely anti-Israel. Any Jewish person who labels him- or herself a Democrat has already demonstrated they put commitment to the U.S. ahead of commitment to Israel. Their political choice is prima facie proof.

WaPo: Fox News Was Right (subtext: we weren’t)

Lucianne.com links to a Washington Post story echoed at outline.com. Author Gary Abernathy writes that Fox News was right while most non-Murdoch outlets (MSNBC, CNN, 3 TV networks, the New York Times and Washington Post) were spectacularly, hyperactively wrong about the now-disproven Trump-colluded-with-Russians story.

Honestly, I have to admire the WP for printing this story. Watching them eat a heaped plate of steaming crow is schadenfreudelicious.

Real journalism is hard and can be unpleasant, particularly when what you know is factual is something you don’t like even a little. Modern ‘journalism’ is what happens when newsrooms are staffed with crusading crybullies.

Confusing what you wish were true with what you know to be true is wishful thinking. Wishful thinking ≠ journalism ... ever. Passing off wishful thinking as ‘news’ = propaganda or advertising.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Spring Snow

Drudge Report links to a headline at Accuweather.com:
Chicago sees biggest snowfall this late in the season in more than 50 years
Would you blame 'global warming' or the catch-all "climate change?" Maybe ... I blame the solar minimum we're experiencing. A lack of sun spots is associated with cooler weather. Think Occam's razor.

Is This Premature?

Roman Catholic lay pundit Rod Dreher has an article in The American Conservative which talks about the Benedict Option. In a sentence, here is what that is:
The Ben Op is about keeping the faith alive in a time of collapse.
And the article quotes Catholic priest Dwight Longenecker:
The Benedict Option may be the only option. It may be the only option not because the surrounding culture is decadent and we want to protect our children. It is not the only option because we are fed up with the technological, fast-paced, shallow existence of twenty-first-century life. It is not the only option because we are disgusted by porn, shocked by war, and spooked by gender confused radicals who are on the warpath. It is not the only option because we think the worldlings are worldly beyond redemption.

It is the only option because it is the only option.
And Dreher concludes:
We still await, as MacIntyre said, a new, doubtless very different, St. Benedict: a figure who knows how to build something enduring in the ruins of a civilization.
Human civilizations rise and fall, it was ever thus. The prognosis of our civilization ruined is, shall we say, apocalyptic? Prophetic? At the very least, less-than-optimistic and perhaps premature.

The Obama DOJ Was Dirty

Speaking to Congress, Attorney General William Barr called the FBI and other surveillance of the Trump campaign "spying" and said it is "a big deal." Liberals went nuts and have claimed, as here, that everything was done "by the book." This deserves some explanation.

Did the FBI get permission to surveil the Trump campaign? At least in part they did, with the FISA court approval to eavesdrop on the electronic communications of Carter Page. They got approval and renewed it several times, using the infamous Clinton-funded anti-Trump dossier as 'evidence.' When they used the dossier they knew it was suspect but allowed the FISA court to believe it was gospel.

So yes, approval was received. It was received under false pretenses which were not, as far as we know, revealed to the FISA judge or judges who issued the approval.

So perhaps instead of "spying" Barr should have alleged perjury and intent to defraud. Do you suppose Democrats would have found that more palatable?

I find "spying" a darned fine synonym for surveillance done under false pretenses. In Barr's terminology, that is surveillance for which there was inadequate predicate.

Be clear, after a year's surveillance the target - Carter Page - has never been charged with anything criminal. If the first FISA approval was done "on spec," the follow-on renewals were done with a history of "nothing actionable found."

They constitute a clear fishing expedition, done by people who hoped to find something, anything, that would embarrass the Trump campaign. Doing so either is, or should be, indictable criminal behavior by people who knew better but never expected to be caught. Writing for RealClearPolitics, Charles Lipson opines:
The Obama administration politicized the Department of Justice, FBI, and intelligence agencies, and a serious investigation is very likely to find criminal wrong-doing.

Sunday, April 14, 2019


A quite interesting column in American Greatness concerns Ruth Bader Ginsburg. George S. Bardmesser, a Washington attorney who admits he's no mover and shaker, argues Ginsburg should make a deal with President Trump to step down if he promises not to appoint Amy Coney Barrett to replace her on the Supreme Court.

Bardmesser makes the point the strongly pro-life Barrett is liberals' worst nightmare. And Barrett is believed to be Trump's most likely choice for the next Supremes vacancy.

Ginsburg might be able to have a say about which other-than-Barrett conservative woman jurist is selected to replace her, if she is willing to deal. It's an interesting proposition and I'm sure someone will bring it to RBG's attention.

As the likelihood of Trump's reelection increases, it could begin to have appeal to the 86 year old RBG. Hat tip to Lucianne.com for the link.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Honor Their Choice

Watching the Bret Baier Special Report on Fox News this evening, I heard the President's enthusiasm for transporting illegal immigrants he is required to release from custody to sanctuary cities and states. It probably isn't a lawful practice but the irony of handing thousands of penniless immigrants to cities and states which have declared them officially welcome is simply delicious.

If he could do this, the advocates for sanctuary might have one of those "be careful what you wish for" experiences. It's similar to letting alcoholics drink themselves to death - not a humane solution to the problem, but a self-chosen solution nonetheless.

The underlying principle is sound. Arrange for those who oppose securing the border to live with the resulting problems.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

So Much Winning ....

Serial leaker Julian Assange kicked out of the Ecuadorian embassy and arrested, creepy porn lawyer Michael Avenatti charged with 36 counts of fraud, Obama WH counsel Greg Craig indicted. And AG William Barr saying he wants to examine how government spying on the Trump campaign was "predicated." All of these stories covered by linked articles at Lucianne.com.

This has been a very good week in the law for the Trump folks, even a couple of very good weeks. Chances are Obama and Clinton were both dirty but I'd happily settle for weasels Brennan, Clapper, and Comey in orange jumpsuits, along with Strzok and McCabe.


How wrong were Rep. Ilhan Omar’s comments? Let me count the ways.
  • First, it wasn’t “some people,” it was filthy jihadi pigs. 
  • Second, it wasn’t “something,” it was the premeditated murder of nearly 3000 randomly chosen strangers. 
  • Third, they did it in the name of, and to honor, her Allah. 
  • Fourth, as far as I’m aware, she hasn’t repudiated what they did, why they did it or denied the alleged righteousness of their acts. 
  • And finally, it turns out CAIR existed for several years before 9/11, so she wasn’t historically accurate.
If Speaker Pelosi defends Rep. Omar, she is no better than her sicko caucus member.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Now It Comes Out

The surest sign Democrats believe Hillary Clinton has no political future whatsoever is a just-out revelation by former Whitewater independent counsel Ken Starr. He admitted concealing that a public humiliation by Hillary triggered the suicide of the already depressed Vincent Foster.

The Daily News (U.K.) has the story, with quotes and a frankly flattering photo of Hillary with Vince. Hat tip to Lucianne.com for the link. To give you a sense of the story, former FBI agent Coy Copeland is quoted as saying:
Hillary put him (Foster) down really, really bad in a pretty good-size meeting. She told him he didn't get the picture, and he would always be a little hick town lawyer who was obviously not ready for the big time.
Can you say "shrew?" She is no smoother than Trump.

The Road to Soylent Green

Demographer Joel Kotkin is an admitted fan of mass home ownership. He is convinced a misguided obsession with high density design among urban planners and their followers will lead to a re-feudalization of society.

In Quillette, Kotkin argues home ownership - the traditional route to upward mobility and financial security - is intentionally being made off-limits by the simple expedient of pricing it too highly for working and middle class young people to afford. A key graf:
Three-quarters of American adults today predict their child will not grow up to be better-off than they are, according to Pew. These sentiments are even more pronounced in France, Britain, Spain, Italy, and Germany. In Japan, a remarkable three-quarters of those polled said they believe things will be worse for the next generation. Even in China, many young people face a troubling future.
And Kotkin's conclusion:
A strong landowning middle order has been essential in democracies from ancient Athens and the Roman and Dutch Republics to contemporary Europe, North America, and Australia. Now with fewer owning land, and many without even a reasonable expectation of acquiring it, we may be entering an era portrayed as progressive and multicultural but that will be ever more feudal in its economic and social form.
We see socialism becoming popular with these same frustrated young people. That very well may be an underlying motive for coerced urbanization.

Soylent Green looks more prescient with every passing decade, check out the Charlton Heston film or if you've a strong stomach, the book from which it was adapted. That book, Harry Harrison's Make Room, Make Room, gave a young science fiction fan (me) nightmares.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Israel Votes

Israel is holding a national election this week, with incumbent Netanyahu running against a group led by Gantz, and at this writing expected to win another term. Writing for The Atlantic, Emma Green looks at stresses between Israelis and a sizable bloc of American Jews. See her conclusion:
This Israeli election is significant for the future of the Israeli-diaspora relationship, in that it marks a pinnacle in the fracture between Israeli and American Jews. Under another Netanyahu government, discontent on the left and among middle-of-the-road Jews is likely to escalate. But in reality, that may be the case under any Israeli government that ends up forming.
Republicans want to believe American Jews might vote GOP as a result of Trump’s support of Israel. They are likely to be disappointed.

Republicans need to understand perhaps 2/3 of American Jews don’t especially approve of Israel as currently constituted and functioning. Israelis live in a tough neighborhood and support tough policies.

Trump’s endorsement of those policies, popular in Israel, wins few friends among American Jews. The latter don't live in that tough environment and find the policies distasteful, even embarrassing.

Monday, April 8, 2019

A Nietzschean Reference

Instapundit Glenn Reynolds quotes historian Victor Davis Hanson on the deep state's failed effort to destroy the Donald Trump presidency.
The final irony? If the CIA, FBI, and DOJ have gone the banana republic way of Lois Lerner’s IRS and shredded the Constitution, they still failed to remove Donald Trump.

Trump still stands. In Nietzschean fashion what did not kill him apparently only made him stronger.
Analysis: True.

Snarky Brexit Quote

In Spectator USA, "Cockburn" catalogs the many times The New York Times' Tom Friedman has been wrong about world affairs. See the article's concluding evaluation of Friedman's opposition to Brexit:
If Tom Friedman is against Brexit, you know it’s going to work out fine.
Irony, like vodka, is best served ice cold, as it is here. Hat tip to Power Line for the link.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

No Go Zones in Sweden

It is often alleged that some areas in Sweden have such high concentrations of Muslim immigrants that the police avoid going there, so-called "no go" areas. The Swedish government has denied the existence of these.

However, Power Line senior blogger John Hinderaker reports that there are regions in Malmo where neither the post office (Postnord) nor UPS will deliver packages.
Aftonbladet, one of Sweden’s principal newspapers, reports, in English via Google Translator:
The transport company UPS no longer runs packages in Rosengård in Malmö, for security reasons. Postnord does not deliver packages to another area in Malmö, Seved.
So the immigrant-heavy areas of Malmo and even Stockholm may not be “no go” zones for the police, but civilian organizations, like UPS and the Swedish post office, don’t dare expose their employees to the risk of violence.
Reminds me of a mental image I've found wryly amusing. Namely, a UPS van driving with its side doors open as usual and in the passenger-side door a pintle-mounted, air-cooled .30 caliber machine gun and standing door gunner - Apocalypse Now-style - as though the van were a Huey headed into a hot LZ.

A Look Back

The other DrC and I once watched PBS's Washington Week panel show every Friday night. We even considered it our favorite TV show. Now we can't stand it.

Without imagining there was a way to answer the question, I was wondering aloud whether we had changed or the program had? The other DrC found their look-back-at-the-decade, final Friday of December, 1989, program online and we rewatched it last night.

The answer really pleases us, we still enjoyed the program as it once was. What has changed is the gruesome debasing of latter-day journalism.

That fine 1989 panel, moderated by Paul Duke, had a young Tom Friedman (New York Times), Haynes Johnson (Washington Post), Alan Murray (Wall Street Journal), and Charles McDowell (Richmond Times-Dispatch) as panelists. Believe it or not, watching them you aren't at all clear which political party each favored. 

That was real journalism, with no attempt to sell one party's slant on the news. What you get today in a journo-list world is left-wing advocacy; it's a damn shame. Check it out for yourself, see if I'm not right.

Rationed Health Care

Just about all the older people I know have had cataract surgery, including me. Many have experienced dramatic vision improvements - stopped wearing glasses, now able to drive at night, etc.

Check out an article in The Straits Times (Singapore) about rationing of this vital treatment by the socialized National Health Service in the United Kingdom, based on a story in The Times of London. Hat tip to Ed Driscoll at Instapundit for the link. The key quote:
The Times newspaper said a survey by the Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCO) found tens of thousands of elderly people are left struggling to see because of an NHS cost-cutting drive that relies on them dying before they can qualify for cataract surgery.
The take-away from this story is the rationing of treatment to which all single-payer systems resort to reduce costs. In an unrelated story out today, Briton Mick Jagger came to the U.S. to have his recent successful heart surgery.

Canadians who want their bad knees fixed often come to the States, too. Canadian single-payer views bad knees as not life-threatening, thus highly deferrable and elective. We Americans really need to avoid going to a single-payer system.

Political Musings

The Democratic Party has emphasized identity group voting in recent years, championing everyone except straight white males and their spouses. Now they're wondering how to win the votes of this 'startlingly large' group.

See a Twitchy.com post citing real Associate Press Tweets and stories, as well as scathing retorts from members of that ignored constituency. Hat tip to Ed Driscoll, guest blogging at Instapundit, for the link.

When you famously call straight whites "deplorables" and "bitter clingers," winning their votes is going to be a steep uphill climb. This is especially true when the other party has improved both employment opportunities and wages for that newly self-aware identity group.

As we've repeatedly noted, the Democrats have sown the wind, and are almost certain to reap the whirlwind. It's what happens when you can't count noses, (e.g., voters). You end up banking on whoever is left, many of whom rarely bother to vote.

Question Answered

The title of an article in New York Magazine asks the question, "Whatever Happened to the Israeli Left?" Israeli politics isn't really my issue, or my concern. Thinking I (and you) already know the answer, I skipped it. See if you agree with my answer to that question.

Faced with an implacable enemy in the Palestinians, who are supported be the Iranians, they did what they needed to do to survive ... they got really tough. That meant putting an emphasis on performance and accomplishment, ofttimes at the expense of social justice. They built walls, armed settlements, and became some of the best retail performers in the intelligence/counterintelligence field.

Along the way the kibbutzniks and Golda Meir socialists became Jewish neocons, "leftists mugged by reality" in Irving Kristol's felicitous phrase. Hard reality changes people.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Enough Blame to Go Around

Without taking anything away from the findings posted earlier today, which are excellent, it must be said that Republicans in Congress share the blame for the immigration mess on our southern border.

The Golden Rule of Politics is that the people with gold make the rules. Historically, the Republican donor base - wealthy entrepreneurs - have been supportive of immigration as it keeps wages low and provides extra consumers to buy their wares and services.

Unsurprisingly, the GOP in Congress has been influenced by these donors. Republican candidates who have to rely on donors for campaign funding have tended to echo their pro-immigration views, if not in speech, in their evident disinterest in fixing illegal immigration.

Wealthy President Trump is not reliant on others' funding. He understands the potency of the illegal immigration issue to the Republican grassroots, whose interests conflict with those of the donor class. It is one of the reasons the Republican establishment isn't altogether fond of Trump or supportive of his efforts.

Former Speaker Ryan, poster boy for GOP immigration enforcement foot-dragging, sadly had lots of company on his side of the aisle. Newly elected Sen. Romney (R-UT) will be a GOP leader in resisting effective border control, as he was formerly a member of that open-borders donor class.

Afterthought: As bad as feckless Obama was, his lame-duck second term probably did less damage to U.S. interests than a Romney presidency could have. And I endorsed Romney, alas. Hindsight is often 20-20.

Voters Side With Trump

An interesting poll out this week from Rasmussen Reports, looking at public attitudes toward illegal immigration. Four questions were asked:
1 How serious a problem is illegal immigration in America today?
2 Do most Democrats in Congress want to slow or stop illegal immigration?
3 Do most Republicans in Congress want to slow or stop illegal immigration?
4 Should the United States halt foreign aid to Mexico and governments in Central America that refuse to stop the flow of illegal immigrants into this country?
The key findings:
67% of all Likely U.S. Voters think illegal immigration is a serious problem in America today, with 47% who say it’s a Very Serious one. Thirty-two percent (32%) say it’s not a serious problem, but that includes only eight percent (8%) who rate it as Not At All Serious.
Their summary conclusions:
Voters continue to view illegal immigration as a serious problem but don’t think Democrats want to stop it. Cutting foreign aid is one tool voters are willing to consider.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Religious Trends in the U.S.

Sometimes one's culture is most clearly seen from the vantage point of another friendly country. The Daily Mail (U.K.) reports recent analysis of NORC/Associated Press survey data concerning religious affiliation in the U.S. Hat tip to Drudge Report for the link.

The chart of U.S. religiosity by category since 1972 (scroll down) is excellent at giving a picture of what has occurred over time. Over the last three decades there has been little change in the percentages represented by Catholics, Jews, Black Protestants, Evangelicals, and Others. What has declined dramatically is "Mainline Protestants" and what has increased nearly as much is those with no religious affiliation, called "Nones."

Roughly 22-23% each are Catholics, Evangelicals, and Nones - the three largest groups. The other four groups are each in the 2-10% range.

There is a temptation to view what happened as a straight-line exit of Mainline Protestants becoming Nones. I believe the changes are more complex than a simple headcount suggests. It is likely half or more of our recent, often illegal, immigrants from Central and South America are Catholic, and have replaced millions of domestic Catholics who've lapsed.

It is also true, though unmentioned in the DM article, that "Jew" is both a faith and an ethnicity. The unchanging number of self-reporting Jews likely conflates the two definitions. One can stop practicing a faith, changing one's ethnicity may be effectively impossible in the short-to-medium run.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Brexit Sidebars

Writing at Financial Times, Philip Stephens makes the distinction perhaps too few Americans understand, between "British" and "English" nationality. He notes:
Brexit is an English rather than a British enterprise. More specifically, it belongs overwhelmingly to provincial England. With the exception of Birmingham, the nation’s great cities — London, Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle among them — were on the side of Remain. They were outvoted by Leavers in smaller English cities and towns and in rural areas. Scotland backed Remain by a large margin. Pace the Brexiters of the Democratic Unionist party, Northern Ireland voted for continued EU membership. Wales followed England out.
So, the British are English, Scots, Northern Irish, and Welsh. Only two of these four groups, the English and Welsh voted "leave" while the Scots and Northern Irish voted "remain."

Roughly 85% of the U.K.'s population is English, while the Scots are less than 8%. The Welsh are less than 5%, and the Northern Irish around 3% (source: CIA World Fact Book).

The Brexit vote was a straight plebiscite of U.K. voters so winning a majority of the English and Welsh votes meant winning a majority of 89% of those eligible to vote. It was enough to pass Brexit.

The upshot of this is that the Scots may think to leave the U.K. and seek their fortune in the EU. Complicating their choice is the reluctance of EU members like Spain and Belgium - which face internal separatist movements - to encourage secession anywhere in the EU. Presumably the Northern Irish could elect to join the Irish Republic and have no issue with EU acceptance.

Another side note: Looking at who in the U.K. voted in favor of "leave," they are analogous to the people who elected Donald Trump President in the U.S. - the small city and rural yeomanry. Which helps explain his support of Brexit.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Anniversary Greetings


Happy anniversary to “the other DrC,” it’s been several happy decades and I’ve no regrets!

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Mueller's Silence = Endorsement of Barr

Lots of Democrats complain about William Barr's four page summary of the Robert Mueller investigation's findings, the report of which is said to exceed 300 pages. They'd like to see the entire report as would we all.

However it is disingenuous to argue that Barr left out key details of Mueller's findings. I believe Robert Mueller would have gone public if, in his opinion, Barr had mischaracterized the findings of Mueller's investigation.

Mueller has done no such thing, and is said to be working with Barr to create a redacted version safe to release. To me, that says he believes it was characterized fairly. The absolute absence of indictments of Americans for collusion with Russia pretty much tells the tale.

BTW, I get that Democrats find it hard to believe Americans elected Trump fair and square. I found it hard to believe they'd reelect Obama after he demonstrated four years of fecklessness.

Get over it, Democrats, I've accepted sometimes the public does the inexplicable, as they're entitled to do. You need to learn to live with it too.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Scent of a (Young) Woman

“The Hand-y Nuzzler”
 Hat tip to Drudge Report for the composite photo.

Editorial Note

COTTonLINE does not indulge in fake stories on April 1.