Tuesday, April 25, 2017

A Danish girl who volunteered to fight against Isis terrorists in Syria and Iraq faces prison for violating a travel ban meant to hamstring supporters of Isis terrorists


A Danish woman who volunteered in Syria and Iraq to fight against Isis faces six months in prison for violating a travel ban 
reports the Independent's Lizzie Dearden.
Joanna Palani has been taken into custody while Copenhagen City Court hears her case, which has divided Denmark.

The 23-year-old insists she poses no security risk and had been fighting with Kurdish groups aligned with the US-led coalition, which includes Denmark.

But she has fallen foul of laws allowing the imposition of travel bans and seizing of passports for Danes planning to join foreign conflicts – on whatever side.

Palani’s lawyer, Erbil Kaya, told the Berlingske newspaper his client admitted violating a one-year travel ban imposed by Danish authorities.

 … Palani, whose father and grandfather were Peshmerga fighters, is of Iranian Kurdish ancestry and moved to Copenhagen as a toddler after being born in an UN refugee camp in Ramadi, Iraq, during the Gulf War.

She told Vice she left university in autumn 2014 to join the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria, wanting to defeat Isis, President Bashar al-Assad and “fight for human rights for all people”.

Palani fought for the YPG for six months before moving to Iraq to fight for the Kurdish Peshmerga. Both groups have been supported by the US and allies in the battle against Isis, being given military and air support as the ground arm of the international coalition’s bombing campaign.

As well as fighting on the front line against Isis militants, she claimed to have been part of a battalion that freed women and children held as sex slaves by the so-called Islamic State near its stronghold of Mosul.

Palani was active on social media and news of her role spread in Denmark. When she was given a fortnight off by the Peshmerga to visit her family in 2015, the Danish authorities cracked down.

A police notice warned Palani her passport had was not valid and would be revoked if she left the country, an offence punishable with a jail sentence.

The former student has criticised the Danish authorities for pursuing her under laws targeting Isis militants and other extremists.

Denmark’s Security and Intelligence Service (PET) said at least 115 Danes have travelled to fight in Syria and Iraq in the past five years, with most believed to have joined Isis.

“How can I pose a threat to Denmark and other countries by being a soldier in an official army that Denmark trains and supports directly in the fight against the Islamic State?” she wrote on Facebook when she lost her passport, according to a translation by The Local.

Monday, April 24, 2017

"The entire machinery of the French state did everything in its power to undermine the competitors of Macron, Hollande's successor"

From Moscow and San Francisco, Isabelle Mandraud and Corine Lesnes have been reporting for Le Monde on the first round of French elections as seen from abroad. If anybody shouldn't be trusted outright, it's the Russians, but here they seem to have nailed it outright:
Dmitri Kissilev, présentateur vedette de la grande émission d’actualité du dimanche soir sur Perviy Kanal, la première chaîne russe, a lancé : « Au cours de la campagne, toute la machine de l’Etat français a fait tout son possible pour compromettre les concurrents de Macron, le successeur de Hollande… » Plus tôt dans la journée, la chaîne de télévision de l’armée, Zvezda, annonçait « Macron et Le Pen en tête » sur la foi d’estimations annoncées depuis la Belgique, avec cet ajout, sans détour et en français dans le texte : #JeVoteMarine.

Cité sur cette même chaîne, le politologue Alexeï Moukhine expliquait : « Marine Le Pen a reçu un soutien évident de la Russie (…) un soutien purement politique, pas technique. En ce qui concerne Macron, c’est l’establishment américain qui le soutient, en partie démocrate. » Une vision binaire partagée. « L’élite », peu importe qu’elle soit française ou américaine, a fait barrage aux yeux de Moscou. Le sénateur Alexeï Pouchkov, parfaitement francophone, résumait ainsi sur Twitter : « L’élite française a tenté d’écarter Fillon de la course (…) et elle y est parvenue. »
According to Perviy Kanal, therefore, "the French élite attempted to derail François Fillon, and it was successful." Indeed, "the entire machinery of the French state did everything in its power to undermine the competitors of Emmanuel Macron, the successor to François Hollande."

While everybody is talking about the demise of the Socialist Party (a dismal 6.3%), it seems quite evident that the Socialists, having no illusions that they would crash, put in a sacrificial candidate (Benoît Hamon, which explains why President Hollande refused to run and why Prime Minister Manuel Valls "lost" the primary), while more or less stealthily supporting a plant in an "independent" party. In this, it was vital that the rightist candidate also be a loser, which was taken care of with the irruption of "scandals" regarding practices that are in fact quite common throughout the French political spectrum.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Quelle ironie du sort: sur 11 candidats à l'élection présidentielle, 9 affichent clairement leurs penchants léninistes et leurs programmes marxisants. Sommes-nous en 2017 ou en 1917?

Alors qu'en Amérique, le Communist Party USA compte de plus en plus d'adhérents, Bogdan Calinescu (alias l'essayiste Nicolas Lecaussin, merci à Carine) qui a connu la dictature de Ceausescu en Roumanie, met en garde contre les candidats d'extrême gauche avant le premier tour de l'élection présidentielle en France et l'état marxisant qu'ils souhaitent mettre en place.
Quand je suis arrivé en France au début des années 1990, je pensais avoir laissé derrière moi le cauchemar de l'idéologie communiste. Je pensais ne plus revivre l'atmosphère sombre et pesante de l'époque, la tension et la peur permanentes, les files interminables devant les magasins vides et les pénuries - de la boîte d'allumettes jusqu'au papier hygiénique - et cette sensation terrible qu'on ne s'en sortirait jamais. Je croyais que c'en était fini des deux heures de télé par jour sur la seule chaîne, deux heures consacrées en grande partie au «Conducator bien aimé», le dictateur Ceausescu.

Enfant, je voyais mon père, intellectuel, enseignant la littérature française, prendre d'énormes risques en critiquant le régime et je me rappelle très bien comment, lors d'une perquisition de la police politique chez nous, à 6 heures du matin, il avait réussi à glisser dans mon cartable, avant que je ne parte à l'école, quelques documents «compromettants» qui auraient pu lui coûter cher… En les déposant chez un ami de la famille qui les a brûlés tout de suite, j'avais - déjà, à 13 ans - la satisfaction d'avoir accompli l'acte d'un véritable résistant au régime. Malgré l'ubuesque et l'impitoyable dictature de Ceausescu, j'ai eu la chance de grandir dans une atmosphère francophile, j'ai eu la chance de pouvoir déchiffrer le monde libre, sa littérature, son actualité.

Plus de 25 ans après la chute du communisme, je suis en train de vivre une expérience que je n'aurais jamais pensé retrouver: la France, mon pays de cœur et d'adoption, manifeste une sympathie incorrigible pour les idées communistes que je n'ai cessé de combattre depuis mon enfance! Quelle ironie du sort: en 2017, sur onze candidats à l'élection présidentielle, neuf affichent clairement leurs penchants léninistes et leurs programmes marxisants. Sommes-nous en 2017 ou en 1917?

Je me souviens très bien du moment où la France est devenue pour moi l'objectif à atteindre, l'endroit où je devais absolument vivre. Adolescent, je suis tombé sur ce texte de Rudyard Kipling qui, en 1878, à l'âge de 12 ans, visite Paris avec son père. Il a l'occasion de grimper dans la statue de la Liberté qui n'avait pas encore été envoyée à New York. En regardant de l'intérieur à travers ses yeux, il comprend: «C'était par les yeux de la France que je commençais à voir»… Des années plus tard, en 1922, lors d'un discours à la Royal Society of St. George, ce grand amoureux de la France affirmait: «Les Français représentent le seul autre (avec les Anglais) peuple dans le monde qui compte.»

Néanmoins, l'Angleterre devrait suivre l'exemple de la France… Et Kipling d'énumérer les atouts de notre pays: l'éthique du travail, son économie, la simplicité, l'autodiscipline et la discipline extérieure ainsi que «la vie rude qui fortifie l'être moral». «La France est un exemple pour le monde entier»!

Quel décalage avec la France d'aujourd'hui! Un pays qui fait la couverture des magazines pour son taux de chômage qui bat des records ou pour sa bureaucratie sans équivalent dans les grands pays riches et démocratiques. Un pays dont l'économie étouffe sous la pression d'un État omniprésent et qui voit ses jeunes partir en masse à l'étranger. Un pays qui a envoyé aux oubliettes les vraies valeurs de l'école et les a remplacées par le pédagogisme et la sociologie égalitariste de Pierre Bourdieu ; une école phagocytée par les syndicats de gauche qui n'acceptent aucune réforme et par des enseignants complètement éloignés du monde de l'entreprise. Un pays qui chasse les jeunes, les chefs d'entreprise, les riches et qui n'attire plus les élites. Un pays dirigé par une classe politique en très grande partie déconsidérée et biberonnée à l'étatisme. Un pays où un parti dit d'extrême droite puise son programme dans les idées marxistes et obtient des scores électoraux impressionnants, un pays où plusieurs autres partis et candidats, enfin, se déclarent ouvertement communistes.

Quel est ce pays qui renie ses racines chrétiennes et ses valeurs historiques? Qui a transformé l'antilibéralisme et l'antiaméricanisme en repères moraux? Qui passe son temps à insulter l'Europe et les présidents américains, parfaits boucs émissaires, et dresse des lauriers à des criminels comme Mao, Castro ou Che Guevara? Je me souviendrai toujours de ce que m'avait dit l'intellectuel Philippe Sollers lorsque je lui avais demandé pourquoi il avait été maoïste: «C'était de la poésie», m'avait-il répondu en balayant d'un revers de main sa sympathie pour le plus grand criminel de l'Histoire. Alors, les admirateurs d'Hitler, c'était aussi de la poésie? En France, le socialisme a toujours baigné dans la bienveillance, alors que le libéralisme a toujours souffert d'une présomption d'injustice et de culpabilité.

L'étatisme marxisant bénéficie de la clause de l'idéologie la plus favorisée et c'est ce qui tue la France encore aujourd'hui. D'autres pays s'en sont sortis, en saisissant toutes les bouées de sauvetage que nous, nous repoussons. Souffririons-nous du syndrome de Stockholm à l'échelle nationale? D'une inconscience infantile qui pourrait se révéler lourde de conséquences? Où est la France de mon enfance?

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Had the Founders selected direct popular vote as the means for electing a President, the residents of one state (California) would have dictated the choice to the other 49

In the third of twenty-five weekly articles in The Tennessee Star’s Constitution Series (thanks to Instapundit), the Tennessee Star addresses The Electoral College and the Selection of the President.
In recent years, a number of political figures and commentators have criticized the Electoral College and want the President selected by direct popular vote.

Four times since 1868, the first year in which all states selected Electors by some form of popular vote, the candidate who received the most popular vote did not win the Electoral College, and therefore was not elected President.

 … In our most recent Presidential Election of 2016, Democrat Hillary Clinton received 48 percent of the popular vote to Republican Donald Trump’s 46 percent. But Trump was elected President because he won the majority of the Electoral College votes, 304 to 227 (7 Electoral College votes were split between other candidates).

Clinton’s popular vote margin of 2.8 million was the highest of any Presidential candidate who won the popular vote but lost the Electoral College vote (though her 2 percent margin was less than Samuel Tilden’s 3 percent margin in 1876), and therefore the Presidency.

A closer look at the state by state breakdown of the 2016 Presidential Election results reveals the wisdom of the Founding Fathers in establishing an Electoral College method for selecting a President.

Hillary Clinton won the state of California resoundingly, beating Donald Trump there by more than 4.2 million votes – a 61 percent to 31 percent thumping.

Had the Founders selected direct popular vote as the means for electing a President, the residents of California would have dictated to the other 49 states who would have served as our President.

Looking at the total combined vote in the other 49 states, Donald Trump won 1.4 more million votes than Hillary Clinton, taking 58.5 million votes to her 57.1 million votes.

But because of the Electoral College, Hillary Clinton’s huge vote margin in California earned her the state’s 55 Electoral College votes, and no more.

The Founding Fathers had an idea that the Electors would be of a high personal character, wisdom, and intelligence, and would exercise those qualities in their selection.

They also hoped against the development of factions and competing political powers, a hope in retrospect was inevitably bound to be disappointed, given the foibles of human nature.
Related to the Electoral College: The 2016 Vote and the Electoral College System Explained — With Help from the European Union

Friday, April 21, 2017

Each time a Muslim terror attack occurs, journalists attempt to lead the public through what can only be called a coping ritual; a ritual divided into four stages


Two horrific suicide bombings, in two different cities, two hours apart—this is how Egyptian Christians began Holy Week. 
Thus writes Benny Huang, as he seemed to be predicting the Thursday terrorist attack in Paris.
In the cities of Tawra and Alexandria, Muslim terrorists stormed Coptic churches where they proceeded to blow themselves to a fine pink mist while taking 44 worshippers with them. These two attacks followed last December’s horrific suicide bombing at St. Peter’s Cathedral in Cairo that killed 29.

Does Egypt have a problem with Islamic violence? Not according to Egypt’s most prominent clergyman, Dr. Ahmed al-Tayeb, who holds the prestigious title of Grand Imam of al-Azhar. At a conference in Cairo last month, al-Tayeb said that the incidence of Muslim violence around the world is rather unremarkable:
“There is an obvious double standard in the world’s judgment of Islam on the one hand, and [its judgment of] Christianity and Judaism on the other, despite the fact that all are guilty of one and the same thing, that is, religious violence and terrorism.”
The point al-Tayeb is trying to make is pretty straightforward: that people are quick to chide Muslims for terrorism when in fact the terror problem cuts across religious lines. Clearly all of this talk about terrorism must be a cloak for bigotry. If people were truly concerned with eradicating terrorism they would condemn it wherever it’s found. The fact that they don’t exposes their hypocrisy.

 … The “double standard” accusation is a serious one that was likely intended to disarm Westerners who are notoriously sensitive about treating others with bias. But is there really a double standard in the way we perceive Muslim violence compared to other kinds? Yes, there is—just not in the way that the Grand Imam suggests. Each time a Muslim terror attack occurs, journalists attempt to lead the public through what can only be called a coping ritual. The ritual has four stages.
  
The first of these is the “let’s not jump to conclusions” stage in which reporters take great pains not to assume that the attacker is a Muslim just because his name happens to be Abdul or Muhammad or even because he yelled “Allahu Akbar” moments before his killing spree began. Then, when it turns out that he is a Muslim, reporters wonder if his religious affiliation might have been incidental to the attack—which it rarely ever is. In the second stage, the shortest of the four, reporters actually acknowledge the attack and its motive before quickly moving on to the third stage. I’ll call this the “Muslims fear backlash” stage, and it’s characterized by stories about hijab-snatchings (that usually turn out to be hoaxes) or Muslims getting dirty looks in the street. It isn’t even necessary to find any actual incidents of backlash after an attack because the fear of a backlash, not the backlash itself, is the real story. The fourth and final stage is when reporters begin to ask how the right-wing might “exploit” the story. This serves as a warning that taking action to stave off civilizational demise is somehow letting the terrorists win.

So yes, there’s a double standard. No other kind of terrorist attack is reported this way.

But that’s not what Ahmed al-Tayeb meant by a “double standard.” What he meant was that Muslims, Christians, and Jews commit proportional amounts of terrorism but Westerners seem only to notice or care about the Muslim variety. This is a truly extraordinary theory and one that I have often tried to test. Every time there is a Muslim terrorist attack anywhere in the world—and they’re happening now at a rate of several per month—I ask myself if there were other attacks committed in the name of other faiths that the media failed to report or I failed to notice.

Let’s start with the Palm Sunday attacks in Egypt. Have there been any comparable attacks carried out by Christians against mosques? Nope. The only one that I could find occurred this January not in Egypt but in Canada. The alleged perpetrator, Alexandre Bissonnette, appears to be an anti-immigrant nationalist and a fan of Donald Trump and Marine Le Pen but not particularly religious.

To be sure, the Canadian mosque attack was terrorism but it was also anomalous and not religiously inspired. There is no equivalence between Bissonnette and the suicide bombers who attacked two churches on Palm Sunday, and even if there were it wouldn’t begin to balance out the countless other terror attacks that have occurred in recent weeks.

 … Presumably all of these attacks have proportional counterparts committed in the name of other faiths, right? No, they don’t. Though Lutherans represent the largest religious group in Sweden, there has never to my knowledge been a Lutheran terrorist attack in that country or any other. Likewise there are no Russian Orthodox suicide bombers. There is no Anglican approximation of ISIS. If the Muslims don’t have a complete monopoly on religious terror, they’re pretty darned close.
  
Yet terror-deniers never tire of trying to draw some kind of false equivalence between Muslim terrorism and other kinds, no matter how much of a stretch it is. They often deny or downplay Muslim terrorism, or they assume that every white terrorist is both Christian and religiously motivated, or they blame Christians for Muslim terrorism.

 … The cliché that “Terror Knows No Religion” sums up [the leftists'] vapid sentiment pretty well.

Yes it’s true that not all Muslims are terrorists. And yes it’s true that not all terrorists are Muslim, though an absurdly high proportion of the religious variety are. What cannot be denied, however, is that the overlapping between these two groups—Muslims on the one hand and terrorists on the other—is very real. Those who choose not to see it are willfully blind, which isn’t a virtue. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

BREAKING! Paris Hit by a Terrorist Attack, the Avenue des Champs-Élysées Is Evacuated and Sealed Off

Two days before the first round in the 2017 presidential election, a terrorist attack hit Paris on its most famous avenue, leading to the death of one policeman, the wounding of two colleagues, and the complete evacuation of the Champs-Élysées.

The terrorist, who (surprise) was known to the police, is dead as well, gunned down when the fellow cops in the police van he tried emptying his Kalashnikov on returned fire. Islamic State (IS) said that one of its "fighters" had carried out the attack.

Only days ago, Abu-Yusuf al-Baljiki had been interrogated by the police, in response to rumors that he was known to have voiced a desire to buy weapons to kill police officers with. Due to the fact that he was not thought to be a real threat, he had been released.

DEVELOPING: One police officer was killed and another was wounded [actually, two others were — severely — wounded] when a gunman opened fire late Thursday on the famed Champs-Élysées shopping district in Paris, officials said.

Paris police spokeswoman Johanna Primevert told The Associated Press that the attacker, who is believed to have acted alone, targeted police guarding the area near the Franklin Roosevelt subway station at the center of the avenue popular with tourists.
The French Interior Ministry said the shooting attack "deliberately targeted" police officers guarding the area. Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said on BFM television that a man came out of a car and opened fire on the police vehicle.
The attacker was known by secret service in France, officials confirmed to Fox News. Police sources told France 24 searches are currently ongoing at the home of the gunman killed in the attack.
 

Turning science into a narrative: For decades, the Left has been attempting to equate its political goals with Science Itself

Although is, and has been, a Carl Sagan fan "from way back", he cannot avert his eyes from How Carl Sagan Ruined Science.
 … we’ve had nearly forty years to assess the long-term impact and see how Sagan unwittingly contributed to a trend that has served to muddle public understanding of science.

 … that’s the problem. The “March for Science” is an attempt to equate the political goals of the left with Science Itself, claiming the intellectual and moral authority of science for the left’s agenda.

 … Science has its own unique language and methods: the language of mathematics and a method of systematic observation and experimentation. The reason science tends to be opaque to the public is because it ultimately requires that they understand its language and learn to use its methods. But how do you communicate the history and meaning of science to those who don’t yet speak its language? You turn science into something they can understand. You make into a narrative, a story.

In Sagan’s case, he mostly turned it into a story about brave and honest scientific pioneers fighting against the forces of superstition and obscurantism. He made it into a narrative of good guys versus bad guys, of the forces of light and progress against closed-minded reactionaries. This was sometimes oversimplified, but it wasn’t entirely wrong; the religious authorities who persecuted Galileo definitely weren’t the good guys. But Sagan fell into the temptation to make this narrative about science fit just a little too closely with the agenda of conventional late-20th-century liberalism, so he used “Cosmos” as a platform for the Cold-War-era moral equivalence of the “anti-nuclear” movement and for homilies about environmentalism.

“Cosmos” is an interesting intellectual time capsule, because it was broadcast just at the point when predictions of global environmental catastrophe were tipping between global cooling and global warming. So he presented the two as equally likely scenarios that required further study (and, of course, massive government funding). But this is the point at which he dropped his guard, forgot his own admonitions about following the evidence wherever it leads, and indulged the conceit that science would just happen to line up neatly with his own political preferences. Because what he didn’t do was to entertain the possibility that human being aren’t destroying the planet and we aren’t cruising toward planetary catastrophe. He literally does not even consider this null hypothesis as a possibility.

It was a glaring hole in scientific objectivity, but it set the path for the popularizers of science who would follow in his footsteps. He had fixed the narrative in place, and they followed it.

… If you don’t really need science and all you need is the narrative, then what you get is our own era’s official replacement for Carl Sagan: Neil deGrasse Tyson. As the decades pass by, Sagan’s imitators become less thoughtful and more propagandistic, less interested in conveying the actual scientific method and more concerned with just telling the public what to think. It’s also about making those who accept the approved “pro-science” political agenda feel that they are superior to all of those ignorant, knuckle-dragging bigots who disagree with them. It equates science, not just with the politics of the left, but with the left’s attitude of smug condescension. That’s how you get Tyson’s fake-but-accurate narratives or the meme-swapping superficiality of the IFL Science crowd.

That’s also how we get things like the March for Science, in which it is naturally assumed that defending science dovetails perfectly with the left’s “resistance” against the current administration and every part of its agenda. It reduces science to a narrow political pose and blinds people to its big questions and radically different method of inquiry.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Democrats only believe that inappropriate Holocaust references are bad when it comes out of a Republican mouth


Sean Spicer the President’s press secretary … made inappropriate Holocaust statements twice during the same press briefing … neither [of which] was made out of maliciousness
writes Jeff Dunetz.
Both were atrocious. … Almost immediately Sean Spicer realized what he said, issued an apology, and went on more than one news network making televised apologies,
“I was obviously trying to make a point about the heinous acts that Assad had made against his own people last week, using chemical weapons and gas. Frankly, I mistakenly made an inappropriate and insensitive reference to the Holocaust, for which there is no comparison. And for that I apologize. It was a mistake to do that.”
He made a mistake, but he didn’t obfuscate, instead owned up to it and apologized. However, the apology didn’t matter– throughout that day and the next one also, the pile-on continued despite the fact they’ve always ignored inappropriate holocaust references by Democratic Party politicians and their colleagues in the mainstream media.

Despite his many mea culpas Eric Wemple of the Washington Post blasted Sean Spicer in his column today;
“it’s not all just a verbal tic. The halting, hard-to-follow speech patterns reflect an unflattering truth about the top spokesperson at the White House: He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. A press secretary needs to have command of a vast topical landscape. Spicer has mastered bluster, and not much else.”
Yet in the month of September when his own paper ran two different opinion pieces inappropriately comparing then-candidate Trump to Hitler, Wemple was silent.  I suppose Wemple only believes that inappropriate Holocaust references are bad when it comes out of a Republican mouth.

Wemple and the other media liberals weren’t only silent when the Washington Post made stupid Holocaust references, they ignored Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, the Huffington Post, Comedian Louis C.K, and Rachel Maddow. They also ignored when Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown compared Republican governors John Kasich, Scott Walker and Chris Christie to the Nazis. Even the Holocaust Center in Washington was so very quick to blast Sean Spicer but they never complained when President Carter rejected a Presbyterian Christian  for a position on the board of the Holocaust Memorial because the guy’s name was too Jewish.
 
Where were Democrats like  Donald Payne Jr. (D-NJ) and David Cicilline (D-RI) both of whom who called for Spicer to be fired,  when Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC)  compared conservative bloggers (like me) to Hitler? The celebrities like Barbara Streisand or Debra Messing who think they know better than those of us who have to struggle for a living and called for Spicer to be fired–why  were they silent when Hillary Clinton said Republicans who wanted want the law enforced, and illegal immigrants deported, wanted to “round them up” and “put them in box cars?”

Why aren’t any of the members of the media bashing Nancy Pelosi for calling Sean Spicer to be fired, when she twice supported Barack Obama, the most anti-Semitic president since Franklyn Roosevelt refused to allow Jews fleeing Hitler into the country, not because he saw them as a threat, but because he believed America already had enough Jews.

And there is never an outcry that Al Sharpton, advisor to Obama, and MSNBC host, only has to burp to get front page coverage in the MSM despite the fact that he led two anti-Semitic pogroms in NYC, one in Crown Heights, the other in front of Freddy’s Fashion Mart in Harlem.

There are hundreds of other examples but the point is there was not one iota of criticism about the examples above. None of it excuses what Sean Spicer said yesterday, and my liberal friends will say the case of Spicer is much different– I agree. You see, not once in the cases above, did the person or media involved apologize.  But Sean Spicer immediately “manned up’ acknowledged his mistake and said he was sorry.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Understanding climate means understanding maths, physics, and statistics: Those who ascribe the word ‘denier’ to people not in agreement with consensus climate science are trivializing the suffering and deaths of millions of people

Who’s The Denier Now?
asks National Review's Oren Cass.
The epithet “climate denier,” intended to invoke Holocaust denial, has always been tasteless and inapt. Climate change is not like the Holocaust, nor is questioning the
accuracy and predictive power of a scientific model like questioning the historical fact of a genocide that murdered 6 million Jews. But climate activists delighted in defining their opposition this way, with help from prominent figures such as Barack Obama, who in 2014 used Twitter to condemn “climate change deniers” and promote a website, run by Organizing for Action (formerly Obama for America), that featured large black-and-white pictures of then–House speaker John Boehner and Senator Marco Rubio atop a green “Climate Change Deniers” banner. “On climate,” asked the site’s headline, “whose side are you on?”

For a while, this seemed to work. Framing the climate debate as one between noble keepers of the scientific flame and people akin to Nazis gave the former group license to say almost anything. To the casual observer, even the most egregious exaggeration about climate science could seem reasonable compared with its outright rejection. Thus, Obama’s assertion in his 2015 State of the Union address that “no challenge — no challenge — poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change” became widely accepted. When Senator Bernie Sanders warned during a presidential debate that “the scientific community is telling us that if we do not address the global crisis of climate change . . . the planet that we’re going to be leaving our kids and our grandchildren may well not be habitable,” he was not laughed off the stage. …
Related: Unexpected! The Puzzling Reason Why So Many People
Remain Skeptical of Global Warming and Climate Change


While Jonah Goldberg points out that liberals
claim that their opinions are facts and anyone who disagrees isn’t merely voicing a bad opinion but it somehow living in alternative reality or “denying” science,
a post entitled The Holocaust, Climate Science, and Proof, over at The Science of Doom (Evaluating and Explaining Climate Science), concludes with these words:
I can’t find words to describe how I feel about the apologists for the Nazi regime, and those who deny that the holocaust took place. The evidence for the genocide is overwhelming and everyone can understand it.

On the other hand, those who ascribe the word ‘denier’ to people not in agreement with consensus climate science are trivializing the suffering and deaths of millions of people. Everyone knows what this word means. It means people who are apologists for those evil jackbooted thugs who carried the swastika and cheered as they sent six million people to their execution.

By comparison, understanding climate means understanding maths, physics and statistics. This is hard, very hard. It’s time consuming, requires some training (although people can be self-taught), actually requires academic access to be able to follow the thread of an argument through papers over a few decades – and lots and lots of dedication.

The worst you could say is people who don’t accept ‘consensus climate science’ are likely finding basic – or advanced – thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, heat transfer and statistics a little difficult and might have misunderstood, or missed, a step somewhere.

The best you could say is with such a complex subject straddling so many different disciplines, they might be entitled to have a point.

If you have no soul and no empathy for the suffering of millions under the Third Reich, keep calling people who don’t accept consensus climate science ‘deniers’.

Otherwise, just stop.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Unexpected! The Puzzling Reason Why So Many People Remain Skeptical of Global Warming and Climate Change


As Spring came to Europe not so many weeks ago, the sunny weather in Paris turned chilly again while Denmark got another snowfall.

Meanwhile, in North America, it was even worse (even better?). A huge snow storm hammered the East Coast (no, not only that part of the continent) and led to the cancellation of more than 4,000 flights while a Newfoundland town (cheers to Lorraine) was buried under an unprecedented 8 feet (240 cm, video and photos at link) of snow — all of which may have helped to prod Michael Mann to adjust his climate turning point to 2020.

A common (a deliberate?) misconception on the left is that rightists are dogmatic extremists who fly in the face of reality by cherry-picking their date to advance false and, indeed, deceitful and harmful narratives.

(Related: Secret Science Vs. the Devil's Work: According to environmentalists, if members of the EPA can’t hide their data and refuse to show their calculations they’ll be “crippled”)

But ain't it true that conservatives are anything but activists, let alone extremists? They are simply regular folks who don't want to pressure any of their neighbors into doing anything but simply want to be left alone and who, on the contrary, keep their eyes, their ears, and indeed their brains, open?

Some cases in point:

I'm so old, I can remember that in 2014 and 2015, the New York Times and the Independent wondered whether snowfalls were now nothing but a thing of the past (see also the Washington Post).

I'm so old, I can remember when, year after year after year, Britain's winters have proved to be among the coldest in a century.

I'm so old, I can remember that in 2008 Al Gore predicted that the Earth's ice caps would have melted by 2013 (don't the poles, four years later, still seem to be around (while the polar bear population seems to be thriving)?).

I'm so old, I can remember that in 2009, NASA's climate change guru, Jim Hansen, said that Obama had only four years to save the earth

I'm so old, I can remember that in 2007, United Nations scientists and other climatistas warned that "There could be as little as eight years left to avoid a dangerous global average rise of 2C or more"

I'm so old, I can remember (actually, I can't, but let's not ruin a perfectly good meme) that in 1989 the United Nations issued the first of these 10-year-or-so global warming tipping points.

• Finally, I'm so old, I can remember that climate change used to be called global warming and that, during the movement's first days, what the drama queens were worrying about was global cooling, with the very first Earth Day in 1970, devoted to… the coming… ice age!

Related: 13 Most Ridiculous Predictions Made on Earth Day, 1970 and
18 spectacularly wrong predictions made around the time of first Earth Day
in 1970, expect more this year
(via Sarah Hoyt and Ed Driscoll, who asks:
How can you continually believe the world is coming to end for a half century?)

As for the rising sea levels that we keep being warned about, I addressed that in a post last year:
think of New York City, of Miami, of Galveston, of San Francisco, of Tokyo, of Sydney, of Goa, of Alexandria, of Saint Tropez, of Copenhagen.

Correct me if I am wrong, but [in the past 5 weeks, in the past 5 months,] in the past 5 years, in the past 50 years, even offhand in the past 500 years (?), has the sea level in any of those places risen by even one inch, by even one centimeter?
Stories of California's unending drought, along with the above examples, may help explain distrust of the government and the establishment of such theories as Betteridge's Law of Headlines along with the reason why conservatives — again: no activists, they — are wont to pen columns with titles such as 5 Reasons It's Dumb To Panic Over Global Warming.

Let Larry Kummer have the last word:
Remember all those predictions of a “permanent drought” in California? Those were examples of why three decades of climate alarmism has not convinced the American people to take severe measures to fight anthropogenic climate change: alarmists exaggerate the science, and are proven wrong — repeatedly. 
Update: Understanding climate means understanding maths, physics, and statistics:
Those who ascribe the word ‘denier’ to people not in agreement with consensus
climate science are trivializing the suffering and deaths of millions of people

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Secret Science Vs. the Devil's Work: According to environmentalists, if members of the EPA can’t hide their data and refuse to show their calculations they’ll be “crippled”


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may soon be required by federal law to base its policies on actual science
writes Benny Huang on the Constitution website
—and of course environmentalists are livid about it. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) reintroduced a bill known as the Secret Science Reform Act that would prohibit the EPA from “proposing, finalizing, or disseminating regulations or assessments based on science that is not transparent or reproducible.” The bill was originally introduced in 2014 though it did not clear all congressional hurdles. Barack Obama—our most super-sciencey president ever—vowed to veto it if ever reached his desk.

I’ve honestly tried to understand what kind of objection any sane human being could possibly have to this bill and I think I’ve discovered what it is. Are you ready? If the EPA has to be transparent it can’t operate. That’s it.

Don’t believe me? Here’s the opening sentence from an oppositional op-ed by Dianna Wray of Houston Press: “A lot Republicans hate the Environmental Protection Agency, but have left it to San Antonio Republican Representative Lamar Smith to come up with a bill that, if passed, could actually stop the agency from doing just about anything.”

Oh, I see—if it weren’t for secret science, the EPA wouldn’t have any science at all. According to Wray, if they can’t hide their data and refuse to show their calculations they’ll be “crippled.” There’s just one problem with this idea—secret science is a contradiction in terms. Science isn’t science if its results can’t be held up for inspection, judged worthy or unworthy, and accepted, refined, or rejected. If a theory is too delicate to withstand the heat and pressure of scrutiny, it doesn’t deserve anyone’s acceptance.

Legally speaking, the word “science” was defined in McLean v. Arkansas (1982), a famous court case that exiled creation science from public schools. Judge William Overton found that creation science was not science at all because it failed a five-prong test. According to his decision genuine science must:
1)    be guided by natural law;
2)    be explanatory by reference to natural law;
3)    be testable against the empirical world;
4)    have conclusions that are tentative, i.e. are not necessarily the final word; and
5)    be falsifiable.

Anything that fails even one of these prongs cannot rightly be called science. That’s a high standard. Some might call it too high, though that would depend on whose theory is being put to the test. Nonetheless, the McLean test has value. Ideas that don’t live up it cannot legitimately be called scientific. Whether they’re true or not is another question entirely.

The McLean test is so valuable in fact that I see no reason why it shouldn’t be applied at all levels of government and to all ideas deemed scientific. After all, if a particular idea is considered junk science in the classroom, what good is it for policy-making?

Requiring the EPA and the rest of the federal government to adhere to the McLean test would yield some interesting results. For example, would the theory of global warming be able to pass the McLean test? Not by a long shot.

Global warming fails at least the third, fourth, and fifth prongs. It fails the third because its data sets are closely guarded secrets and it appears to have absolutely no predicative capability. It fails the fourth because “the science is settled”—that is, it is beyond discussion. It fails the fifth because it cannot be proven wrong—everything proves global warming, including cold snaps and blizzards.

And when you get down to it, global warming is what this whole EPA controversy is really about. Though the EPA deals in other realms as well—water pollutants, etc—global warming is really the environmental movement’s touchstone. Within that movement there seems to be a certain uneasiness that their theory might crumble like a house of cards if it weren’t constantly shielded from scrutiny. Though fanatically dedicated to the idea that man-made carbon emissions are causing the earth to warm, these true believers evince a telltale insecurity that it might not be true after all.

One such true believer is Dr. Phil Jones, formerly of the Climate Research Unit (CRU) in England. He’s an all-around hack who does his work under cover of darkness then just expects everyone to accept his findings as unvarnished truth. For a period of years Jones was engaged in an ongoing feud with two Canadians named Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick who offered to check the calculations behind the now disgraced “hockey stick” graph that purported to show a rapid spike in global temperatures during the 20th Century. Jones did everything in his power to resist McIntyre’s and McKitrick’s requests for data.  “[McIntyre and McKitrick] have been after the CRU station data for years,” wrote Jones in a 2005 email to a friend. “If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to anyone.”

That would be a crime of course, but that’s how far Jones was willing to go to keep his data secret. And when I say “his data” I don’t mean to imply that they’re his personal property. Actually, British and American taxpayers paid for them but we aren’t allowed to see them because Jones worries what those evil science-haters might do with them—such as proving him wrong, for example.

This seems to be a pattern with Jones and some of his colleagues. When Jones was asked by science researcher Warwick Hughes to provide his data, Jones refused, claiming that some of the data were deemed confidential by their source, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Why temperature data should be locked up like the recipe for Coca-Cola is truly baffling but apparently that’s just how pervasive secret science has become. Hughes then inquired directly with the WMO and was given the cold shoulder, after which he returned to Jones. Jones curtly replied to Hughes’s request: “Even if WMO agrees, I will still not pass on the data. We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it[?]” (Emphasis added.)

Hearing those words from the mouth a scientist makes me wonder if science is dead. If all Hughes was trying to do was to “find something wrong” with Jones’s pet theory, he was in fact doing Jones a favor. And it is Jones’s pet theory. His comment about having “25 or so years invested” gives us a clue as to his prejudices. His life’s work is at stake here. Though science demands that he try to disprove his own theory, and invite others to try their hand as well, he just can’t bring himself to do it. He’s “invested” too much to allow that to happen.
 
Now I’m sure that Jones would say that he doesn’t want to allow people of bad faith to take a whack at his theory. For example, Steve McIntyre is—gasp!—a mining consultant. Surely he has an agenda.

Sure, he probably does. But even if his “agenda” is to debunk the theory, that’s actually an essential part of the scientific process. Dr. Jones doesn’t see it that way of course because his own agenda—protecting the theory at all costs—clouds his judgement. Jones sees McIntyre, McKitrick et al as people who are doing the devil’s work when they try poke holes in his theory. He doesn’t want to allow them the opportunity to do so. In such cases he considers it permissible to operate in secret and treat skeptical review—an essential ingredient of science—like heresy. Isn’t that the way science is supposed to work?

Actually, no. The demands that science makes upon a theory are not waived just because a scientist suspects that those who disagree with him have ill motives. That’s a horrible precedent. It can only lead to a situation in which only people who already subscribe to the theory are allowed to test it. This necessarily corrupts the peer-review process, transforming it into buddy-review—a very poor substitute indeed.

I should stress here there was once a time when I too believed in the theory of global warming, though only because I was not aware of the controversy. Even at this late stage in the game I could still be sold on it, but it will require evidence—plus a satisfactory explanation for why the scientific process was betrayed in the first place. I’m not taking this theory on faith, and that is exactly what defenders of secret science demand.
Related: Unexpected! The Puzzling Reason Why So Many People Remain Skeptical of Global Warming and Climate Change

Sunday, April 09, 2017

VIPs From All Over the Spectrum at CPAC

Among the uncountable VIPs at CPAC — besides top CPAC heavyweights Donald Trump and Mike Pence
were such people as Joe the Plumber, Ted Cruz, John Bolton, Robert Davi, and Beth Chapman and Dog the Bounty Hunter, as well as, last but not least, William Temple.







Saturday, April 08, 2017

Patriots at CPAC, in Their Patriotic Attire

Patriotic attire at CPAC, mainly in the form of Stars and Stripes shirts (Raymond Cleaveland on the left) and hats, not to mention boxer shorts and even underpants, were everywhere to be seen at the CPAC venue.

But surely a special tip of the hat must go out to the Esquires William Temple and George Washington.






Monday, April 03, 2017

The ONLY time the Democrats get worked up by the Russians is when they come to think the Russians may have cost them an election

He may not get much respect from Dalrock, but the Word Warrior (aka Barry Jacobsen) made good sense a couple of weeks ago.
Remember the Russian Reset? Or Obama leaning in close to the Russian Prime Minister and assuring him (message to be conveyed to his boss, “Vladimir”) that he (Obama) would have much more “flexibility” to make concessions once the election was over??

No administration has been cozier or more accommodating to America’s enemies (not just Russia, a rival; but Iran, a true deadly enemy) than Obama’s and the Democrats supporting him.

Thus the irony: the ONLY time the Democrats get worked up by the Russians is when they come to think the Russians may have cost them an election! Enslaving all of Eastern Europe? No big deal. Overrunning Afghanistan? Ok, we will boycott the Olympics; but not to worry. Setting up puppet client states throughout Latin America, on our very doorstep? Hey, we do the same thing to them, so what’s the big concern?
All my life the Dems have down-played the threat from Russia (then the Soviet Union). Till they lost the one thing that REALLY MATTERS to our Democrat friends: power. Losing the election and the power of governance hits them where it hurts. Who cares about a bunch of smelly Eastern Europeans (or Cubans, for that matter; still enslaved to a communist regime imposed with Russian support)? But elections matter!

[In March 2012] while President Obama was taking part in a global nuclear security summit in South Korea, he was caught on tape asking for Russian President Dmitry Medvedev for "space." 
"This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility," 
Obama implored. Obama assured the departing Russian President he will have the "flexibility" required to deal with missile defense issues after the 2012 presidential election.

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Syria and the Arab League

The Arab League, and their (lack of) reaction to the trials and tribulations of Bashar al-Assad, as seen by Le Monde's Plantu in November 2011 (thank you, Barack Obama, for letting the Syrian leader off the hook)

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Feminists have managed to create an employment atmosphere where men walk around on pins and needles wondering when something they say might be taken out of context or when a woman might decide to ruin a man’s career with a false accusation


FEMINISTS WAGE WAR ON MEN, THEN BLAME MEN FOR RESULTS 
writes Glenn Reynolds in reaction to Vice President Mike Pence's much-mocked decision in Washington never to dine with a woman alone unless she is his wife.
So you drastically expand the definition of “sexual harassment,” and then promote an ethic that says that all accusations must be believed, and then you’re shocked that workplace men don’t want to hang out with women?
How stupid are you?
This brings to mind a two-year-old Elizabeth Price Foley post on Instapundit quoting the New York Post's Naomi Schaefer Riley:
According to a National Journal survey, a lot of politicians are worried about the consequences of being alone with female staffers. An article on the Web site last week revealed:
“Several female aides . . . have been barred from staffing their male bosses at evening events, driving alone with their congressman or senator, or even sitting down one-on-one in his office for fear that others would get the wrong impression.”
Well, that’s one explanation.

 … More likely the congressmen, like the professors I’ve spoken to, don’t want to leave themselves open to claims of sexual harassment and the lawsuits that might result.

Feminists have managed to create an employment atmosphere where men walk around on pins and needles wondering when something they say might be taken out of context or when a woman might decide to ruin a man’s career with a false accusation.

Surely there are plenty of male bosses guilty of boorish behavior. But there are also plenty of women who believe that a sexist joke or even a compliment on one’s outfit is enough to create a “hostile work environment.”

And so rather than engaging in a “he-said, she-said” deposition, many bosses would rather make sure they have witnesses to every interaction.

 … There’s no doubt treating male and female employees differently is illegal, and a case could probably be made that these male bosses are discriminating.

But most politicians would rather be accused of avoiding one-on-one meetings with a female employee than of some kind of harassment.

Those “fences” have been built by the legal environment we live in. Once again, feminists have managed to turn women into helpless victims.

 … Women may be held back in their careers as a result of this nonsense. The chickens, as they say, have come home to roost.
Update: thanks for the Instalanche from Glenn Reynolds, who quotes this nugget:
1. Greatly expand definition of sexual harassment.
2. Make any accusation of sexual harassment career-ending.
3. Proclaim that women should always be believed when they accuse a man.
4. Complain that men won’t have 1-on-1 meetings with women.
This article reinforces the old stereotype that women aren’t logical…

Friday, March 31, 2017

Doesn’t the Left have an adversarial relationship with big business? No. That’s just what they tell people.


Apparently the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) now issues ultimatums to state governments
notes a bemused Benny Huang on the Constitution.com website.
Yep, that’s a thing now.

On the first anniversary of North Carolina’s HB2 law, the NCAA warned North Carolina that it has until April 18th to revise or repeal its statute or face not hosting any NCAA events through 2022. The controversial law preempts any municipality in the state from enacting intrusive, immoral, and unconstitutional private sector non-discrimination laws if they pertain to such fluid and socially constructed concepts as “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” The bill does not prescribe who may use which bathroom, as has often been erroneously reported, except in state-owned facilities. In state buildings, the rule is pretty simple: men use the men’s room and women use the women’s room. In private businesses the owner decides if he wants to allow confused people to use the restroom of the opposite sex. It also prohibits localities from forcing their citizens to be bondage servants in other people’s weddings which is already their right (though often violated) under the US Constitution’s first and thirteenth amendments.

How this law can possibly be controversial is beyond me. But it is.

North Carolina has hung tough for a year, defying all manner of corporate bullying. Industry titans such as Apple and General Electric have declared their unwillingness to invest in North Carolina as long as the law remains in place. Paypal nixed plans to expand an operations center in the state. The NBA moved its 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte to New Orleans.

Every effort has been made to force North Carolinians to cry “uncle!” but to their credit they haven’t done it yet. Stay strong, Tarheels.

This kind of corporate bullying campaign might seem unusual to anyone who takes liberals at their word. Doesn’t the Left have an adversarial relationship with big business? No. That’s just what they tell people.
 
Liberal Democrats have been using anti-corporate rhetoric to make their appeal to voters for a long time. Their approach is probably a vestige of America’s industrial past when a clear political demarcation line separated labor from management. Working men were Democrats and their bosses were Republicans. Anything associated with the boss and his political party was tainted. The word “corporate” came to be used as a pejorative and largely retains that connotation in left-wing circles today.

But their rhetoric has not kept pace with reality. Today’s Left has cozied up to the moneyed interests they used to despise because those interests are now on board with their agenda. Last month, at the DNC’s 2017 Winter Meeting in Atlanta, party officials voted to accept corporate donations. Bob Mulholland, a California-based party advisor and spokesman of considerable clout, even justified the move by citing—you guessed it!—North Carolina’s HB2 law. Said Mulholland:
“All those corporations in North Carolina, who stood up for the Democratic Party platform against the law there to try to outlaw or discriminate against transgender [people], why should the Democratic Party say now, ‘Hey, great what you did, but we’re not gonna take your contributions?’”
Because you’ve got principles, sir. Because money always comes with strings attached. Because corporations poison “our democracy” and drown out the people’s authentic voice. Or at least that was the case before big business started supporting your party and its positions. My how things have changed.

Senator Bernie Sanders is a good example of someone who still likes to pretend to be the people’s champion doing battle with evil corporations. Disdain for big business was the cornerstone of his 2016 presidential campaign and it seemed to sell well enough within the Democratic rank and file to make him a real contender for the party’s nomination. This rape-fantasizing, Castro-lionizing former sojourner at a Stalinist kibbutz let it be known that America is not for sale—or at least it shouldn’t be. The positions page of his website proclaimed: “Returning to a government of, by, and for the people – not the billionaires and giant corporations – will not be easy.” On the campaign trail he hammered home a message so basic that no one in the audience could have failed to grasp it—namely, that he would banish corporations and their ill-gotten influence from the halls of governance.

But 2016 tested Sanders’s sincerity and it was found wanting. Besides being the year that he nearly upset Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, it was also the year that North Carolina came under relentless assault from PepsiCo, Deutsche Bank, and Facebook among others. Sanders spent the first six months of 2016 on the campaign trail decrying corporate influence in politics but somehow failed to highlight the business community’s ostracizing of North Carolina as an example. He even issued a statement condemning the law but not the moneyed interests lined up against it.

What gives, Bernie? If North Carolinians want the law but huge out-of-state corporations do not, who should have their way?

This wasn’t just some agribusiness lobbyist taking legislators out to dinner in hopes of persuading them to vote for a farm bill, this was real arm-twisting. Ten million North Carolinians, some of whom supported the law and some of whom didn’t, were being forced to pay a stiff penalty that often included the loss of their livelihoods, all because their duly enacted laws didn’t stack up to Deutsche Bank’s (et al’s) “values.”

Sanders proved that he doesn’t really care about the corporate hijacking of our political process as long as the corporations’ agendas coincides with his own—which happens to be the case more often than he would like to admit. This was just the most recent instance in which Sanders remained quiet while big business thrashed a state government into compliance. He could have spoken out against similar corporate pressure tactics when they were brought to bear on Arkansas and Indiana for daring to consider much needed religious freedom laws—but he didn’t. He could have stepped up to defend Arizona when it came under corporate attack for its attempt to regain control of the illegal immigration crisis or when the NFL yanked the Super Bowl for not celebrating Martin Luther King’s birthday as a state holiday—but he didn’t.

Over and over again, big business has employed an effective offensive strategy that involves isolating and punishing states as a warning to other states. If liberals were sincerely opposed to corporate hegemony they would be willing to unite with their opponents behind a defensive strategy that would effectively counter corporate shaming. That strategy is called solidarity. It would mean states rallying to each other’s defense, something like the NATO mutual defense treaty—an attack on one is an attack on all. If North Carolina is shunned for its bathroom privacy law, other states should pass similar laws so that the first state can’t be so easily singled out for abuse.
 
The NBA is a good example. If it wants to pull its All Star Game from Charlotte, that’s fine—but they shouldn’t be allowed to just move it to New Orleans. Louisiana should show some solidarity with North Carolina and adopt similar legislation. Every state should follow suit until the NBA is left hosting their All Star Game in Guam.

 … Liberals don’t really want big business to stand on the sidelines. What they want is for companies to bring their considerable influence to the political process on their side. If they can’t do that, they should just shut up.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

An upsurge in entrepreneurial ambition in France


[Incredibly, the] most striking case of fresh growth is in Paris. Mention of France has long elicited sighs from venture capitalists. Its rigid labour laws and hefty taxes on wealth and on stock options have meant that Silicon Valley has more than its fair share of entrepreneurial French immigrants.  
Thus writes The Economist, that, in spite of France's "rigid labour laws and hefty taxes on wealth and on stock options," we are seeing how
The rise of “deep-tech” is boosting Paris’s startup scene (The capital now leads Europe for the number of venture-capital funding rounds).
That leads to the following reaction:
Home of the entrepreneur
Your article on French entrepreneurs (“Less misérable”, February 25th) suggests that France has become Europe’s most active destination for venture capital thanks to changes in French mentality, the rise of “deep-tech” startups and private initiatives. All your arguments are true but there is one other crucial point: public policies over the past 20 years should also be credited for this success. The French administration has created a tax haven for innovative tech companies. I am an entrepreneur and founder of a firm employing 50 people. The combined assistance of a tax credit for research, the improved status for startups and a state-backed interest-free loan helped us grow. In our first five years we gave nothing back to the state, though that assistance has now been largely returned.
The Economist often criticises the inefficiency of the French state, but on this topic it should delve deeper.
GILLES TOULEMONDE
Chief executive
Inova Lyon 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Overton Window: How the Left turns the unthinkable into the uncontroversial


Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is prepared to go to the mat to prevent the construction of a wall on our southern border
writes Benny Huang on Front Page.
The senator from New York is threatening to use all available options, including a government shut-down, to forestall three key provisions in the new budget: a deportation force, a border wall, and the defunding of Planned Parenthood.

Well, it’s good to know where Schumer draws his line in the sand. Anything that impedes the endless flow of undocumented Democrats he considers to be an act of war.

But I’m old enough to remember when Chuck Schumer supported at least one of these budget items. In 2006, he and 25 other Democratic senators voted for the Secure Fence Act which would have built a double-layered fence on the US-Mexico border. The bill passed, by the way, and President Bush signed it into law. It wasn’t a close vote because it wasn’t particularly controversial.

Now I’m sure that a persnickety liberal like Chuck Schumer would split hairs on this one. He voted for a fence, not a wall! That argument is a non-starter. Walls and fences are both barriers intended to keep people out so let’s not pretend that the difference between then and now is the type of barrier. What’s changed is that Chuck Schumer now supports endless and unlimited immigration with no distinction made between those who enter the county legally and those who don’t. He has likely learned that his party’s best interests are best served by diluting the voice of their actual constituents.

There is perhaps no better example than Chuck Schumer of how much this country has changed since the Bush years. Positions once held by a proud New York liberal are now considered reactionary. What happened? In short, the Overton Window has moved quickly and decisively leftward.

The Overton Window? What’s that? 

Glad you asked. I’m not talking about Glenn Beck’s boring novel but rather about its namesake: the handy mental model formulated by political scientist Joseph P. Overton. His window represents the breadth of ideas that the public considers acceptable discourse superimposed over a spectrum ranging from far left to far right. At both ends of the spectrum lurk ideas that are literally “unthinkable.” As we inch closer to the Overton Window we find ideas that are merely “radical.” The first category contained within the Overton Window is “acceptable,” followed by “sensible,” then “popular,” and finally “policy.”

The goal of most progressive strategists has been to move that window so that previously unthinkable ideas become conceivable and eventually uncontroversial. People who don’t adopt the newly mainstreamed idea quickly enough are usually shamed into silence. If they refuse to keep quiet they are shunned by polite society and often lose their livelihoods because their old ideas have been pushed into “radical” and “unthinkable” territory. 


This is perhaps one reason the Left so despises the slippery slope argument—except when they employ it against their adversaries, of course. They want people to concentrate only on the issue as they narrowly define it without considering the principles at stake or the long-term ramifications. Who could have imagined, for example, that a little sensitivity toward racial issues would eventually lead to the stifling environment we find on college campuses today, in which it’s now considered a microaggression to say something as harmless as “I just believe the most qualified person should get the job”? That’s against the rules at the University of California, the largest university system in the country and a state school with an obligation to protects students’ free speech. Certainly no one foresaw this in the 1960s. We just thought we were telling racists—genuine racists—to shut up. What’s the next forbidden phrase? The Left doesn’t want you to ask. If people knew where this crazy train is going they’d demand to be let off.

But we should ask. What radical ideas will the Left be pushing in ten years? What unthinkable ideas will they champion in twenty? You can bet that they won’t admit to any of them now because the time isn’t right. That’s how this game is played.

For another example of the sliding Overton Window, consider Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders, both Democrats who sought the presidential nomination of their party, one successfully and the other unsuccessfully. When conservatives called Obama a socialist throughout his presidency, the Left balked. “Don’t be ridiculous!” they said. “He’s no socialist.” This protégé of the radical anti-American CPUSA member Frank Marshall Davis, who openly bragged of hanging out with the Marxist professors on his college campus, who praised a Soviet-backed communist terrorist like Nelson Mandela, was absolutely the furthest thing from a socialist a person could possibly be—or so we were told.

But then along came Bernie Sanders who didn’t even bother to hide his socialism. Of course, he made the highly dubious claim that he preferred the Danish variety of socialism to the Latin American brand he championed earlier in his political career, but at least he was honest enough to use the “S” word. And suddenly there really was nothing wrong with being a socialist. Who knew that after eight years of fervently denying Obama’s socialism—as if it were a bad thing—that the party’s next rising star would be a self-described socialist?

Sanders might even have won the nomination of the Democratic Party if Hillary Clinton hadn’t stacked the deck against him. His loss can be attributed to a number of factors but an aversion to socialism among Democratic voters isn’t one of them. Six in ten Democratic primary voters think socialism “has a positive impact” on society. That’s because the Democratic Party is really just America’s socialist party by another name.

The Left has been particularly successful in radically shifting the frame of acceptable discourse for three reasons. First, they have the media on their side to give them top cover. Second, they are masters of emotion-laden propaganda. And third, they recognize golden opportunities when they see them.

When Barack Obama came to power he recognized that an unpopular war and an economic collapse had left the American people stumbling and woozy. It was an opportune moment to remake society. “You never let a serious crisis go to waste,” said Obama’s Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. “And what I mean by that is it's an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”

Emanuel’s maxim has been the Left’s unarticulated strategy for a long time. They recognize that in times of national tumult the electorate often grants to progressives plenty of latitude to enact their policy wish lists. Obama benefited from one of these moments when he entered the White House in 2009 with a cooperative Democratic Congress to work with. The road was wide open and Obama went pedal to the metal into territory that most Americans would have considered too far afield just a few years before.  

Few presidents have changed the nation as fundamentally as Barack Obama—and not in a good way. Within his first two years he had made the ideas of Saul Alinsky look all-American. I would argue that only Franklin Roosevelt spearheaded a more complete American transformation and he had twelve years to do it. Now there was a man who knew how to move the Overton Window. FDR’s New Deal was considered radical when he proposed it and would have been unthinkable a generation before.

But there was still work to be done. Thirty years later, President Lyndon Johnson exploited America’s national grief over the Kennedy Assassination to push through the atrocious Great Society agenda. President Carter pushed the window further to the left in those disorienting days after Watergate and the Vietnam War. 

We conservatives never really push it back, often because we’re afraid we’ll be accused of “turning back the clock.” We need to get over our fear of moving the Overton Window in the other direction for a change. With both houses of Congress and the White House now in conservative hands, there is no excuse not to reverse most of the horrid policies of the Obama years. While they’re at it, they ought to reverse the policies of the Carter, Johnson, and Roosevelt years too