Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Is it not strange that migrants from Syria and Iraq move to places like Germany and Swede instead of to neighbors like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait?

On the German website Achse des Guten, Mareike Enghusen interviews Daniel Pipes.
Mr. Pipes, You have written that Angela Merkel's decision to open the border to over a million migrants in 2015 "will likely be seen as a turning point in European history." You are a historian, so, what do you mean by this expression?

I expect that when the evolution of European civilization is studied in the future, August 2015 will be seen as a key moment. The decision to allow unlimited immigration into Germany has had profound implications for Europe by raising this issue in a more acute way than ever before, creating divisions both among native Europeans who are for and against large-scale immigration and between native and new Europeans.

 … Why are relations between Europeans and Muslim immigrants so fraught with tension?

They are fraught because Islam is an imperialist faith and many Muslim immigrants want to replace existing European civilization with Islam. Exacerbating matters, Europeans and Muslims are opposites on several key issues: Europeans have a low birthrate, Muslim immigrants have a high one. Europeans have a weak religious identity, Muslims have a strong one. Europeans feel guilty for their historical sins; immigrants have boisterous confidence in the superiority of their civilization.

Many Germans argue that as a rich nation, they morally must open their doors to people in need.

I admire that humanitarian impulse but it is unrealistic. Can Germany take in, say, 2 billion people? If not, how does it morally pick the tiny percentage it does allow in?

What, then, is the answer?

Practically speaking, see the world in terms of cultural and geographic zones: Westerners in need should stay in the West, Middle Easterners should stay in the Middle East, and so forth around the globe. Is it not strange that migrants from Syria and Iraq move to places like Germany and Sweden? They would be better off going to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, where the climate, the language, the religion, and the mores are all like their own; plus, these countries are much closer to Syria.

 … Many Muslims of immigrant origins point to discrimination as a factor hindering them from fully integrating into German society.

Yes, discrimination is a problem. I would not want to be named Muhammad and look for a job in Hamburg. But that supports my argument that it is better to be named Muhammad in Saudi Arabia or Kuwait. Why push together peoples who, as the last 55 years have shown, cannot live easily together? As Thilo Sarrazin has showed, the experiment of Muslim immigration has failed; continuing it will increase tensions.

 … How do you view Europe's response to Islamism?

Compared to 20 years ago, a great leap in awareness has occurred – but not enough yet to make a difference in policy. Virtually everywhere in Europe, political parties exist that make immigration and Islamism a priority, but almost none of them has been in power because these groups tend to be staffed by amateurs, contain too many extremists, and are ostracized. As a result, they cannot reach 51 percent.

 … Asked in 2015 to address the German fear of Islamization, Chancellor Merkel suggested that instead of fearing Islam, Christian Germans should learn more about their own religious roots and go to church more often. Your response?

Merkel's infuriating reply is typical of the elites in western (not eastern) Europe who remain defiantly unaware of the problems that Muslim immigration creates. The reasons are several-fold: guilty feelings, living in a bubble, looking for votes, political correctness, and fear of being called "Islamophobic."

 … Why guilty feelings?

The cover of Pascal Bruckner's "The Tyranny of Guilt: An Essay on Western Masochism."

Because, as French novelist and essayist Pascal Bruckner explained in his 2006 book, La tyrannie de la pénitence, many Europeans feel deep personal remorse about the trio of imperialism, fascism, and racism, even when they themselves are not implicated in those evils. For some Europeans, white skin itself signals guilt. Accordingly, they feel compelled to show unlimited tolerance and goodwill to non-Westerners. The fact that non-Western peoples also sin does not register – which implies a certain arrogance, even racism: only white sins count.

This sense of guilt is the more striking considering Europe's great advances. I remember visiting Finland in 1987 and thinking as I walked its streets: "This prosperity, freedom, rule of law, and democracy is what humanity has always worked toward and now it's been achieved." How strange that a Europe which attained such success today drowns in guilt, has too few children, and chooses not to protect itself from a rival civilization. As an historian, I say: Such weakness has no precedent.
 





Sunday, August 20, 2017

"Is Trump personally racist?" asks the NYT; "The few African-Americans in his inner circle respond with an emphatic No"

After reading an article in the New York Times, Ann Althouse comments that
“It seems apparent that the NYT set out to find out if there’s any evidence that Trump is a racist. Read the article. They found strong evidence that he is absolutely not any sort of a racist. The headline ought to come out and celebrate his excellent record.”
This leads Glenn Reynolds to laconically comment:
Naturally, it doesn’t.

Indeed, YAMICHE ALCINDOR and MAGGIE HABERMAN's entire report, entitled Circling the Square of President Trump’s Relationship With Race, can be summarized in this couple of sentences:
  … more than ever, the question is being asked: Is Mr. Trump personally racist? The few African-Americans in his inner circle respond with an emphatic no.
The New York Times article goes on to give a plethora of details:
 … Kara Young, a model who dated Donald J. Trump for two years before he married another model named Melania Knauss, remembers clearly bringing up her race with the real estate tycoon early in their relationship. As with so many issues, he steered the conversation to celebrity.

“I didn’t hide my race from Donald Trump. He knew,” Ms. Young said in a rare interview. “He would say, ‘You’re like Derek Jeter.’ And I would say, ‘Exactly.’”

“I never heard him say a disparaging comment towards any race of people,” she added.

 … when asked whether she thought Mr. Trump was racist or supported white supremacist ideals, Ms. Young said, “That was not my experience.”
 … Lynne Patton, who heads the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s New York and New Jersey office and is black, said Mr. Trump had a diverse set of people around him that included some close African-American associates, like Mr. Carson and Omarosa Manigault-Newman, a White House aide.

The president “doesn’t see color the way the average person does,” she said. He assesses people based on “their successes and their failures.”

Ms. Pierson [seated, in white, at far right in the photo above] said she was proof that Mr. Trump was not a racist because as soon as he decided to run for president, he hired her as a national spokeswoman for his campaign and encouraged her to speak on multiple television networks.

“A racist does not pick a single black mother to represent his entire freaking presidential campaign,” Ms. Pierson said. “A racist would not endorse Jesse Jackson’s presidential campaign in the ’80s twice. [At one point, DT gave free office space to Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition.] A racist would also not spend his time and his resources to bring African-Americans into Wall Street.”

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Newt Gingrich: History is More Important Than Hysteria


Americans have once again been subjected to a dishonest, one-sided elite media frenzy
writes Newt Gingrich, the author of Understanding Trump, a #1 New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and Wall Street Journal Best Seller.

See also: It Doesn't Matter What Republicans Do or Say; The Left and the Press Will Call Them Racist Anyway.
In what is becoming an all too common occurrence, the media covers an event, distorts it, and then builds on its own distortion, condemning anyone who refuses to blindly accept their falsehoods.
All of this is done in a tone of hysteria, designed to both distract us from the serious problems the Left can’t solve and to isolate conservatives on emotionally hateful grounds.

Let me be clear: The conflict in Charlottesville last Saturday was terrible. An American was killed in an act of domestic terrorism by a hateful fanatic. Every American should condemn neo-Nazis, the KKK, and racism in all its hateful forms.

However, for leftwing fanatics and the elite media, bringing the country together and refusing to tolerate any group or individual that promotes racism and violence is not enough.

Instead, they believe that we should support eliminating large parts of American history.

If a person defends a historic monument or statue, the Left and the elite media immediately claim it is a sign of racism, anti-Semitism, and any other harsh emotional condemnation they can throw.

Never mind the words of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, a Republican who was the first African American woman to serve as Secretary of State and who witnessed the atrocities of racism first-hand when members of the KKK bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963, killing one of her close friends and three other young girls.

When asked earlier this year about removing Confederate memorials, Rice said, “When you start wiping out your history, sanitizing your history to make you feel better, it’s a bad thing.”

However, engaging in rational debates about this issue is impossible in this media frenzy because only the Left’s views are tolerated.

Consider Bill Kristol’s vicious attack on Tucker Carlson earlier this week.

During the opening monologue of his Fox News show, Carlson raised concern about discrediting every historical figure who was a slave owner, saying that in doing so, we risk undermining our founding documents. In response, Kristol tweeted, “They started by rationalizing Trump. They ended by rationalizing slavery.” Kristol then went on to infer that Carlson was anti-Semitic.

This is a perfect example of the current hysteria. Carlson was raising a valid question about whether it is reasonable to start whitewashing our history and denigrating every American historical figure who owned slaves. Do Kristol and others in the elite media think that we should tear down the monuments of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, both of whom owned slaves?

The surprising thing about Kristol’s unexpected attack on Carlson was that Carlson had worked under Kristol for years at the Weekly Standard. According to Carlson, “I knew him well. He was a genuinely smart guy. He’s a good boss, too. He was humane and fair-minded. He was the kind of person I never would imagine would write something that nasty and dishonest about an enemy much less an old friend. What happened?”

But Kristol’s rash tweetstorm against Carlson is exactly the kind of impulsive reaction the frenzy produces.

However, the media will soon learn that the clear majority of Americans repudiate this kind of hysteria.

A recent poll conducted by NPR, PBS News Hour, and the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion indicated that 62 percent of voters nationally think monuments of Confederate leaders should remain up as historical symbols, while only 28 percent of those polled said they should be removed because they are offensive and 10 percent of people were unsure.

Commenting on the poll in his Lunchtime Politics newsletter, political analyst Ron Faucheux went into further detail on the Marist poll, noting that 44% of Democrats, 86% of Republicans, and 61% of independents say the monuments should remain as historical symbols. By region: 53% in the Northeast, 61% in the Midwest, 66% in the South, and 61% in the West say the statues should remain. Also, 67% of Caucasians, 44% of African Americans, and 65% of Latinos say the statues should remain.

So, in the Left’s and elite media’s view are 44 percent of African Americans secretly racist since they accept the historic role of old statues?

Of course not.

This is just further proof of the dishonest, hysteria-driven smear campaign being run by the Left and the elite media.

But don’t be fooled. The Left is not motivated by their desire to defend morality. Their actions are fueled by their desperation to focus our attention on symbolic emotional fights to detract from their failed policies.

The day after the tragedy in Charlottesville, six people were shot and killed in Chicago and five more have been killed since. In Baltimore, eight people have died of gunshot wounds in the past week. And on Thursday, at least 13 were killed and approximately 120 wounded in an ISIS terrorist attack in Barcelona, Spain.

The fanatics of the Left have no answers for these problems.

All they can do is attempt to arouse hysteria by focusing the debate on symbolic issues.

However, if the Left and the media continue their hysteria, fanaticism, and attacks on America, it could pose a serious threat to our nation and our future.

It is time the rest of us defended America as aggressively as the Left attacks it.

Friday, August 18, 2017

It Doesn't Matter What Republicans Do or Say; The Left and the Press Will Call Them Racist Anyway

Twice a day, even a broken clock is right.

Does that mean that when a broken clock constantly crying Racism Racism Racism is, or may have been, correct in Charlottesville, Donald Trump, as well as all other Republicans and conservatives, should praise the clock for being a masterfully constructed piece of machinery and for unfailingly telling the time correctly?

For the past 10 years or so, the members of one of the most decent and civil groups ever formed in America, and indeed in the world, was called every kind of vile name, from dirt-bags to tea baggers, with the most common being despicable racists.

All the members of the Tea Party wanted was less government, less taxes, and less bureaucrats. There was never never any threats or name-calling, never any violence at any of their gatherings, no one was ever attacked, and often they left the place of demonstration cleaner than when they found it.

When I mentioned on a French television show that I sympathized with the Tea Party, the facial reaction of the interviewer was such — Michel Field's face twitched visibly — that you would have thought that I had bragged that I was a proud card-carrying member of the Nazi Party or the Ku Klux Klan.

Do you remember what was the single very best message on a Tea Party sign?
It doesn't matter what this sign says, the press will call it racist anyway
Remember Hillary Clinton railing against the racists, the sexists, the homophobic, the xenophobic, the Islamaphobic, in short the irredeemable, those in the basket of deplorables?

That's not just Hillary Clinton.

It turns out that that is the leftists' default position.

As well as that of the press.

Their default position is to assume everyone is a deplorable, and they have been comparing every GOP politician to Hitler since — well, since the World War II era itself (as Ed Driscoll has discovered).
Related: • The Confederate Flag — Another Brick in the Leftwing Activists' (Self-Serving) Demonization of America and Rewriting of History
American Slavery and Abolitionism in the Context of World History
• What Caused Secession and Ergo the Civil War? Was It Slavery and/or States' Rights? Or Wasn't It Rather Something Else — the Election of a Ghastly Republican to the White House?
Should Trump have denounced the white supremacists in Charlottesville more forcefully or, earlier, by name?

It doesn't matter. He would have been called a racist whatever he said or did not say.

Moreover, isn't the truth that the left did not, does not, want the president of the United States (whatever his party, whatever the color of the skin) to denounce an extremist party?

What it wanted, wants, was a Republican to make amends for an alleged part of the GOP, thereby "acknowledging," in so many words, that the neo-Nazis, KKK members, were not only a main part of their coalition but that they show the true colors of all its members.

This is why you have to ask why Republicans, from Marco Rubio to Mitt Romney, are jumping in in support of leftists against Donald Trump in this matter.

First, whatever Republicans do or say, they will be called racists anyway.

Second, it is all a smokescreen by the drama queens to create melodrama and crises where (usually) none is warranted, focusing the news on the nefarious Republicans while taking it away from the cuddly Democrats (cozy Reset relations with the Kremlin for decades, election tampering, various instances of the DNC's misdeeds and malfeasance, etc etc etc)

Calling their opponents, and members of the population, names is the default position of the Left — wherever on Earth it operates.

The general population is degenerate, vile, and despicable, it must be shamed, it must be humiliated, it must be taught how to think, it must be nannied, it must be controlled. (This is why leftists think it is perfectly OK to lie to the population, whether about the doctor you most assuredly can keep or about the guns they have no intention of grabbing or about the — "flexible" — foreign affairs favoring a Russia or an Iran.)

So it is not inappropriate to remember what caused the whole Charlottesville event to degenerate: police was told to stand down, by the city's (Democratic) mayor — except in one single case. They were told to herd the White Supremacists through the crowd of antifa protesters railing against them, thus creating a melodramatic crisis.

Robert Shibley of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) in USA Today:
State, local, and even college campus leadership appear to be telling police to stand by while some degree of unlawful violence takes place right before their eyes. Yet when that violence predictably spirals out of control, the authorities profess their inability to have done anything to stop it. Meanwhile, those inclined to violence are emboldened, secure in the knowledge that the publicity payoff is high and the odds of punishment low.

 … [Like the conspicuous lack of police involvement at the University of California, Berkeley], CNN reported that in Charlottesville, “both sides agree that one group didn't do enough to prevent the violence as the crowds grew and tensions flared: the police.” The organizer of the “Unite the Right” rally complained that “police purposefully created the catastrophe that led to a melee in the streets of Charlottesville,” while a Black Lives Matter leader attending the counter-protest remarked, “It's almost as if they wanted us to fight each other.”

 … There is one group of people who have so far consistently benefitted when political violence has been allowed to take place: the politicians who lead our localities and the de facto politicians who run our campuses. They avoid the political fallout from images of police confronting violent protesters (who may also be their supporters), they get to blame whichever side they like less for causing the violence, and [they] get to pretend to fulfill their responsibility to keep people “safe” by making it harder for controversial viewpoints to be expressed.
Likewise, these crises and the melodramatic fairy tales, such as those about the never-ending dialogue on race, allow the nation-wide Democratic Party to avoid questions regarding far more pressing matters, such as — as seen above — cozy Reset relations with the Kremlin for decades, election tampering, various instances of the DNC's misdeeds and malfeasance, etc etc etc…

What is galling is the hypocrisy. As I have asked before:

What is it about double standards that they do not teach at the Columbia School of Journalism?

When a Bernie Sanders supporter opened fire on Republican congressmen playing baseball, it was perfectly alright for leftist politicians to make general comments about extremist speech on both sides of the aisle.

When a Black Lives Matter supporter opened fire on Dallas policemen, killing five of them, the responsibility was not attributed to a member of the leftist, Democrat-supporting organization (not to mention the entire movement itself), but — in a speech by none other than Barack Obama — to “powerful weapons.”

Scott Greer:
no demands for the Obama administration to condemn these actions — quite unlike how Trump is browbeaten to do so any whiff of extremism from the Right.
Certainly, for eight years, Obama was neither blamed for any violence nor asked to condemn anyone at all — much less apologize to the nation — even when, as commander-in-chief, the man in charge of the military was responsible (the buck stops here?) for sending the armed forces to the defense of civil servants fighting Islamists in a Libyan town for 13 hours without so much as a single combat helicopter or fighting plane taking off to head in their direction.

Speaking of which: and then there is the whole Islamic terrorist attack reports (both in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world) — also known in the press as the "the motives remain mysterious" department — where the final lesson is invariably: "we must not generalize" and "we must not blame Islam for the attacks."

But with Americans, and with people in the West, there we must generalize and there we must assign blame. For the simple reason, that the whole point is to shame the population into continuing our acceptance of our more-compassionate/intelligent/tolerant-than-thou overlords as our/their masters.

Indeed, if anyone is nostalgic for Nazism, writes Roger Simon, it is the Left:
The Antifa movement, in the forefront of that nauseating sympathy for Islamism, is far more prevalent and dangerous in U.S. society than those few pathetic remaining losers in the KKK and similar neo-Nazi groups.  The Antifa thugs are seemingly everywhere, smashing windows and making life Hell for weak-willed university administrators across the country.

Nevertheless, overwhelmed by this nostalgia that is, in truth, a masquerade for fear of a gruesome reality, the almost non-existent neo-Nazis are the boogeymen of the hour in the eyes of our friends on the left.  Again, what a convenience, because dealing with what happened in Barcelona is surpassingly difficult.  It isn't because of neo-Nazis or the KKK that it's been decades since any of us has walked onto an airplane or entered a concert or museum without being examined or x-rayed, that our daily lives have not been the same.  A vicious ideological war is obviously being waged against the West and its liberties with its end nowhere near in sight.  As ISIS wrote of the Spanish terror, "We will recover our land from the invaders." Like the Nazis of old, they mean it.
As it happens, the view that the white supremacists and the antifa thugs are opposing forces may turn out to be fiction. James Robbins points out in USA Today that
During the Weimar Republic period in Germany, Nazis and Communists fought in the streets, yet both regarded the established order as their enemy. Hence the Weimar-era adage that a Nazi was like a beefsteak, brown on the outside and red on the inside.

 …  Today’s right and left wing violent radicals are from the same mold. … Everyone understands that the neo-Nazi and KKK groups are composed of violent extremists. The apparent blind spot is with the anarchist/socialist far left, which is puzzling given recent history.
… The proper response is not to condemn one group of radicals over another but to see all of them as a direct threat to constitutional government. The real contest is between the vast, law-abiding majority of democratic citizens and these small groups of twisted violent losers parading in the streets with weapons, wearing masks, throwing cement-filled soda cans. Take your pick, you can have the extremists or you can have the Constitution, you can’t have both.
The Declination blog puts it in a different matter, assigning blame as to who represents the greater danger:
Donald Trump’s position is that both are hate groups, and both are quick to resort to violence to further their political goals, and that putting them together like that was surely going to stir up violence.

Personally, I think Trump is somewhat understating the case. White supremacists are exceedingly rare, even if they’ve received a shot in the arm from SJWs harping on white people all the time (hint: that tends to manufacture more supremacists, not less). What happened in Virginia may very well represent peak white supremacism, the very most such groups are capable of. Antifa and militant Marxists, meanwhile, enjoy far greater support from media, financiers (oh, the irony), and society-at-large. Antifa dwarfs Klansman and Neo-Nazis. Militant Marxists are, by far, the greater threat currently.

But that being said, Trump did put his finger on the central point: both groups espouse violent ideologies that are incompatible with freedom.

[But it] is easy to denounce white supremacists, who probably represent less than a tenth of a percent of the population.
But it would seem that even that may be misleading as, it turns out, Donald Sensing reminds us (with Adolf Hitler quotes galore), Nazism's roots lie in Marxism:
What we really saw in Charlottesville was two far-left groups having at each other because neither will countenance a competitor.

Yes, some of the demonstrators carried Nazi flags, just as some of the counter-demos carried hammer-and-sickle Soviet flags. In fact, those flags are almost interchangeable. Everyone knows and acknowledges that Soviet Communism was based on Marxism, hence Marxism and its spawn today are "Left," but everyone also apparently thinks that Fascism and Nazism apparently just sprang up out of thin air with no relation to political theories and contexts that came before, and that Fascism and Nazism were and are "Right."

Untrue. Both Fascism and Nazism were founded on Marxist theory and belonged firmly on the Left side of the spectrum, according to their founders.
Read the whole thing™. See also: Fascism then is that system that maintains the facade of private property, but what you end up having is this bizarre marriage of business and state

Kevin Williamson brings it back to the point of view of the Liberals and the Democrats:
The current attack on Confederate monuments is only another front in the Left’s endless kulturkampf. The Left is committed to always being on the offense in the culture wars, and, with Donald Trump and his white-resentment politics installed in the White House and Republicans lined up queasily behind him, the choice of going after Confederate totems is clever. It brings out the kooks and the cranks, and some respectable conservatives feel obliged to defend them. Getting Republicans to relitigate the Civil War is a great victory for the Democrats, who were, after all, on the wrong side of it as a matter of historical fact.

 … We should not, in any case, accept the fiction that what is transpiring at the moment is a moral crusade rather than political opportunism.
 … those monuments … were not always put up for good reasons, but the conquering North indulged Southern jealousy of Southern honor for a pretty good reason: the desire for peace. The Civil War had been brutal, and the South was — this part of the story is not as widely understood as it should be — desperately poor, and remained essentially a Third World country within the United States until the post-war era. No sense poking them for no good reason.
 … National panics over Confederate revanchism, like New York Times crusades against homelessness, tend to coincide with Republican presidencies. That is not coincidence.
The war on statuary serves two purposes: The first is to humiliate Southerners in retribution for their support of Republican politicians and conservative causes, particularly religious and social causes. The second is to help Democrats win elections without white men. … Keeping non-whites in a state of panic and agitation is necessary to Democrats’ political aspirations.
By the way, isn't there one thing that we can thank the Left and the antifa thugs for? For helping to explain why the Founding Fathers insisted on the Second Amendment…

Kevin Williamson, again:
The Democrats’ motives here are tawdry and self-serving, for the most part. As cheap and silly as Southern sentimentality can be, the desire to reduce and humiliate one’s fellow citizens is distasteful. We would all do better to take Abraham Lincoln’s advice: “We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies.” Friends overlook one another’s little vices.
Update — by Newt Gingrich: History is More Important Than Hysteria

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Adieu, l'Ami — Un Homage à "Gonzague Sans Bruit"

In the wake of the tragic death of Gonzague Saint Bris, we publish an homage to Gonzague Sans Bruit (obrigado, Olga T), along with two more pictures from the writer's 8th arrondissement apartment.


Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Good-Bye, Friend: Writer Gonzague Saint Bris Dies in Car Accident


Gonzague Saint Bris was killed in a car accident on the night from Monday to Tuesday, as reported by Le Monde, Le Figaro, and Le Point.

Because the writer and journalist had authored a couple of books on the life of Leonardo da Vinci — one of his family's properties was the Clos Lucé château where the Italian inventor spent the last years of his life — he was featured as a character in the second volume of the uchronic graphic novel General Leonardo by Erik Svane and Dan Greenberg (Croisade vers la Terre Sainte).
Le Figaro:
Gonzague Saint Bris est décédé cette nuit dans un accident de voiture, dans le Calvados. … Gonzague Saint Bris est l’auteur d'une cinquantaine d'ouvrages, essentiellement des romans historiques et des biographies. Il avait remporté en 2002 le prix Interallié pour Les Vieillards de Brighton. Il a notamment écrit pour Le Figaro et Paris Match.

Des incertitudes sur la tenue de son festival La forêt des livres

Gonzague Saint-Bris était avec sa famille le propriétaire du château du Clos Lucé, à Amboise, où est mort Leonard de Vinci. Il est aussi le créateur de La Forêt des livres, festival littéraire qui se tient près de Loches, sa ville natale, en Indre-et-Loire.
Le Monde:
Emmanuel Macron a rendu hommage à cet historien, romancier, essayiste et journaliste, saluant un homme qui « n’a eu de cesse de mettre en lumière la singularité et le génie de notre pays ».
« Gonzague Saint Bris était à la fois un passionné et un passeur. Passionné, il l’était de la France, de son histoire, de sa géographie et de son patrimoine, de ses grands hommes et de sa littérature ».
Gonzague Saint Bris admitted to being quite proud to be featured in the graphic novel of Erik Svane, who lived less than 500 meters away and who was an occasional visitor to his spectacular 8th arrondissement apartment (once with his cat), whose walls were filled with photos.

Update: An homage to Gonzague Sans Bruit


Thursday, July 27, 2017

Alexis de Tocqueville on Free Health Care

A meme on Facebook by The Other 98% reads:
What the fuck is wrong with Americans who aren't on board with free healthcare[?]  I'm Canadian and I don't care that I pay taxes so a little boy in Alberta can have open heart surgery, or an elderly man in Nova Scotia can get the heart medication that he desperately needs. It's called taking care of your people. I'm glad I pay so that people can have a good quality of life.  It's called being a decent fucking human being.
That all sounds good and straightforward, except for some overlooked questions:

First and foremost, we appreciate the anger (What the fuck, fucking) in the message, designed to make all people who don't agree with you feel ashamed and shut up. Having said that, let us proceed:

• Should the United States and Canada (plus Australia?) offer health care or should the individual states and provinces (Texas, Massachusets, Alberta, Nova Scotia) do so — if not the individual counties or townships?

• Take Europe, which is always being dragged out for comparison: Isn't it true that there is no EU health care (or EU education department, for that matter) to speak of, that that is a matter (those are matters) to be handled by the individual member nations?

 • What is the underlying message of this meme (and of the left's raison d'être)? Isn't it that, without the presence of the state, without the presence of its politicians, and without the presence of its bureaucrats, the citizens are too dumb, too poor, too victimized, or, conversely, too evil and too greedy to take care of each other and survive?

 • What, then, is the underlying message if not that people (of whatever country) are children — poor innocent victims to be protected or spoiled brats to be punished?

So what are people (Americans, Canadians, Australians, Europeans)?
Are they children or are they grown-up citizens
who can be counted on to take care of their neighbors
— without prodding from their betters (i.e., from 
their politicians and from their bureaucrats)?

In the 1830s, Alexis de Tocqueville said that the more local a government is, the more appropriate the solutions it engenders for the (limited number of) citizens it is concerned with:
Every central government worships uniformity: uniformity relieves it from inquiry into an infinity of details. … After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will, the government then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small, complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence: it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd. …

 … In the American townships power has been distributed with admirable skill, for the purpose of interesting the greatest possible number of persons in the common weal. … The existence of the townships … is, in general, a happy one. Their government is suited to their tastes, and chosen by themselves. In the midst of the profound peace and general comfort that reign in America, the commotions of municipal life are infrequent. The conduct of local business is easy. … NOTHING is more striking to a European traveler in the United States than the absence of what we term the [central] government, or the administration.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Why anyone would care about the opinions of a basket of deplorables is beyond me; Clearly, the Huffpost's “Listen to America Tour” never would have happened had Hillary Clinton been elected

Give the mainstream media points for trying, notes Benny Huang — with perhaps a soupçon of sarcasm.
[The Huffington Post] announced last week that it will send a team of journalists on a tour of middle America to “hear concerns from across the nation.” They’re calling it their “Listen to America Tour.” I’ll give them points for trying.

The tour, which will stop in 22 states over a period of seven weeks, is intended to discover “what we share as Americans, rather than what divides us.” The route largely avoids the coasts though it does veer into North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Georgia. Heavily represented are southern, midwestern, and Rocky Mountain states.

Wow. Just wow.

Conservatives like to complain that the media are too elitist and too focused on a few coastal metropolises.

 … Editor-in-chief Lydia Polgreen strongly hinted that the purpose of the project is to meet and engage with Trump voters in order to learn what makes them tick. “For journalists, listening is more important than ever,” she wrote.
“Why? First, trust in the news media is at an all-time low. We want to address that head-on, and build trust in the work we do, by visiting communities that are largely ignored by national media. We’ll listen to what’s most important to them, and help tell those stories to the vast HuffPost audience. Second, political divisions between us seem starker than ever. But at HuffPost, we believe there’s still so much that unites us as citizens.”
Clearly, the “Listen to America Tour” never would have happened if Hillary Clinton had been elected last November. This is Huffpost’s attempt at striking a conciliatory tone with a lot of people who feel alienated by the mainstream media. It’s as if they’re saying, “We hear you, flyover country.”

And that’s a good thing…right?

Sure it is. Yet I can’t imagine this particular leopard changing its spots. We’re talking about a media organization that, in the heat of a presidential campaign, added an editor’s note to the end of all of its Trump-related stories reading:
“Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.”
That was 2016. In 2017, Huffpost’s editor-in-chief wants her reporters to meet Trump’s base and to listen to their concerns. Why anyone would care about the opinions of a basket of deplorables is beyond me but perhaps Polgreen is sincere. After all, she has only been editor-in-chief since the grande dame Arianna Huffington stepped down in December. She’s even said that she wants to win over the Trump crowd. Could it be true?

I have my doubts. I can’t see Huffpost finding the pulse of non-coastal America because it has done such a poor job of it in the past. It’s not as if Huffpost and other big media outlets don’t write stories about flyover country. Sometimes they do, though it’s usually to ridicule, to wrinkle their noses at red state backwardness, or to stare with gaping mouths at things that strike them as weird.

 … This is Huffpost after all, and its editor-in-chief Lydia Polgreen is a lesbian with closely cropped hair who wears ties and button-down shirts. Judging by Huffpost’s content, I’d say that she’s basically a homosexual activist masquerading as a journalist, much like CNN’s Don Lemon or the Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart.

… There will be more of these stories. I predict with a high degree of certainty that Huffpost’s planned bus tour will swoop into towns across America and seek out people to give voice to the narratives that the reporters themselves have already written in their minds. That’s not “listening.” In fact, it’s kind of the opposite of listening. It’s lecturing. Oh sure, they’ll find locals to speak for them. A little downhome twang gives a story a lot of authenticity.

 … I think we can expect a number of what I call “It’s hard being X in Y” stories—that is, stories about members of allegedly marginalized groups who have suffered the misfortune of finding themselves in places that don’t fully accept them.

 … These stories are ubiquitous in the media, so common in fact that they’ve become formulaic—it’s hard being “gay” in the Utah, it’s hard being an atheist in the Bible Belt, it’s hard being a broadminded liberal in a narrowminded small town, etc. I keep waiting for stories about evangelical Christians facing prejudice in Boston or Trump supporters being physically attacked in California but mainstream reporters never seem interested in those. These “It’s hard being X in Y” stories serve as recurring reminders of who ranks where on the victim hierarchy. Some groups—Christians, white people, conservatives—don’t rank anywhere. They aren’t allowed to.

 … Truth be told, I don’t really want Huffpost telling stories from middle America; not if they’re going to filter them through their own biases. If they’re just going to blow into town long enough to shame a local church for its teaching on homosexuality, to support and defend lawbreaking illegal aliens, or to poke fun at people who don’t believe in Darwinian evolution, I would prefer that they just stay home. And no, it doesn’t matter if they throw in a few stories about out-of-work coal miners to give the appearance of balance.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

European nations treat their people like sheep; the USA treats its people more like goats, although the would-be shepherds keep pushing

Kate Paulk explains The Difference Between Citizens And Subjects (obrigado per Sarah Hoyt):
It’s the little things like this that point to the mindset under them. Or as Pratchett memorably put it in Small Gods: “Sheep are stupid and have to be driven. But goats are intelligent, and need to be led.” European nations treat their people like sheep. The USA treats its people more like goats, although the would-be shepherds keep pushing. Pratchett did not add that trying to drive goats will often earn the would-be driver a kick in the nadgers, but it’s worth remembering. Because Americans are goats. We can be led by the right people for the right reasons. Try to drive us, and you will find your family jewels suffering.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

What the free market solution encourages between employers and employees is trust, cooperation, and mutual accountability


Stop me if you’ve heard this one before
writes Carine Martinez-Gouhier.
Texas makes everybody better off by reducing government intervention in their lives. Because of this success, other states emulate the Lone Star state. Then proponents of big government in Washington, D.C. get nervous and start attacking Texans as impractical ideologues that don’t care about workers, the poor, or people in general.

 … [And yet] the benefits of Texas’ approach are undeniable. The solution encourages trust, cooperation, and mutual accountability between employers and employees. Employers that choose to offer a private benefit plan are not relieved from their liability for possible negligence as they would be under the state system. The exposure creates an incentive for the employer to proactively make the workplace safer to prevent as many work-related injuries or illnesses as possible. In exchange, employees are often expected to quickly report injuries so that medical care can start early, as well as facilitate employees’ recoveries and timely returns to work. 

 … The more businesses can compete for employees, the more workers benefit.

Of course, employers benefit too. When employers are free to shop for benefit plans, insurance companies have to compete for employers’ business, which tends to drive prices down. Insurance companies can also offer solutions tailored to an employer’s specific activity, instead of offering an expensive one-size-fits-all solution. Lower costs mean employers can focus on better care for injured workers too and also provide a strong incentive for them to keep workers away from harm. Overall, employers and employees interact far more in nonsubscription than in the state system.
Carine Martinez-Gouhier is a policy analyst and the managing editor of the Center for Economic Freedom at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

What the Two Rules of Modern Journalism Seem to Be These Days

    In the New York Times, Joshua Green complains about the (alleged) fact that No One Cares About Russia in the World Breitbart Made (thanks to Instapundit):
Look to the right now and you’re apt to find an alternative reality in which the same set of facts is rearranged to compose an entirely different narrative.

… There have been mileposts along the way: the populist revolt on the right that killed bipartisan immigration reform in 2013, the toppling of House Speaker John Boehner in 2015. And, of course, the rise of Mr. Trump, whose attacks on the mainstream media have conditioned his supporters to dismiss as “fake news” any reporting that is critical of him or his administration — Mr. Trump has even criticized the coverage of his son’s Russia liaison, where the basic facts aren’t in dispute, as coming from the “fake media.”

 … One reason that an alternative view of reality has taken such deep root among Republicans is that they seem to be focusing more on the broader culture. … If you’re not a Republican, watching Republicans react to the news can feel a bit like witnessing a mass hallucination. Even more so when some emissary from the alternate Republican universe like Kellyanne Conway teleports onto CNN or another mainstream outlet to state her case.
    What test will it take, asks the author of the forthcoming “Devil’s Bargain” (Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency), in order to measure "just what it takes to snap out of a mass hallucination"?

    In response to Joshua Green's column bemoaning Republicans' "mass hallucination" ("No One Cares About Russia in the World Breitbart Made," July 15, aka The World Through Breitbart-Vision, July 16), I have a few questions:

    If the New York Times is concerned about American statesmen colluding with, and being stooges for, the Russians, why did you not raise an uproar about the U.S. president who whispered to the Russian leader that he would have "more flexibility" toward Moscow after the next election?

    If you are concerned with American politicians who sell out national security for money, how about the secretary of state involved in a uranium deal with the Kremlin, after which the pol's spouse and/or foundation became the recipients of hundreds of thousands of rubles?

    If you are concerned with elected officials creating shady back channels to foreign countries (indeed, to adversaries), how about the time the White House gave not $1.7 million, not $170 million, but $1.7 billion (all or most of it in cash) to the ayatollahs of a country of terrorism supporters who regularly whip up rallies with shouts of "Death to America"?

    What accounts for the difference?

    Isn't it that Trump and the Bushes et al are rightists and Republicans — who therefore must be demonized and countered at every step of the way — while the likes of Barack Obama and the Clintons are leftists and Democrats, who, as demi-Gods, are unworthy of investigations and, indeed, hardly any negative coverage whatsoever?

    Unless Republicans are hallucinating, the two rules for modern journalism seem to be:

    Rule 1:  The words and deeds of politicians, leaders, and the powerful must be duly met with skepticism, put into doubt, fact-checked, countered, and opposed.

    Rule 2:  Rule 1 only applies to people on the right and to Republicans.

    (With Democrats, the attitude seems to be more in the vein of "Kindly tell us your glorious plans for fundamentally transforming the United States of America and taking our country to a radiant new future.")

    My final question to you is: 

    What is it about double standards that they do not teach at the Columbia School of Journalism?

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Some Thoughts on American Patriotism…


Some Thoughts on American Patriotism…
 …/… Following 911, I expected French friends and acquaintances of mine who came back from visits to the U.S. to return with some sense of respect or admiration. Don't kid yourselves! Many shared the same tone of exasperation and disbelief in their voices: How can one be so patriotic (that is, so superstitious)?

It was a rhetorical question, and some were surprised that I answered it. My answer was that I didn't know what they are talking about. What happens when one goes to the United States? One sees a lot of flags and… That's about it. Ain't that right? One does not see hysterical demonstrations walking down the avenues. One does not see signs reading "Down with the Taliban" or "Death to Iraq". One does not hear the "cowboys" shout "Vive la guerre!" I have not seen many Americans set fire to Iraqi or Afghan (or Vietnamese) flags. I don't remember seeing any throw tomatoes or molotov cocktails on the Soviet or Chinese embassies.

 …/… We have seen many a time on this weblog that by simply doing a little digging, it appears that so-called humanistic activists (whether in the shape of intellectuals, groups, national leaders, or countries) are not as neutral, idealistic, and lucid as they seem to believe themselves, but present many an inconsistency, often more than the Americans they criticize. Thus it is with patriotism as well. In contrast to the irony expressed when dealing with American patriotism (and that of other Western countries), they seem often to lose all their marbles when confronted with the national pride of developing countries. They can only marvel when third-world countries (or, rather, their unelected leaders) evoke "national aspirations" and the construction and the future of their nations.

In the aftermath of 911, then, Americans unfurled the Stars and Stripes, voiced their support for the acting president, and pulled up their sleeves to go to work. Insofar as this character trait is supposed to provoke ridicule, I find it rather solemn and low key. And there is nothing new about this. In fact, the journalist Arthur Higbee, a Pacific War veteran, wrote in the International Herald Tribune that after Pearl Harbour, America's attitude was even more low key.
Very few people hung out flags, and nobody wore a flag lapelpin. No flag-waving was needed. The tone of the nation was one of grim determination. Recruiting offices were overflowing.
"Grim determination": there is a better description of patriotic America, today and in the past, than Dana Burde's pacifist caricature which was praised by Le Monde ("the loud cries demanding war and vengeance, combined with media censorship, have almost drowned out the few voices of the left" [the only voices filled with reason and understanding, of course, you realize]) — a caricature which has been eagerly repeated day in and day out in the French media, in the European media, and in the Arab media for years.

But it is not only in wartime that American patriotism is low-key. While many countries favor solemn military parades on their national holidays, or at least a predominant role for the military, the Fourth of July is, above all things, a party. Oh, of course there is the flag ceremony, with a handful of military people present from each service — army, navy, air force, marines — but it's above all a party, with barbecueing (hotdogs, burgers, spare ribs, etc), games, and fireworks.

And if the military — and veterans — have a special place at the festivities, whether on July Fourth or other holidays, they are only a piece of the puzzle which also includes bands, pompon girls, floats, ethnic pride groups, cowboys, Indians, and clowns — I've seen a parade where the marching soldiers were preceded, followed, and surrounded by dozens of clowns. (Try that on the Champs-Élysées, in Red Square, on at Tien An Men!)

As I write this — 4 juillet oblige — I am listening to the Jingle Cats sing The Star-Spangled Banner and Yankee Doodle Dandy. For some reason, I have trouble imagining a lucid Frenchman, a down-to-earth Russian, or a wise Chinese person setting their national anthems to cats' meows. Non, their wailing takes other, less enjoyable, directions.

Wailing Europeans and other Uncle Sam detractors ought to make sure they keep their droning continuous and never-ending. Because, if instead of endlessly lamenting the distressing state of Americans' patriotism, they were to shut up and try and study it a little more closely and a little more rationally, they might come to believe that Yankee patriotism is not so mystical, or frightening, or perilous, as is commonly believed. Then they would have less to wail about. Can you imagine that!? Wouldn't that be awful?!

As for me, for some reason, I prefer the laughter and the joy of the American spirit.

Happy Fourth of July, everybody!
Read the whole thing

Monday, July 03, 2017

Conservatives don’t oppose a government-dominated health system because we are heartless; This fight isn’t about having the cheapest health care, but the best


We will soon have to decide if we want a market oriented health care system, or a government dominated system
writes Darrick Johnson as the Resurgent contributor (who likes — a minimum — three spaces between sentences) tackles The Cruel Hopelessness Of “Single Payer”.
In the current debate over the Affordable Care Act, we really are in the midst of a great proxy war over single payer health care.   Sure, its not on the table with this Congress, and Obamacare, while a bureaucratic monstrosity, isn’t single payer.   But the debate surrounding GOP efforts to repeal, or at least reform the law is really a precursor to a national debate over single payer.

Regardless of the fate of the GOP pseudo-repeal bill, we are at a crossroads.  Obamacare is collapsing.   It was never intended to be permanent.  It was always a compromise, a bridge to complete, government sponsored, single payer health care.  We will soon have to decide if we want a market oriented health care system, or a government dominated system.

Every left-wing opinion piece on health care starts with the premise that medicine shouldn’t cost anything, and anytime it does, it’s a evidence of a failed system.  They point to Canada, the UK, and European states where the socialist dreams of medicine are, we are told, coming true.  Obamacare’s failures, they say, should drive us closer to “single payer”, not farther away.

 … Let’s look at two hypothetical examples, one, representing a worst-case scenario for free market health care, and one, representing a worst-case scenario for socialized medicine.
Read the differences between the Jones family and the Smith family, and see how it relates to the very real nightmare of the Gard family in the UK.
No system will be perfect.  Health care is vitally important to each of us, therefore it will be expensive; it is the definition of inelastic demand.    We don’t all have the financial ability to pay for what we might need, be it through insurance, or our own money.    But if faced with the choice of two terrible scenarios, – the Smith family’s hopeless “free” health care, the Gard family’s real life nightmare, or the Jones family’s expensive, but attainable care, wouldn’t you rather be the Jones family?   At least they can fight.  At least they can try.  At least there is hope.

Conservatives don’t oppose single payer because we are heartless.   This fight isn’t mainly about tax rates, or deficits, though single payer is catastrophic for both.   It’s about having not the cheapest health care, but the best.    So that when you need a hospital bed, the market makes sure you don’t have to wait until it’s too late.  So that when you have a rare disease, there is hope that the market found it worthwhile to develop a treatment.   That might mean that when you have medical issues, money is a worry.   You get scary bills.   But you have hope.   If the treatment is available, but the money is not, that can be fixed.   If the health care is free, but the government doesn’t permit you to receive it…well, that’s a cruelty we don’t want to see replicated in the United States.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Twitter Blocked by a Washington Post Journalist re the Left's Cultural Bullying Atmosphere: Badge of Honor?


While reading Mary Katharine Ham's take on how the Aftermath Of Alexandria Shooting Showed The Left’s Cultural Bullying At Its Worst, we tried to access the following hyperlink:
 … in the wake of Handel’s solid win, which snatched the #Resistance’s longed-for victory, Washington Post writer Dave Weigel scolded Republicans for “dunking” on Democrats despite everyone’s one-day indulgence of “come together” rhetoric, as if four hours of praise-hands emoji and super-hot memes on Twitter is part of the “climate of hate.”
It turns out No Pasarán has been blocked.

Blocked on Twitter by Dave Weigel. Echoing Tyler O'Neil, we get more from Mary Katharine Ham:
Rep. Mo Brooks faced the question about his Second Amendment views just minutes after someone literally tried to murder him. Can we take a moment to think about how utterly crass this is? Imagine an abortion bomber blowing up a Planned Parenthood grand opening in Washington DC, injuring members of Congress in attendance. Then imagine most national news coverage including this question for their colleagues who escaped maiming: “Shouldn’t you probably consider changing your views on abortion? Maybe pass some common-sense limits on it?”

… Less than 48 hours after a multiple assassination attempt on members of Congress, there were no media vans or cameras at the Alexandria baseball field where it occurred. Just for perspective, when Republican staffer Elizabeth Lauten committed the offense of writing something critical of President Obama’s daughters on her private Facebook page, news cameras were camped on her parents’ lawn staking her out for the better part of a week.

When the press was covering the shooting, it was mostly a gauzy, imprecise discussion of how “rhetoric” might have caused it, which means we’re in the business of determining whose rhetoric to stifle to prevent further violence. Wouldn’t you know it? The answer was… Donald Trump’s rhetoric, which has the magical power to compel a Bernie volunteer to shoot a long-time Trump-supporting Republican.

… My, how quickly we move in the news cycle from Republicans literally shot to Republican overreach about Republicans being literally shot.

… What perverse standards. A Republican congressman is fighting for his life in a hospital thanks to a partisan attacker, but let’s examine on national TV several times over how he kind of had it coming because of his politics.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

"Out With Jesus": During His 12 Years in Power, Hitler Tried to Ban the Tradition of Christmas


Jesus being a Jew, Adolf Hitler did not want his master race to continue celebrating his birthday, and consequently, the Führer spent his 12 years in the chancellery trying to transform the Christmas holiday into a Nazi-themed celebration devoted to the Aryan race and old Germanic traditions.  Thus writes Emrah Sütcü in the Danish monthly, Historie, putting the lie to the fact that Hitler and the Nazis had in any way a connection to the Christian religion.

Related: • Worshipping Little Else But the Aryan Race, Hitler Abhorred the Christian Faith and Wanted to Replace Christmas with the Pagans' Yuletide

 • 卐mas Caroling: The Extremes Hitler Wanted to Go To in Order to Replace Christianity with the "Religion" of National Socialism

How Hitler's Nazi propaganda machine tried to take Christ out of Christmas

Adolf Hitler in Religious Surroundings: Is There Really Evidence That the Führer Was a Christian? — an in-depth, dispassionate look at the evidence brought by a couple of commentators claiming that Christianity was an integral part of Nazism…







Hitler ville stjæle julen fra Jesus

Nazisterne hadede julen. Derfor forsøgte de med alle midler at forvandle den kristne højtid til en fejring af den ariske race.


Julen skulle fejre arierne

Jesus var jøde. Og en fejring af hans fødselsdag var ikke noget for det tyske herrefolk, mente Adolf Hitler.

I perioden fra 1933, hvor han kom til magten i Tyskland, til 2. verdenskrigs afslutning i 1945 kæmpede Hitlers topfolk indædt for at forvandle den populære kristne helligdag til en nazistisk højtid, som fejrede den ariske race og de oldgermanske traditioner.

Julefred er kun for tyskerne

Først og fremmeset havde nazisterne det svært med julens forsonende budskab om fred på Jorden. Den stemte dårligt overens med ambitionerne om at erobre resten af Europa.
I en artikel fra 1937 understreger Hannes Kremer, et ledende medlem af Hitlers propagandaministerium, at tyskerne bør afvise julen som "en højtid for en teoretisk fred for hele menneskeheden".

I stedet bør være en "højtid for reel hjemmelig og national fred" og altså kun handle om at sikre fred for tyskerne.
En fred, som tilsyneladende kun kunne sikres ved at udrydde nationens fjender i form af bl.a. jøder, kommunister og homoseksuelle.

"Ud med Jesus"

Næste skridt var at køre den jødiske Jesus ud på et sidespor. Til alt held for nazisterne havde tyskerne, længe inden de blev kristne, fejret vintersolhverv omkring juletid.
 …

Himmler omskrev julesalmer

Julesange og salmer, der nævnte Jesus, blev omskrevet, så de i stedet hyldede nationalsocialismen. Blandt sangskribenterne var ingen ringere end SS-chefen Heinrich Himmler.

 …

Hagekorset skulle op på juletræet

Juletræet havde nazisterne ikke noget problem med, for det har faktisk rødder i hedenske, germanske traditioner. Til gengæld var Hitler ikke glad for den stjerne, som blev placeret på toppen af træet.
I stedet for stjernen - som enten kunne symbolisere den jødiske Davidsstjerne eller kommunismens røde stjerne - skulle tyskerne sætte enten et hagekors, et germansk solhjul eller en oldnordisk rune øverst på juletræet, mente nazisterne.

Julepynt fra Nazityskland, som er blevet bevaret for eftertiden, inkluderer bl.a. kugler med slagord som fx "Sieg Heil" og symboler som bl.a. hagekors, jernkors og ørne.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Gerrymandering, like most things that Democrats complain about, is something that they invented, popularized, and insisted upon for years before deciding that it’s an affront to dignity and civil rights


Jon Ossoff’s multi-million dollar loss in Georgia’s recent special election has been blamed on a lot of factors besides the lousy candidate
notes Benny Huang on the Constitution website.
Ossoff himself blamed “unchecked anonymous money.” Pundit Rachel Maddow blamed the weather. DNC chairman Tom Perez blamed gerrymandering, calling Georgia’s sixth congressional “beet red” before adding “That was Newt Gingrich’s old seat, heavily gerrymandered by Georgia.”

Oh, puh-leeze. There are a lot of ridiculously shaped, blatantly skewed districts in this country but Georgia’s sixth is not one of them. Its outline is not particularly remarkable and its demographics “look like America” which is something I thought liberals liked. The district is 71% white, 14% black and 13% Hispanic. Party registration favors the Republicans by nine points which is not insurmountable nor is it prima facie evidence of gerrymandering. The reason that liberal Democrats have been losing this district with regularity is because their policies have so thoroughly alienated the white middle class. To blame Ossoff’s loss on gerrymandering is sour grapes, nothing more.

Gerrymandering, like most things that Democrats complain about, is something that they invented, popularized, and insisted upon for years before deciding that it’s an affront to dignity and civil rights. The very word “gerrymandering” can be traced back to the 19th Century Massachusetts Governor Eldridge Gerry. The Massachusetts legislature drew some truly bizarre state senate districts in an obvious attempt to favor Gerry’s Democratic-Republican Party (who are today called simply Democrats) at the expense of the Federalist opposition. Ever since that time, politicians have been choosing their own voters by drawing lines around people inclined to vote for them.

So there are a lot of good reasons to hate gerrymandering. It wreaks of corruption and it ensures that incumbents don’t actually have to compete. If it were up to me districts would be drawn without regard to their inhabitants. Some districts might turn out bright red and others deep blue but most would be some shade of purple and all would obtain their political character by happenstance.

Like nearly every issue in American politics, gerrymandering also has a racial angle. While gerrymandering isn’t particularly new, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and a maze of subsequent case law have made it practically mandatory in states with substantial minority populations. Certain portions of the VRA which have since been struck down as unconstitutional mandated that southern states first submit any changes in election laws, including electoral maps, to the Department of Justice for its approval. In time, the DOJ came to demand that states create “majority-minority” districts—that is, districts in which whites are a minority. This was considered the only way to give minorities a voice.

The DOJ’s directives set a terrible precedent, namely that our elected officials represent races rather than districts and their citizens. This insidious trend amounts to an abandonment of the “one man, one vote” principle in favor of a racial spoils system. It also turns gerrymandering into a positive good–If state legislatures don’t feel like drawing districts that look like shadow puppets the forces of enlightenment will compel them to do exactly that.

Majority-minority districts now exist in most states that aren’t lily white and most of these districts habitually send complete bozos to Washington. Representative Alcee Hastings, for example, probably wouldn’t be able to win election in a non-gerrymandered district because he’s a former federal judge who was impeached and removed for bribery and perjury. But because his Florida district was drawn specifically to elect a minority representative, and because his constituents seem not to care that he’s a corruptocrat, Hastings has a seat in the House of Representatives. Representative Luis Gutierrez, who thinks his job is to represent the illegal alien population in Congress, wouldn’t be in Congress today if his ridiculously-shaped Illinois district weren’t ready-made to elect a far-left Latino. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, who thinks that American astronauts planted Old Glory on Mars, would certainly not be in Congress today if the map weren’t rigged in her favor. And so on.

North Carolina butted heads with the federal government in the 1990s over exactly how to stay on the right side of the DOJ’s unconstitutional veto authority. After the 1990 Census, which awarded North Carolina an additional congressional seat, the legislature in Raleigh set about drawing a new electoral map. It submitted its map to the DOJ for its approval as required by the unconstitutional portion of the VRA. The DOJ, which was then headed by ultra-progressive Janet Reno, responded with a mandate to create a second majority-minority district in the state. North Carolina dutifully complied, creating the 12th district which was as ugly as a modern art masterpiece. It’s truly the most absurd thing I’ve ever seen though that’s to be expected when people create districts for the sole purpose of lumping all the black people together.

A few North Carolinians sued appellate state and federal officers in a case called Shaw v. Reno, claiming that the wacky DOJ-approved redistricting plan violated their equal protection rights. Though the results of the case were mixed, the Supreme Court did decide that packing minorities into majority-minority districts is a practice that must pass a strict scrutiny test and cannot be done solely for racial reasons. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who wrote for the majority, said that the bedraggled 12th district “bears an uncomfortable resemblance to political apartheid.” She’s right about that but it should be remembered that progressive opinion was, in this case at least, on the side of political apartheid.

My how things change. Since Shaw v. Reno, liberals have decided that “packing” minorities into a single district—which used to be the un-racist thing—is now racist. Containing the black vote within one district necessarily creates a slew of conservative white districts around it. Those white guys’ seats are just as safe as the minority congressman’s and they have no incentive to woo minority or liberal voters–and we can’t have that! 

What exactly do these race-obsessed agitators want? I only ask because I’m really sick of their incessant whining. I think what they want is to have plenty of blatantly gerrymandered majority-minority districts that are nice and safe for their race and their party but at the same time they want the other districts around the gerrymandered ones to remain competitive. That way black and Hispanic leftists will always have their voice in Congress no matter which way the winds shift but they will also have the opportunity to win additional seats. Anything less is somehow racist.

Clearly they want to have their cake and eat it too. Consider a recent federal court decision that invalidated Texas’ proposed redistricting plan. The map was drawn by a Republican-majority legislature so it was automatically suspect. Two judges, Xavier Rodriguez and Orlando Garcia, ruled that gerrymandering cannot be used to reduce the influence of minority voters, whether by “packing” or its opposite, “cracking.”

This is the very definition of damned if you do, damned if you don’t. When minority voters are all grouped together in one district liberals cry foul. When they’re spread out, liberals cry foul. It seems unlikely that two diametrically opposed methods (“packing” and “cracking”) could even achieve the same effect but that’s what liberals want us to believe. Aren’t these people simply attributing nefarious motives to any plan drawn up by their political opposition?
It would seem that the only way to draw districts that neither “pack” nor “crack” is to take the colorblind approach which is fine by me. I’m all for that. But even that may not work because judges are apparently mind-readers and may discern racism if there are too many or too few minorities in any particular district, which there are bound to be. The question remains: what exactly is the correct number and how can we achieve that number without drawing districts based on race which the Supreme Court found constitutionally suspect in Shaw v. Reno?

The other problem with the colorblind approach is that it’s exactly the opposite of what the Department of Justice mandated for decades. It was Bill Clinton’s DOJ, after all, that ordered North Carolina to add another majority-minority district to its map. Even if states stopped packing today, the basic color-conscious outlines imposed by an overbearing federal government would probably remain for years.

I believe that the real reason liberals constantly complain about gerrymandering—and often sue people over it—is not because they have any principled opposition to it. No, they simply want to create bad headlines for the opposition. Every time a Republican-dominated legislature has to defend its electoral map in court, Democrats get to accuse those who drafted it of crypto-racism. Even if the Democrats lose their case, the damage to the Republicans has already been done.

For my part, I would like to see an end to gerrymandering of all kinds, whether based on race, party, or anything else. When it comes to congressional districts, boring shapes suit me just fine. But as long as there are litigators and liberal Democrats around I know that that won’t happen.