Thursday, September 16, 2021

Tyler Stovall, White Freedom

At Amazon, Tyler Stovall, White Freedom: The Racial History of an Idea.

The Masking of the Servant Class

It's Glenn Greewald, on Substack, "Ugly COVID Images From the Met Gala Are Now Commonplace: While AOC's revolutionary and subversive socialist gown generated buzz, the normalization of maskless elites attended to by faceless servants is grotesque":

From the start of the pandemic, political elites have been repeatedly caught exempting themselves from the restrictive rules they impose on the lives of those over whom they rule. Governors, mayors, ministers and Speakers of the House have been filmed violating their own COVID protocols in order to dine with their closest lobbyist-friends, enjoy a coddled hair styling in chic salons, or unwind after signing new lockdown and quarantine orders by sneaking away for a weekend getaway with the family. The trend became so widespread that ABC News gathered all the examples under the headline “Elected officials slammed for hypocrisy for not following own COVID-19 advice,” while Business Insider in May updated the reporting with this: “14 prominent Democrats stand accused of hypocrisy for ignoring COVID-19 restrictions they're urging their constituents to obey."

Most of those transgressions were too flagrant to ignore and thus produced some degree of scandal and resentment for the political officials granting themselves such license. Dominant liberal culture is, if nothing else, fiercely rule-abiding: they get very upset when they see anyone defying decrees from authorities, even if the rule-breaker is the official who promulgated the directives for everyone else. Photos released last November of California Governor Gavin Newsom giggling maskless as he sat with other maskless state health officials celebrating the birthday of a powerful lobbyist — just one month after he told the public to “to keep your mask on in between bites” and while severe state-imposed restrictions were in place regarding leaving one's home — caused a drop in popularity and helped fueled a recall initiative against him. Newsom and these other officials broke their own rules, and even among liberals who venerate their leaders as celebrities, rule-breaking is frowned upon.

But as is so often the case, the most disturbing aspects of elite behavior are found not in what they have prohibited but rather in what they have decided is permissible. When it comes to mask mandates, it is now commonplace to see two distinct classes of people: those who remain maskless as they are served, and those they employ as their servants who must have their faces covered at all times. Prior to the COVID pandemic, it was difficult to imagine how the enormous chasm between the lives of cultural and political elites and everyone else could be made any larger, yet the pandemic generated a new form of crude cultural segregation: a series of protocols which ensure that maskless elites need not ever cast eyes upon the faces of their servant class.

Last month, a delightful event was hosted by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for wealthy Democratic donors in Napa — the same wine region of choice for Gov. Newsom's notorious dinner party — at which the cheapest tickets were $100 each and a "chair” designation was available for $29,000. Video of the outdoor festivities showed an overwhelmingly white crowd of rich Democratic donors sitting maskless virtually on top of one another — not an iota of social distancing to be found — as Pelosi imparted her deep wisdom about public policy.

Pelosi's donor gala took place as millions face eviction, ongoing joblessness, and ever-emerging mandates of various types. It was also held just five days after the liberal county government of Los Angeles, in the name of Delta, imposed a countywide mask requirement for "major outdoor events.” In nearby San Francisco, where Pelosi's mansion is found, the liberal-run city government has maintained a more restrictive outdoor mask policy than the CDC: though masks were not required for outdoor exercising (such as jogging) or while consuming food, the city's rules for outdoor events required “that at any gathering where there are more than 300 people, masks are still required for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.” Though Pelosi's fundraising lunch fell below the 10,000-person threshold for LA County's outdoor mask mandate, it may have fallen within San Francisco's mask mandate. Either way, it appears arbitrary at best: how would The Science™ of COVID risk have drastically changed for those sitting with no distancing, at densely packed tables, if there had been a few more tables of Pelosi donors? The CDC's latest guidelines for outdoor events urge people to “consider wearing a mask…for activities with close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated.”

Trying to find a cogent scientific rationale for any of this is, by design, virtually impossible. The rules are sufficiently convoluted and often arbitrary that one can easily mount arguments to legally justify the Versailles-like conduct of one's favorite liberal political leaders. Beyond the legalities, everything one does can be simultaneously declared to be responsible or reckless, depending on the political needs of the moment. But what was most striking about Pelosi's donor event was not the possibility of legal infractions but rather the two-tiered system that was so viscerally and uncomfortably obvious.

Even though many of the wealthy white donors had no food in front of them and were not yet eating, there was not a mask in sight — except on the faces of the overwhelmingly non-white people hired as servants, all of whom had their gratuitous faces covered. Servants, apparently, are much more pleasant when they are dehumanized. There is no need for noses or mouths or other identifiable facial features for those who are converted into servile robots...

Still more.


Newsom Prevailed on Strength of Coronavirus Response, But Failed on Everything Else. His Political Career's Still an Uphill Climb

California sucks. 

Come for the weather. Leave for the braindead leftist public policy failures.

At LAT, "A California in crisis awaits Newsom after landslide win in recall":

SACRAMENTO — Standing in an elementary school classroom in Oakland, Gov. Gavin Newsom paused when asked if he felt vindicated after voters saved his political career the night before and handed him a landslide victory in the recall election.

“I feel enlivened. I feel more energized, and I feel a deep sense of responsibility because people are counting on us and they need us. They need government, effective government,” Newsom said. “I’m also mindful of this: Challenges are in abundance in these positions.”

California voters and Newsom’s political allies stepped up to defend the governor from the GOP-led recall, delivering a win that helps pave the way to his reelection next year. Battle-tested but not bruised, the 53-year-old reaffirmed the mandate he walked into the governor’s office with three years ago after notching what appeared to be an even greater margin of victory Tuesday.

But just as wildfires, punishing drought, record homelessness, a housing shortage, a once-in-a-generation pandemic and a learning curve at the Capitol have challenged much of his term in office, Newsom returns to work facing those same problems and more.

“He has the same things to deal with today that he dealt with yesterday, minus the recall election,” said Dana Williamson, who worked as Cabinet secretary to former Gov. Jerry Brown. “I would think the election gives him a boost of confidence. He’s coming out of this in a stronger place than when he entered it, and it leveled his political playing field.”

With at least $24 million in his 2022 reelection campaign account and an activated army of union volunteers, Newsom will be a formidable incumbent when voters return to the polls next year, raising doubts that a well-known intraparty rival will step up to challenge him.

Newsom could also end up running against a cast of Republican candidates similar to the one he trounced Tuesday, some of whom have already announced their intentions to challenge him.

“There is no reelect after this,” said Dustin Corcoran, chief executive of the California Medical Assn.

Newsom’s campaign framed the recall as a proxy war against Trumpism playing out in a deep-blue state, shifting the focus off Newsom and his own record.

The governor took advantage of Larry Elder’s candidacy to contrast his leadership during the pandemic to the conservative talk show host’s promises to rescind mask mandates in schools and reverse the vaccine and testing rules Newsom ordered for healthcare workers, state employees, and teachers and school staff.

The decision to attack Elder’s position on vaccines proved smart in California and provided Newsom with an opportunity to tap into fears about the Delta variant and frustration with the unvaccinated. A recent preelection poll from the Public Policy Institute of California found strong support for requiring proof of vaccines for large outdoor events and to enter indoor businesses and predicted 80% of likely voters would be vaccinated.

“The campaign seized on that to create a simple choice for voters,” said Ace Smith, one of Newsom’s political advisors.

A week before the election, Smith argued that Sept. 14 would give Newsom “a clear mandate not only against the recall, but for sanity on something as important as public health.”

As a “final seal of approval” for his handling of the pandemic, Newsom’s triumph will also make it harder for Republicans to gain any traction during his reelection campaign with claims that he was too restrictive or took away personal freedom, said Juan Rodriguez, Newsom’s campaign manager.

The first governor in the nation to issue a statewide stay-at-home order, Newsom might be emboldened by Tuesday’s win to accelerate his approach to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

Democratic strategist Robin Swanson said many Californians, even Newsom supporters, are still frustrated from the school closures and shuttered businesses. She said the governor would be smart to acknowledge those feelings.

“People want to be heard in elections and the most gracious victors hear what their opponents say and hear what people say who didn’t vote for them,” Swanson said. “That’s how you build the sort of unity and healing that our state needs.”

In his brief election night speech, Newsom said he was humbled and grateful to the Californians who exercised their right to vote and expressed themselves “by rejecting the division, by rejecting the cynicism, by rejecting so much of the negativity that’s defined our politics in this country over the course of so many years.”

He extended more of an olive branch Wednesday...

Keep reading.


Nicki Minaj Causes the Establishment to Go DEFCON One

This story's a laugh riot.

From Jim Geraghty, at National Review.

In Submarine Deal With Australia, U.S. Counters China but Enrages France

Following-up, "Why Australia Bet the House on Lasting American Power in Asia."

At NYT, "In Submarine Deal With Australia, U.S. Counters China but Enrages France":

PARIS — President Biden’s announcement this week of a deal to help Australia deploy nuclear-powered submarines has strained the Western alliance, infuriating France and foreshadowing how the conflicting American and European responses to confrontation with China may redraw the global strategic map.

In announcing the deal on Wednesday, Mr. Biden said it was meant to reinforce alliances and update them as strategic priorities shift. But in drawing a Pacific ally closer to meet the China challenge, he appears to have alienated an important European one and aggravated already tense relations with Beijing.

France has reacted with outrage to news that the United States and Britain would help Australia develop submarines, and that Australia would withdraw from a $66 billion 2016 deal to buy French-built submarines. At its heart, the diplomatic storm is also a business matter — a loss of revenue for France’s military industry, and a gain for American companies.

Jean-Yves Le Drian, France’s foreign minister, told Franceinfo radio that the submarine deal was a “unilateral, brutal, unpredictable decision” by the United States, and he compared the American move to the rash and sudden policy shifts common during the Trump administration.

France canceled a gala scheduled for Friday at its embassy in Washington to mark the 240th anniversary of a Revolutionary War battle.

“This looks like a new geopolitical order without binding alliances,” said Nicole Bacharan, a researcher at Sciences Po in Paris. “To confront China, the United States appears to have chosen a different alliance, with the Anglo-Saxon world separate from France.” She predicted a “very hard” period in the old friendship between Paris and Washington.

The deal also seemed to be a pivot point in relations with China, which reacted angrily. The Biden administration appears to be upping the ante with Beijing by providing a Pacific ally with submarines that are much harder to detect than conventional ones, much as medium-range Pershing II missiles were deployed in Europe in the 1980s to deter the Soviet Union.

A statement from Mr. Le Drian and Florence Parly, France’s Armed Forces minister, called “the American choice to exclude a European ally and partner such as France” a regrettable decision that “shows a lack of coherence.”

The Australian vessels would have nuclear reactors for propulsion, but not nuclear weapons.

France and the rest of the European Union are intent on avoiding a direct confrontation with China, as they underscored on Thursday in a policy paper titled the “E.U. Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific,” whose release was planned before the fracas.

It said the bloc would pursue “multifaceted engagement with China,” cooperating on issues of common interest while “pushing back where fundamental disagreement exists with China, such as on human rights.”

The degree of French anger recalled the acrimonious rift in 2003 between Paris and Washington over the Iraq war and involved language not heard since then.

“This is not done between allies,” Mr. Le Drian said. His comparison of Mr. Biden to Mr. Trump appeared certain to be taken in the White House as a serious insult.

And France said it had not been consulted on the deal. “We heard about it yesterday,” Ms. Parly told RFI radio.

The Biden administration said it had not told French leaders beforehand, because it was clear that they would be unhappy with the deal.

The administration decided that it was up to Australia to choose whether to tell Paris, said a U.S. official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to address the matter publicly. But he allowed that the French had a right to be annoyed, and that the decision was likely to fuel France’s desire for a European Union military capability independent of the United States...


Why Australia Bet the House on Lasting American Power in Asia

So you would think.

I'm surprised the U.S. has waited this long to bring the Aussies into the nuclear loop.

At NYT, "Less than three years ago, Australia’s leader said his country need not choose between the U.S. and China. A nuclear submarine deal shows that much has changed since then":

SYDNEY, Australia — When Scott Morrison became Australia’s prime minister three years ago, he insisted that the country could maintain close ties with China, its largest trading partner, while working with the United States, its main security ally.

“Australia doesn’t have to choose,” he said in one of his first foreign policy speeches.

On Thursday, Australia effectively chose. Following years of sharply deteriorating relations with Beijing, Australia announced a new defense agreement in which the United States and Britain would help it deploy nuclear-powered submarines, a major advance in Australian military strength.

With its move to acquire heavy weaponry and top-secret technology, Australia has thrown in its lot with the United States for generations to come — a “forever partnership,” in Mr. Morrison’s words. The agreement will open the way to deeper military ties and higher expectations that Australia would join any military conflict with Beijing.

It’s a big strategic bet that America will prevail in its great-power competition with China and continue to be a dominant and stabilizing force in the Pacific even as the costs increase.

“It really is a watershed moment — a defining moment for Australia and the way it thinks about its future in the Indo-Pacific region,” said Richard Maude, a former Australian security official who is now a senior fellow at the Asia Society Policy Institute.

“It does represent really quite sharp concerns now in the Morrison government about a deteriorating security environment in the region, about China’s military buildup and about China’s willingness to use coercive power to pursue national interests,” he said.

“This is utterly irresponsible conduct,” Mr. Zhao said.

For the United States, the decision to bolster a close Asia-Pacific ally represents a tangible escalation of its efforts to answer China’s rapid military growth. The Defense Department said in its most recent report to Congress that China now had the largest navy in the world, measured in numbers of vessels, having built a fleet of approximately 350 ships by 2019, including a dozen nuclear submarines.

By comparison, the U.S. Navy has around 293 ships. While American vessels tend to be larger, China is also catching up with aircraft carriers while surpassing the United States with smaller, agile ships.

At the same time, China has moved aggressively to secure locations for outposts and missiles, building up its presence on islands that it constructed in the South China Sea. Security analysts believe that Australia would be likely to use nuclear-powered submarines to patrol the important shipping lanes there, in waters also claimed by Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia. The choice of vessel, they said, sends an unmistakable message.

“Nothing is more provocative to China than nuke stuff and submarine stuff,” said Oriana Skylar Mastro, who is a fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University and at the American Enterprise Institute. “China’s so weak in anti-submarine warfare in comparison to other capabilities.”

“To me,” said Ms. Mastro, a regular visitor to Australia, “it suggests that Australia is willing to take some real risks in its relationship to stand up to China.”

American and Australian officials, seeking to douse proliferation concerns, emphasized that the submarines were nuclear-powered but had nothing to do with nuclear weapons. The promise of eight American vessels coincided with Australia’s cancellation of a contract for 12 conventional French-designed submarines that had been delayed and running over budget. French officials reacted angrily, calling the abandonment of the deal a betrayal of trust...

The French are the biggest fucking babies. *Eye-roll.*

Still more.


Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Bernard Lewis, What Went Wrong?

At Amazon, Bernard Lewis, What Went Wrong? What Went Wrong?: The Clash Between Islam and Modernity in the Middle East.

House Democrats Consider 26.5% Corporate Tax Rate (VIDEO)

The top marginal tax rate for individuals could rise to a whopping 46 percent! Dang, maybe higher!  

Meanwhile, AOC's out the Met gala with a "tax the rich" gown, wtf!

Absolutely loathsome. I try not to hate --- anything or anyone, as it's against my values and not good for my health.

But Democrats make it hard, man.

At WSJ, "Lawmakers are expected to propose a smaller capital-gains tax increase than Biden wants":

WASHINGTON—House Democrats expect to propose raising the corporate tax rate to 26.5% from 21% and imposing a 3-percentage-point surtax on individual income above $5 million, according to two House Democratic aides familiar with the plans.

The tax increases would be part of the House Ways and Means Committee’s plans to pay for the party’s priorities in a fast-moving budget bill. Those items include an expanded child tax credit, a national paid-leave program and renewable-energy tax breaks.

House Democrats also are considering raising the minimum tax on U.S. companies’ foreign income to 16.5% from 10.5% and increasing the top capital-gains tax rate to 28.8% from 23.8%. Lawmakers are also expected to raise money by expanding Internal Revenue Service enforcement and might include other tax increases on corporations and high-income individuals.

Until now, House Democrats have been coy about their tax-increase plans as they try to navigate between moderates worried about the economic impact of raising taxes and progressives eager to tax the rich and expand the social safety net. Rep. Richard Neal (D., Mass.), the committee chairman, has said that detailing tax-increase plans too soon can give too much time for opposition to build.

The plans, aimed for a Ways and Means Committee vote later this week, will face challenges as Democrats try to determine how far they are willing to go in reversing the 2017 tax cuts and imposing stiffer burdens on corporations and high-income households.

Some Senate Democrats, including Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Mark Warner of Virginia, have said they don’t want to raise the corporate tax rate above 25% from its current 21%. The Biden administration and Democrats such as Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden of Oregon have advocated for far more aggressive capital-gains tax increases than congressional Democrats are willing to support.

Andrew Bates, a White House spokesman, praised the committee’s ideas and said the administration looks forward to working with lawmakers.

“This meets two core goals the president laid out at the beginning of this process—it does not raise taxes on Americans earning under $400,000 and it repeals the core elements of the Trump tax giveaways for the wealthy and corporations that have done nothing to strengthen our country’s economic health,” he said Sunday.

The committee hasn’t yet released details of its proposed changes, effective dates for each provision or estimates of how much money each piece would raise. The proposals could change significantly as lawmakers debate and vote on them.

On Sunday, tax lobbyists and congressional aides were circulating a four-page document that roughly spells out how Democrats would get to $3.5 trillion to pay for their spending and tax cuts over a decade.

The document doesn’t say how final a plan it is or whether Democratic lawmakers have agreed to it. By showing the scale of the tax increases needed to hit that budget target, the document could prompt lawmakers to scale back their aims or issue debt to cover some of the cost.

It includes $1 trillion in tax increases on individuals, $900 billion on corporations, $700 billion from drug-pricing policy changes, and $120 billion from tougher tax enforcement. Adding miscellaneous other changes and an assumption that the economy will grow reaches $3.5 trillion.

Democrats have a narrow path. They can lose no more than three votes in the House and none in the Senate, and lawmakers such as Mr. Manchin are aiming to shrink the bill from the $3.5 trillion target that Democratic leaders have set.

Democrats agree broadly that they are willing to raise the corporate tax rate and the top individual tax rate. But other areas, particularly capital gains and international tax rules, have proven trickier.

The Biden administration’s capital-gains plan has been facing sustained opposition from rural Democrats. The administration plan would impose taxes on unrealized gains at death, with a $1 million per-person exemption and special rules to protect farms and family owned businesses. Under the Biden plan, the top tax rate would increase to 43.4%, the same as ordinary income.

But those protections haven’t swayed lawmakers from rural areas, despite the Biden administration’s arguments that foregoing change would allow billionaires to escape income taxation on their gains at death. Under current law, people who die with unrealized gains might owe estate taxes, but not income taxes. Their heirs pay income taxes only when they sell and only on gains since the prior owner’s death.

In the document circulating Sunday, those changes other than a smaller capital-gains rate increase aren’t included.

As outlined in the document, high-income households would face a series of tax increases. The top rate would increase to 39.6% from 37%, with that top bracket starting at $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for married couples. Those thresholds are lower than what the Biden administration has proposed.

The committee also could pare back a tax break for businesses that pay their taxes on their owners’ individual tax returns. Those companies, such as partnerships and S corporations, would face caps on a deduction they got in the 2017 tax law.

According to the document, many business owners also would begin facing a 3.8% tax on their profits. Currently, a tax at that rate applies to wages of high-income individuals and to passive income, but active business profits are exempt. The proposal, like the administration’s plan, would impose that 3.8% tax on high-income business owners.

The combination of those changes would mean that some taxpayers could face a top marginal federal income-tax rate of 46.4%...


Biden Campaigns for Newsom at Long Beach City College (VIDEO)

My school.

The security was intense.

At LAT, "In final campaign push with Newsom, Biden says ‘eyes of the nation’ are on California recall":

President Biden joined Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday night for a final campaign stop in Long Beach on the eve of the recall election, lending his firepower to fight against the governor’s possible ouster and underscoring the national importance of defeating the effort.

“California, I’m not sure you know it but if you didn’t know it, you should,” Biden said. “This is not hyperbole: The eyes of the nation are on California. Because the decision you’re about to make isn’t just going to have a huge impact on California, it’s going to reverberate around the nation. And quite frankly, it’s not a joke, around the world.“ The rally capped a long day in the West for the president, and a months-long campaign for Newsom and his opponents. Earlier in the day, Biden traveled to Boise, Idaho, and Sacramento to survey wildfire damage and discuss his administration’s response.

A pre-show lineup of mariachi music and dignitaries from across Democratic Party ranks — including Democratic National Committee Chairman Jaime Harrison, California Democratic Party Chair Rusty Hicks and state elected officeholders — rallied the crowd of more than 1,000 invited labor representatives, college students and other Democrats at Long Beach City College before the president and governor’s arrival shortly before 7 p.m.

The president’s stop in California marked the closing campaign act for Newsom, who has touted support from several high-profile Democrats in recent weeks, including former President Obama, Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Last week, Vice President Kamala Harris returned to California to court voters on behalf of the governor.

In a 15-minute address, Biden praised Newsom’s handling of the pandemic and urged attendees to vote for the governor because of his support for reproductive rights and efforts to mitigate climate change.

“Folks, send a message to the nation: Courage matters, leadership matters, science matters. Vote to keep Gavin Newsom,” Biden said.

The Biden administration has a vested interest in the recall’s outcome. A Newsom victory could lift Democrats after a politically challenging several weeks for the president, whose popularity has taken a hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s resurgence and the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan. The election of a Republican governor could be devastating to Democrats nationwide, with the possibility that the new governor would appoint a replacement for Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) should she retire and leave an open seat in theSenate.

On Monday, the president and governor pointedly attacked the recall as an effort led by Republicans supporting former President Trump. Biden likened conservative talk show host Larry Elder, the leading Republican candidate in the race, to Trump and told the audience “there’s too much at stake” to let him become governor.

“We may have defeated Donald Trump, but we have not defeated Trumpism,” Newsom said to the crowd before Biden took the stage. “Trumpism is still on the ballot in California and that’s why it’s so important, not just for all of us here 40 million Americans strong in the nation’s largest and most populous state, but also to send a statement, all across the United States of America, that Trumpism has no place here, and Trumpism will be defeated all across the United States of America, because we’re better than that.”

Recent polls suggest Newsom probably has little to worry about, after an early split among voters a few weeks ago developed into a strong showing of support for the first-term governor. A UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll, cosponsored by the Los Angeles Times, released Friday showed that 60.1% of likely voters surveyed oppose recalling Newsom compared with 38.5% in favor of ousting the governor.

A crowd of pro-recall protesters gathered outside the Long Beach event Monday, chanting “Recall Newsom!”

“First Vice President Harris, now President Biden: it is baffling and insulting that Gavin Newsom would want either of them here campaigning to save his job while California children, women and families remain abandoned in Afghanistan by this Administration,” California Republican Party Chairwoman Jessica Millan Patterson said in a statement following the event. “It’s clear protecting those they were elected to serve comes second to politics. Lucky for Californians, we have a chance tomorrow to recall Gavin Newsom and replace him with a leader who finally puts their needs first.”...

Also at CBS 8 San Diego, "President Biden visits California in support of Governor Newsom ahead of recall election."

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Colonial-Era Royal Carriage Stirs Up Modern Backlash in Netherlands

So lame. *Eye-roll.*

At the New York Times, "The “Golden Coach,” built for Queen Wilhelmina of Holland in 1896, is emerging as a new focus of debate over slavery, colonialist oppression and history":

AMSTERDAM — In 1896, the city of Amsterdam decided to build Queen Wilhelmina a very special gift: a carriage covered in gold. The “Golden Coach” was designed to represent the entire kingdom and its resources, with leather from Brabant, cushions filled with flax from Zeeland and teak from the Dutch colony of Java.

A prominent Dutch artist of the era, Nicolaas van der Waay, was commissioned to make panel paintings on all four sides. One of them, “Tribute from the Colonies,” depicts a virgin on a throne. On the left, Africans in loin cloths bow down before her. On the right, Southeast Asians in colorful batiks present her with gifts, as representations of the Dutch East Indies colony.

All of these component parts glorifying the empire would have been appreciated by most Dutch people in that era. But it is precisely these elements — reminders of slavery and colonial oppression — that make the carriage a source of pain in the Netherlands, particularly for descendants of formerly colonized people.

In the context of the worldwide Black Lives Matter protests, the coach has become a focus of anti-colonialist and antifascist protest. The controversy is an echo of similar debates in the United States over Confederate statues and other monuments, and in Europe over monuments honoring colonialists and slave traders.

An online petition to retire the Golden Coach has received more than 9,000 signatures.

The coach was first used in 1898 to carry Queen Wilhelmina to what the Dutch call her “inauguration,” eight years after she became queen at age 10. In recent years, the Golden Coach has been used primarily for the ceremonial opening of the Dutch Parliament in The Hague, and occasionally for weddings and coronations. Since the 1960s, royal trips in the carriage have often been met with street protests.

It was last used in 2015, without incident, after which it underwent a five-year, $1.4 million renovation before it was put on display at the Amsterdam Museum, where it will remain through Feb. 27, 2022.

“We must finally end this practice of parading colonial images as displays of power,” Sylvana Simons, a member of Parliament and the founder and leader of an anti-racist political party, BIJ1, said in June.

Gideon van Meijeren, a lawmaker with the Forum for Democracy, a right-wing populist party, had no patience with that. “We must not allow ourselves to be emotionally blackmailed by a small group of pushy extremists who see racism under every stone,” he said.

His comment echoed the 2020 Twitter sentiments of a populist Dutch politician, Geert Wilders, who characterized efforts to decommission the coach, known in Dutch as the Gouden Koets, as “left-wing, antiracism terror.” He continued, using a slang term for drop dead: “I say: Don’t bow, don’t kneel, let them all get the rambam!”

Last month, Emile Schrijver, director of the Jewish Cultural Quarter, wrote an opinion piece in the Amsterdam daily Het Parool, calling the coach “an outdated and unacceptable glorification of a colonial sense of superiority,” which should be decommissioned and permanently housed in a museum.

On July 16, King Willem-Alexander addressed the subject at a news conference, saying he was “listening” to public forums on the matter organized by the museum. “The discussion is ongoing,” he added. The carriage is scheduled to return to The Hague after the exhibition. “You will hear from us then,” he said.

The Golden Coach was hoisted over the top of the museum by crane in June for the grand opening of the exhibition, attended by the king, and is now displayed in a large glass box in the inner courtyard. The exhibition exploring its history from its 19th-century conception fills six rooms within the museum, with another room devoted to visual responses to the coach by 15 contemporary artists.

What will happen to it thereafter — whether to put it back in service to the king and queen; or keep it in the museum with lots of explanatory content; or store it somewhere out of sight; or destroy it — has become a matter of intense public debate. Ultimately, the decision will be made by the royal family...

Nine-thousand signatures, c'mon!

"Rambam" is right, sheesh.


Saturday, September 11, 2021

Nearly Half of Californians Report Lasting Effect of 9/11

Actually, the number should be higher. 

What is wrong with these people.

At the Los Angeles Times, "Poll: Nearly half of Californians say 9/11 had lasting impact on their lives":

Two decades after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, a majority of Californians believe the surveillance laws passed in its aftermath were justified, while the state’s most conservative and most liberal voters are more skeptical, according to a new poll.

The survey from the Berkeley Institute for Governmental Studies, in partnership with the Los Angeles Times, found that the events of that day remain a vivid memory for three-quarters of the state’s voters, and nearly half say 9/11 has had a lasting effect on themselves or their families.

“It was a demarcation point in American life,” said Mark DiCamillo, the poll’s director. “Here we are 20 years later ... going through long lines at the airport, increased security. It all stems back from that day.”

A sizable number of California voters say they have been improperly treated because of increased safety measures. One in four voters report being harassed during security screenings at airports, for example. There is little difference between how Democrats and Republicans say they have experienced mistreatment, but substantial difference among racial and ethnic backgrounds. Roughly 25% of white, Latino and Asian voters in California say they have been harassed, compared with 39% of Black voters and 51% of American Indian/Native American respondents.

Still, the findings show that the immediacy of 9/11 is beginning to fade from Californians’ collective memory. Although roughly 90% of Californians over 50 say they have a clear recollection of that day — when terrorists hijacked four airplanes to attack targets in the U.S. — the number dwindles to less than 20% among those under 30, who were children or not yet born when the assaults occurred.

Young Californians are far less likely to say the events of Sept. 11 had a lasting effect on themselves or their families. Overall, voters in the state were nearly evenly split; 47% said they or their families experienced an enduring effect from the attacks, and 52% did not.

Voters under 40 are also more wary of the federal laws adopted after the attacks, which gave law enforcement more authority to conduct surveillance of the public. Less than half of those younger Californians say the policies are justified, compared with majorities of voters age 40 and older, with support climbing to 75% among people over 75.

Overall, 56% of the state’s voters back such laws, and 22% say the measures are unjustified with another 22% holding no opinion.

Attitudes do not neatly conform to partisan leanings. Republicans and Democrats support the laws in equal measure (roughly 60%), and half of voters with no party preference say the same.

Voters on the extremes of the ideological spectrum — strong conservatives and strong liberals — are less likely than moderate voters to see the policies as justified. And the share of voters who had no opinion on the laws climbed as their level of education increased; 29% of those with postgraduate degrees said they had no opinion, compared with 9% who did not have a high school degree.

Such a pattern is unusual among the most highly educated respondents, who are more likely to hold defined views, DiCamillo said.

In this case, the merit of surveillance laws “is a more complicated issue,” he said. “It’s not a straightforward yes or no.”

The findings also underscore how some views about the lasting impact of 9/11 defy the trend of hyper-polarization that has crept into nearly every corner of American life. Although party affiliation has some influence on Californians’ perspectives, DiCamillo said it has “kind of a modest influence.”

“It’s there, but lurking in the background,” he said, a vast difference from most topics he polls on, where there’s “just unbelievable partisan differences on viewing the realities of American life.”

Similarly, Democrats and Republicans report comparable attitudes about how fears of a terrorist attack influence their behavior. Twenty-one percent of Democrats and 17% of Republicans say they have skipped going to a theme park, sports stadium or large entertainment venue because of such safety concerns; 1 in 5 voters with no party preference report the same...

Still more.


9/11, Twenty Years Later

From Brian Stewart, at Commentary, "A new book highlights the enduring failure of liberalism’s approach to terrorism."

Stewart reviews Spencer Ackerman's, Reign of Terror: How the 9/11 Era Destabilized America and Produced Trump.

In doing so, he focuses a scorching microscope on the evil (but not new) anti-Americanism that has poisoned American politics in the wake of the September 11 attacks. 

Remembering 9/11 With Taliban Victory

From American Military News, at Pamela Geller's:

What we remember and forget on 9/11. The boy clings to the undercarriage of an evacuation plane leaving Kabul.

Remember Todd Beamer of United 93. His heroism on 9/11 drew from a lifetime of faith and character.

The Bush White House reveals its unfiltered 9/11 story in new documentary. The documentary “9/11: Inside the President’s War Room” looks at how the Bush White House responded to the events of Sept. 11, 2001, by interviewing officials about how they reacted in real time to events throughout the day.

Between then and now, they did not die in vain. I was among the first to parachute into Afghanistan in 2001. This is how I will remember the war.

The tragic price of forgetting 9/11. We will never forget. That was the solemn promise we heard again and again from our nation’s leaders after the devastation of 9/11.

Biden’s Afghan Disaster

SECDEF: al-Qaida may seek comeback in Afghanistan. The Taliban had provided al-Qaida with sanctuary while it ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.

Biden is embracing a redefinition of war — but not an alternative to war. For those of us present at the beginning of the war on terrorism, the effective surrender of Afghanistan to the Taliban just in time for the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks has been a very jagged pill.

US Afghanistan withdrawal becomes ammo for disinformation attacks. The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan has given NATO’s adversaries ammunition for disinformation attacks intended to sow doubt about America’s reliability as a security partner, officials here say.

Army chief calls for Afghanistan review: ‘Let the cards fall where they fall.’ The Army’s chief of staff wants a review of the decisions that led to the fall of Kabul and the U.S. military’s withdrawal.

Countries are establishing relations with the Taliban even though none has offered formal recognition of the militant government. Nearly a month after its takeover, there has been no formal recognition of the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan. But that step appears increasingly irrelevant, at least for the short and medium term, as countries around the world have established varying degrees of relations with the militant regime.


White House approves ‘partnership’ with vets evacuating U.S. citizens, Afghan allies. The White House has approved a recommendation by the nation’s top military officer that the administration create a “public/private partnership” with the ad hoc groups that have been working to evacuate American citizens and at-risk Afghans from the country, two State Department officials told POLITICO.

Dozens of Americans, other Westerners, to fly from Kabul on commercial flight. The large group of foreigners would depart Thursday on a Qatar Airways flight. Americans refuse to leave Afghanistan without their families as evacuation flights resume. In the days and weeks before the U.S. military’s hectic departure from Afghanistan, two former interpreters for the American military already resettled in the United States — one a naturalized U.S. citizen, the other a holder of a green card — journeyed back into the war zone to rescue stranded female relatives.

National Security

A ‘persistent, proximate threat’: Why the Navy is preparing for a fight under the sea. As Russia and China bolster their own submarine fleets and capabilities, the U.S. Navy has renewed its focus on undersea threats and has labeled anti-submarine warfare a priority for all sailors — and perhaps some Marines, too.

China, Russia loom over routine air operations across the globe. “What happens when our diplomats no longer have the might of the U.S. military or our economy as their backstop?” said Chief of Staff Gen. Charles “CQ” Brown.

The world 9/11 created: The waning of the American superpower. The aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks marked the height of a particular American moment on the world stage.

China Threat

Taiwan commissions homemade ‘carrier killer’ warship. Taiwan’s president oversaw the commissioning of a new domestically made warship Thursday as part of the island’s plan to boost indigenous defense capacity amid heightened tensions with China.

Another Japan-based F-35 squadron is ready for operations. A second U.S. Marine Corps squadron in Japan has declared its F-35B fighters are ready for operations, less than a year after officially kicking off the process of transitioning to the stealthy fifth-generation aircraft.


Less door-kicking, more resistance: Inside Army SOF’s return to unconventional warfare. For much of the past two decades, the American public has associated the Army’s special operations forces with counterterrorism, often conjuring images of night-time direct action raids.

Pentagon Watch

YES. THEY ARE – Army chief: We’re not pushing critical race theory. Just one day after the removal of Richmond’s Robert E. Lee statue, Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville pushed back on claims that the military is attempting to “indoctrinate” troops into critical race theory.

Who Is Responsible for the Darkness That Has Descended on Us?

From David Horowitz, at FrontPage Magazine, "The Treason Party":

The late author Susan Sontag once famously said, “Communism is fascism with a human face.” A more perfect description of what the Democrat Party has become would be hard to come by. For five years the Democrats have focused their energies on laying the foundations of a communist economy and a one-party state. In pursuit of the latter, they have tried to abolish the electoral college, change the election laws to undermine the integrity of the voting system, give non-citizens the right to vote, eliminate voter I.D.’s which connect legitimate voters to their ballots, pack the Supreme Court, end the filibuster, pass legislation that would put control of presidential elections in the hands of the Democrat-favoring Washington bureaucracy and remove that control from the fifty states, as the Constitution now requires.

These efforts led to massive irregularities in the presidential election results that put the brain-damaged, pathological liar in the White House and led directly to the crises on the southern border, in America’s streets, and in Afghanistan. They were accompanied by a campaign to demonize former President Trump and the 74 million Americans who voted for him as “white supremacists” and “cultists.” This was itself a dagger aimed directly at the heart of the democratic process which depends on respect for the political opposition and compromise on legislation. If an opposing political party is placed beyond the pale, the inevitable result is a one-party state.

Character assassination has become the Democrats’ first weapon of choice, with Trump’s multiple bogus impeachments providing examples of how far Democrats are prepared to go to tear up the Constitution and two-hundred and forty years of American political tradition. Trump is no longer president but as a private citizen he is still the target of a Pelosi “commission” or “committee,” stacked completely with members who voted to impeach him, whose sole purpose is to convict Trump of inciting a fake “insurrection” in an attempt to overthrow the government of the United States. This is one more despicable effort to demonize Trump and his 74 million voters as “domestic terrorists” and therefore enemies of America to be dealt with as such.

The same result is the purpose of Critical Race Theory, the 1619 Project and the Black Lives Matter racist narratives, developed by American Marxists, currently being inflicted on all the men and women who have volunteered to defend their country in America’s armed services. This travesty comes courtesy of a General Staff deliberately politicized by the Obama administration. The consequence of training enlisted personnel to view America as a racist slave state founded in 1619, which has racism in its DNA (as Obama proclaimed) and is “systemically racist” (as Biden maintains) is to undermine military morale and program soldiers to regard “white America” as the enemy rather than the Islamic terrorists who seek to murder and destroy us.

Yet this demonizing creed was the preoccupation of Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs’ Chairman General Mark Milley in the months they should have been focused on the withdrawal from Afghanistan and the potential massacre of Americans and their Afghan allies if the withdrawal wasn’t properly planned.

Inevitably that withdrawal was not properly planned. If the Chinese Communists had used their hammer over Joe Biden to dictate his decisions, the suicidal choices for which Biden is responsible wouldn’t be one iota different from the ones he actually made. No one in his or her right mind would have withdrawn American troops and abandoned American bases (and their weaponry) first, and then depended on the good will of Taliban terrorists not to behead the thousands of Afghans who had helped us during the twenty years we occupied their country.

“Partnering” with the Taliban, legitimizing them as a responsible government are the latest capitulations committed by Biden’s fascist-with-a-human face regime. Their cover for this betrayal is that the Taliban has changed and will be a responsible partner.

But here is what the religious zealots of the Taliban actually say: “We are the Taliban and this is our way and this will be our way till Judgement Day.” To encourage Biden’s treachery the Taliban’s spokesman put forward the reasonable-sounding offer to respect our culture if we will respect theirs. But what is their culture? Their culture is to throw acid in the face of any woman whose required Burka shows too much flesh, and to murder them if they are guilty of “fornication” - after a trial in which the jury is all male. Their culture is to behead an entire family in front of its father and then to behead him for working for the Americans. This atrocity occurred during the Kabul airlift after Joe Biden had made these barbaric killers the security for America’s withdrawal.

And it’s worse. Fearing America’s military might, which Joe Biden was busily crippling, the Taliban had actually offered America the privilege of providing the security for its withdrawal, which would have saved countless lives. Joe Biden rejected the offer.

In normal times, the remedy for Biden’s treason would be a firing squad or a life-term in a military prison. Today, who knows? Not a single general has been court-martialed for this disgraceful and dangerous surrender of American power, pride and national security. It is a surrender that will cost the lives of countless innocents not only in Afghanistan but around the world and in America itself. Biden’s response to this debacle? Full steam ahead and pretend defeat is - in Joe’s words - “an amazing success.” This is exactly the kind of response one would expect from a one-party regime.

After the Taliban took Kabul, and the country fell into the grips of Islamic barbarians, the Democrats in Congress were sitting up late into the night in the Capitol working on another emergency. They were putting together a $3.5 to $5 trillion bill to socialize the economy, and make every man, woman, and child in America dependent on the state. Their leader in this communist enterprise was Senator Bernie Sanders a lifelong half-wit supporter of Communist dictatorships and their failed economies, who is now the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee.

The Democrats proposed and inflicted all this damage with a one-vote majority in the Congress, which is the ultimate expression of their contempt for democratic order and their determination to establish a one-party state.

Unfortunately for them, but a light at the end of the tunnel for all Americans who love their country, the Democrat atrocities, aggressions, and failures have produced a reaction – a pro-American, pro-democracy counter-revolution that began with a parental revolt against indoctrination in the schools. This counter-revolution will sweep the Democrats from power in the coming mid-term elections, a transformation that cannot happen too quickly or too completely. The hour is very late and the condition of our country and our way of life is critical.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Thomas Ricks, Making the Corps

At Amazon, Thomas Ricks, Making the Corps (10th Anniversary Edition with a New Afterword by the Author)

In Return to Classroom, Universities and Professors Struggle with Covid

My division dean just sent out an announcement on this yesterday. How to handle? 

1. Notify sick student to stay the hell off campus. 

2. Reassure the lamebrains that you're not going to drop them from class.  

3. Make sure students are screened and cleared for classes at the check-in tables on-site.

4. Contact college administration to inform them of a cases. 

5. Maintain strict confidentiality. (Or else?) 

At the New York Times, "The Masked Professor vs. the Unmasked Student":

Matthew Boedy, an associate professor of rhetoric and composition, sent out a raw emotional appeal to his students at the University of North Georgia just before classes began: The Covid-19 Delta variant was rampaging through the state, filling up hospital beds. He would teach class in the equivalent of full body armor — vaccinated and masked.

So he was stunned in late August when more than two-thirds of the first-year students in his writing class did not take the hint and showed up unmasked.

It was impossible to tell who was vaccinated and who was not. “It isn’t a visual hellscape, like hospitals, it’s more of an emotional hellscape,” Dr. Boedy said.

North Georgia is not requiring its students to be vaccinated or masked this fall. And as in-person classes return at almost every university in the country, after almost a year and a half of emergency pivoting to online learning, many professors are finding teaching a nerve-racking experience.

The American College Health Association recommends vaccination requirements for all on-campus higher education students for the fall semester. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends face coverings, regardless of vaccine status, for indoor public spaces in areas where the rate of infection is high.

But this is not how it has worked out on more than a few campuses.

More than 1,000 colleges and universities have adopted vaccination requirements for at least some students and staff, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. In an indication of how political vaccination has become, the schools tend to be clustered in states that voted for President Biden in the last election.

But at some campuses, particularly in Republican-led states with high rates of contagion — like the state systems in Georgia, Texas and Florida — vaccination is optional and mask wearing, while recommended, cannot be enforced. Professors are told they can tell students that they are “strongly encouraged” or “expected” to put on masks, but cannot force students to do so. And teachers cannot ask students who have Covid-like symptoms to leave the classroom.

At least nine states — Arizona, Arkansas, Iowa, Oklahoma, Florida, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Tennessee — have banned or restricted school mask mandates. It is unclear, education officials say, whether all of these prohibitions apply to universities, but public universities depend on state funding.

Certainly, some professors are happy to go maskless. A smattering have resigned in protest over optional mask policies. Most, like Dr. Boedy, are soldiering on. But the level of fear is so high that even at universities that do require vaccination and masks, like Cornell and the University of Michigan, professors have signed petitions asking for the choice to return to online teaching.

“Morale is at an all-time low,” warns a petition at the University of Iowa.

Universities are caught between the demands of their faculty for greater safety precautions, and the fear of losing students, and the revenue they bring, if schools return to another year of online education.

“I think everybody agrees that the idea is to have people physically back in the classroom,” said Peter McDonough, general counsel for the American Council on Education, an organization of colleges and universities. “The turning on a dime to provide online education last year and the previous spring semester was only seen as temporary.”

For some faculty, the new year brings not a return to normal but a strong sense that things could go off the rails. In the first weeks of class, case counts have risen at schools including Duke, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Arizona State, Liberty University, the University of Arkansas, the University of North Florida and the University of Texas at San Antonio.

“It seems like a repeat,” said Michael Atzmon, an engineering professor at the University of Michigan. “On the one hand, we have the vaccine. On the other hand, we have Delta.”

Dr. Atzmon helped organize a petition asking the university to be more open to online teaching. It was signed by more than 700 faculty members and instructors.

In a response to the petition, Michigan’s president, Mark Schlissel, said on Thursday that, given the “stellar” rate of vaccination at the Ann Arbor campus (92 percent for students, 90 percent for faculty), the classroom was “perhaps the safest place to be” on campus.

Dr. Schlissel suggested that faculty would just have to get used to the idea that there would be Covid cases on campus. “A pandemic is unsettling, it’s unpredictable, and yes, it involves an unavoidable level of risk,” he said.

There are signs of defiance against state policies. The three big public universities in Arizona — University of Arizona, Arizona State and Northern Arizona University — are tiptoeing around the ban on masks and requiring them in class. If all students have to wear masks, university officials believe that they are obeying Gov. Doug Ducey’s order not to discriminate against students who choose not to be vaccinated.

“It’s kind of a cat-and-mouse game,” said Peter Lake, an education law professor at Stetson University...

For real, man.

Keep reading


Paige Loves College Football

This woman is always worth a post. 

Interview with Maj. Dick Winters (VIDEO)

I'm a major fan of "Band of Brothers," and especially Episode 2, and Easy Company's destruction of the German 88 artillery emplacement at Brecourt Manner. 

If you've seen the series, then you know the story-line of Lieutenant Colonel Ronald Speirs and the legend of him gunning down more than a dozen Nazi captives.

Watch and be amazed:

Within the Margin of Error: More Americans Than Ever Before Disapprove of Joe Biden's Performance as President

And this is after a big PBS News poll earlier this week, "More than half of Americans disapprove of Biden right now."

At YouGov:

President Joe Biden is confronting the worst public ratings of his eight-month-old presidency. His approval ratings in the latest Economist/YouGov Poll, overall and on his handling of major issues, have all fallen, dramatically in some cases. That includes the evaluation of his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, one area where public support had remained high.

For the first time, more American adults disapprove of how Biden is handling his job. Nearly half the public (49%) disapproves of Biden’s job performance in the poll conducted September 4-7, while only 39% approve—a drop of six points in the last week. Twice before, during the pullout from Afghanistan, as many people disapproved as approved, but this is the first time in his first-year presidency that Biden’s ratings are negative.

The drop in Biden’s approval rating is most severe among Democrats. Around nine in ten of them had approved of Biden’s performance for nearly all of his first year in office. This week, Biden’s approval rating among Democrats dropped nine points to 77% from 86% last week...

I can't wait for next year's midterms.


Toddler in Diapers Discovered and Rescued by Food Delivery Driver in Burbank (VIDEO)

At CBS 2 Los Angeles, "Caught on Camera Exclusive: Food Delivery Driver Rescues 2-Year-Old in Diapers Wandering Into Burbank Boulevard at Night."

The man's a guardian angel:

Americans Stretch Across Political Divides to Welcome Afghan Refugees

This is fine with me, though, of course, not for most Trump supporters. 

As always, my concern is that jihadi terrorists will be admitted to the country along with Afghans who helped the U.S., and along with the tens of thousands of regular Afghans fleeing totalitarian terrorism. 

At NYT, "'Even the most right-leaning isolationists' are coming forward to help those fleeing Afghanistan, a pastor said. A mass mobilization is underway":

PHOENIX — The hundreds of parishioners at Desert Springs Bible Church, a sprawling megachurch in the northern suburbs of Phoenix, are divided over mask mandates, the presidential election and what to do about migrants on the border. But they are unified on one issue: the need for the United States to take in thousands of Afghan evacuees, and they are passing the plate to make it happen.

“Even the most right-leaning isolationists within our sphere recognize the level of responsibility that America has to people who sacrificed for the nation’s interest,” said Caleb Campbell, the evangelical church’s lead pastor.

Last weekend, the church inaugurated a campaign to raise money for the dozens of Afghan families who are expected to start streaming into greater Phoenix in the next several weeks. Already, thousands of dollars have flowed into the church’s “benevolence fund.”

“This is a galvanizing moment,” said Mr. Campbell, 39.

Throughout the United States, Americans across the political spectrum are stepping forward to welcome Afghans who aided the U.S. war effort in one of the largest mass mobilizations of volunteers since the end of the Vietnam War.

In rural Minnesota, an agricultural specialist has been working on visa applications and providing temporary housing for the newcomers, and she has set up an area for halal meat processing on her farm. In California, a group of veterans has sent a welcoming committee to the Sacramento airport to greet every arriving family. In Arkansas, volunteers are signing up to buy groceries, do airport pickups and host families in their homes.

“Thousands of people just fled their homeland with maybe one set of spare clothes,” said Jessica Ginger, 39, of Bentonville, Ark. “They need housing and support, and I can offer both.”

Donations are pouring into nonprofits that assist refugees, even though in most places few Afghans have arrived yet. At Mission Community Church in the conservative bedroom community of Gilbert outside Phoenix, parishioners have been collecting socks, underwear, shoes and laundry supplies.

Mars Adema, 40, said she had tried over the past year to convince the church’s ministries to care for immigrants, only to hear that “this is just not our focus.”

“With Afghanistan, something completely shifted,” Ms. Adema said.

In a nation that is polarized on issues from abortion to the coronavirus pandemic, Afghan refugees have cleaved a special place for many Americans, especially those who worked for U.S. forces and NGOs, or who otherwise aided the U.S. effort to free Afghanistan from the Taliban.

The moment stands in contrast to the last four years when the country, led by a president who restricted immigration and enacted a ban on travel from several majority-Muslim countries, was split over whether to welcome or shun people seeking safe haven. And with much of the electorate still deeply divided over immigration, the durability of the present welcome mat remains unknown.

Polls show Republicans are still more hesitant than Democrats to receive Afghans, and some conservative politicians have warned that the rush to resettle so many risks allowing extremists to slip through the screening process. Influential commentators, like Tucker Carlson, the Fox News host, have said the refugees would dilute American culture and harm the Republican Party. Last week, he warned that the Biden administration was “flooding swing districts with refugees that they know will become loyal Democratic voters.”

But a broad array of veterans and lawmakers have long regarded Afghans who helped the United States as military partners, and have long pushed to remove the red tape that has kept them in the country under constant threat from the Taliban. Images of babies being lifted over barbed-wire fences to American soldiers, people clinging to departing planes and a deadly terrorist attack against thousands massed at the airport, desperate to leave, have moved thousands of Americans to join their effort.

“For a nation that has been so divided, it feels good for people to align on a good cause,” said Mike Sullivan, director of the Welcome to America Project in Phoenix. “This country probably hasn’t seen anything like this since Vietnam.”

Federal officials said this week that at least 50,000 Afghans who assisted the United States government or who might be targeted by the Taliban are expected to be admitted into the United States in the coming month, though the full number and the time frame of their arrival remains a work in progress. More than 31,000 Afghans have arrived already, though about half were still being processed on military bases, according to internal government documents...


Politico: Biden's Aides Can't Bear to Watch Him Bumble Through Reporters' Questions


At AoSHQ, "Oh they noticed, did they?"

Craig Whitlock, The Afghanistan Papers

At Amazon, Craig Whitlock, The Afghanistan Papers: A Secret History of the War.

A Generation of American Men Give Up on College: ‘I Just Feel Lost’

This isn't new, though indeed folks don't talk about it on campus, at all (at least at my college, and I surmise others, most others, in fact). 

Props to WSJ for the excellent reporting here. 

ICYMI, Christina Hoff Sommers has written on this stuff, here: The War Against Boys: How Misguided Policies are Harming Our Young Men.

And from the article:

Men are abandoning higher education in such numbers that they now trail female college students by record levels.

At the close of the 2020-21 academic year, women made up 59.5% of college students, an all-time high, and men 40.5%, according to enrollment data from the National Student Clearinghouse, a nonprofit research group. U.S. colleges and universities had 1.5 million fewer students compared with five years ago, and men accounted for 71% of the decline.

This education gap, which holds at both two- and four-year colleges, has been slowly widening for 40 years. The divergence increases at graduation: After six years of college, 65% of women in the U.S. who started a four-year university in 2012 received diplomas by 2018 compared with 59% of men during the same period, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

In the next few years, two women will earn a college degree for every man, if the trend continues, said Douglas Shapiro, executive director of the research center at the National Student Clearinghouse.

No reversal is in sight. Women increased their lead over men in college applications for the 2021-22 school year—3,805,978 to 2,815,810—by nearly a percentage point compared with the previous academic year, according to Common Application, a nonprofit that transmits applications to more than 900 schools. Women make up 49% of the college-age population in the U.S., according to the Census Bureau.

“Men are falling behind remarkably fast,” said Thomas Mortenson, a senior scholar at the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education, which aims to improve educational opportunities for low-income, first-generation and disabled college students.

American colleges, which are embroiled in debates over racial and gender equality, and working on ways to reduce sexual assault and harassment of women on campus, have yet to reach a consensus on what might slow the retreat of men from higher education. Some schools are quietly trying programs to enroll more men, but there is scant campus support for spending resources to boost male attendance and retention.

The gender enrollment disparity among nonprofit colleges is widest at private four-year schools, where the proportion of women during the 2020-21 school year grew to an average of 61%, a record high, Clearinghouse data show. Some of the schools extend offers to a higher percentage of male applicants, trying to get a closer balance of men and women.

“Is there a thumb on the scale for boys? Absolutely,” said Jennifer Delahunty, a college enrollment consultant who previously led the admissions offices at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, and Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Ore. “The question is, is that right or wrong?”

Ms. Delahunty said this kind of tacit affirmative action for boys has become “higher education’s dirty little secret,” practiced but not publicly acknowledged by many private universities where the gender balance has gone off-kilter.

“It’s unfortunate that we’re not giving this issue air and sun so that we can start to address it,” she said.

At Baylor University, where the undergraduate student body is 60% female, the admission rate for men last year was 7 percentage points higher than for women. Every student has to meet Baylor’s admission standards to earn admission, said Jessica King Gereghty, the school’s assistant vice president of enrollment strategy and innovation. Classes, however, are shaped to balance several variables, including gender, she said.

Ms. Gereghty said she found that girls more closely attended to their college applications than boys, for instance making sure transcripts are delivered. Baylor created a “males and moms communication campaign” a few years ago to keep high-school boys on track, she said.

Among the messages to mothers in the campaign, Ms. Gereghty said: “ ‘At the dinner table tonight, mom, we need you to talk about getting your high school transcripts in.’ ”

Race and gender can’t be considered in admission decisions at California’s public universities. The proportion of male undergraduates at UCLA fell to 41% in the fall semester of 2020 from 45% in fall 2013. Over the same period, undergraduate enrollment expanded by nearly 3,000 students. Of those spots, nine out of 10 went to women.

“We do not see male applicants being less competitive than female applicants,” UCLA Vice Provost Youlonda Copeland-Morgan said, but fewer men apply.

The college gender gap cuts across race, geography and economic background. For the most part, white men—once the predominant group on American campuses—no longer hold a statistical edge in enrollment rates, said Mr. Mortenson, of the Pell Institute. Enrollment rates for poor and working-class white men are lower than those of young Black, Latino and Asian men from the same economic backgrounds, according to an analysis of census data by the Pell Institute for the Journal.

No college wants to tackle the issue under the glare of gender politics, said Ms. Delahunty, the enrollment consultant. The conventional view on campuses, she said, is that “men make more money, men hold higher positions, why should we give them a little shove from high school to college?”

Yet the stakes are too high to ignore, she said. “If you care about our society, one, and, two, if you care about women, you have to care about the boys, too. If you have equally educated numbers of men and women that just makes a better society, and it makes it better for women.”

The pandemic accelerated the trend. Nearly 700,000 fewer students were enrolled in colleges in spring 2021 compared with spring 2019, a Journal analysis found, with 78% fewer men.

The decline in male enrollment during the 2020-21 academic year was highest at two-year community colleges. Family finances are believed to be one cause. Millions of women left jobs to stay home with children when schools closed in the pandemic. Many turned to their sons for help, and some young men quit school to work, said Colleen Coffey, executive director of the College Planning Collaborative at Framingham State University in Massachusetts, a program to keep students in school.

“The guys felt they needed to step in quickly,” Ms. Coffey said.

It isn’t clear how many will return to school after the pandemic...

I don't trust this Framingham study. 

I'm at community college. I've been teaching online since March 17th last year. I suspect just as many women have been working outside the home to support their families as have men.

Who know, though? I'd have to see the data.

Either way, boys and young men are indeed getting screwed. Gender identity theory, and whatever other brain dead ideological abominations, have left men high and dry. 

Still more.

Monday, September 6, 2021

Actor Michael K. Williams Found Dead in His New York City Apartment

As they say, life imitates art sometimes, and in this case, it's particularly sad. 

At the New York Post, "‘The Wire’ actor Michael K. Williams found dead in NYC apartment."

It's weird, but I just watched "The Wire" a few weeks back for my first time. Williams plays "Omar," a gangland stickup man, who by far is the most lovable character on the show, if that's the best way to describe him.

He won't soon be forgotten, as apparently he was universally beloved among television fans. 

May he rest in peace. 

Amazing Surf Photography


Click on the photo and notice that dude giving the hang loose sign. 

So wicked.

Happy Labor Day!

Here's to all those hard-working Americans (that is, all of us who actually work, rather than suck at the teat of the sow of the American social welfare state).

On Twitter:

Also, lusty blonde.

And tremendous Tessa.

American Honor

Bernard-Henri Lévy, at the Tablet, "Even in the midst of deep humiliation, there are still signs of the exceptional nation I’ve loved since childhood."

Indian vs. Black: Vigilante Killings Upend South African Town

Ugly down there. 

Just nasty.

At the New York Times, "As rioting and looting swept the country this summer, Indians in the suburb of Phoenix set up roadblocks to police their streets. Dozens of Black people passing through wound up dead":

PHOENIX, South Africa — The blows thundered down — bats, a hammer, a field hockey stick — as Njabulo Dlamini lay curled on the pavement, trying to summon the strength to move.

He and five friends, all of them Black, had been driving in a minibus taxi through the streets of Phoenix, a predominantly Indian suburb created from the forced racial segregation of apartheid South Africa.

A mob surrounded them, dragged them from the taxi, made them lie on the pavement and beat them furiously, according to witnesses and video footage obtained by The New York Times. Some of Mr. Dlamini’s friends managed to escape. Others were chased and beaten again by the crowd, which had been whipped up in recent days by WhatsApp warnings and reports of violence by Black people streaming into their community to loot shopping centers. Mr. Dlamini barely made it across the street. He later died of his injuries at the hospital, his family said.

South Africa was convulsed this summer by some of its worst civil unrest since the end of apartheid. The imprisonment of former President Jacob Zuma for refusing to appear before a corruption inquiry set off violent protests by his supporters. Soon, riots and looting erupted in parts of the country, fed by broad disgust at poverty, inequality and the government’s failure to provide even the most basic services, like water or electricity. Officials have called the violence an insurrection — an attempt to sabotage Mr. Zuma’s rival and successor, President Cyril Ramaphosa, in part by stoking some of the nation’s oldest racial tensions.

Nationwide, more than 340 people died in the mayhem, many in stampedes or circumstances that remain unclear. But government officials have been alarmed by a dynamic that, they say, dangerously undermines the social order: dozens of vigilante killings by ordinary citizens.

The vigilantism was especially pronounced in Phoenix, a working-class community of about 180,000 near the country’s east coast. The country’s police minister said that 36 people there — 33 of them Black — were killed in what some officials are calling a massacre. Fifty-six people have now been arrested in connection with the violence in Phoenix.

“Most of the people who died were innocent people who were traveling,” said Sihle Zikalala, the premier of KwaZulu-Natal province, where Phoenix is.

Mobs of mostly Indian residents, worried that their community was under siege, erected roadblocks on street corners. They indiscriminately stopped Black people, and sometimes beat or killed them, the police said, inflaming the long-fragile relationship between Black and Indian South Africans — two marginalized groups under white apartheid rule.

“We need to confront racism in our society,” Mr. Ramaphosa wrote in a letter to the nation, specifically addressing the Phoenix unrest. “We need to have honest conversations not only about our attitudes to one another, but also about the material conditions that divide us.”

The authorities have been far less open about their roles in the upheaval. Interviews with dozens of Black and Indian residents in the Phoenix area, as well as a review of previously unreported video footage, show that at least some of the violence and deaths could have been prevented if the police had provided basic security...

Five Sailors Dead in Navy Helicopter Crash off San Diego Coast (VIDEO)


At the Sand Diego Union-Tribune, "Navy identifies 5 San Diego sailors killed in helicopter crash off coast":

SAN DIEGO — Five sailors killed when their helicopter crashed on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln and fell into the sea were identified by the Navy on Sunday.

The six-person crew of the MH-60S Seahawk helicopter were conducting routine operations on the flight deck of the carrier Tuesday afternoon when the helicopter crashed.

One of the helicopter’s crew was rescued from the water following the crash and is in stable condition ashore. Five Abraham Lincoln sailors were injured in the crash; two were also taken ashore for treatment.

A three-day search for survivors was called off Saturday morning and the Navy switched to an effort to recover their bodies. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

The sailors killed include two pilots, an aircrewman and two corpsmen, the Navy said. All were attached to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 8, which is based at Naval Air Station North Island.

The Abraham Lincoln also is based at the air station.

The MH-60S helicopter typically carries a crew of about four and is used in missions including combat support, humanitarian disaster relief and search and rescue.

The Seahawk was conducting routine flight operations from the ship when it crashed about 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday. The ship has been conducting exercises off the San Diego coast in preparation for a deployment next year, the Navy has said.

Lt. Sam Boyle, a spokesperson for the San Diego-based 3rd Fleet, said the Navy is making every effort to recover the helicopter and the remains of the sailors.

They are:

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Marc Marano, Green Fraud

At Amazon, Marc Marano, Green Fraud: Why the Green New Deal Is Even Worse than You Think.

About the Climate Change 'Consensus'...

Following-up, "Climate Change Debate."

Climate Change Debate

Longtime readers know I'm a hardcore "climate change" skeptic. (See my earlier post, "The Climate Emergency.")

That said, to me, this current concatenation of violent weather events, from East to West (here in the U.S., not to mention worldwide), reveals something very significant happening with weather patterns and events. 

In my international relations class one year, I showed the Patrick Moore video, which resulted in literally a revolt in the classroom, with students enraged at someone, something, anything that challenged their pre-fed beliefs that the Earth is burning up. 

It was an unpleasant experience. Honestly, it was so bad I hesitate to show that video in class these days, though Moore is exactly right: In science, the key is always skepticism --- and, most importantly, scientists can really never know all the potential causal factors that may result in any particular event, in political science, or climate science, or any field of inquiry. 

Of course, this is the age of "cancel culture," and especially the dominance of leftist indoctrination in the schools, extreme political polarization, and a general postmodern trend toward the rejection of authority, especially among the young. 

In any case, check out this scientific debate today, up at RealClearPolitics:

From Christopher Lingle, at the American Institute for Economic Research, "Climate Science: Seeking Truth or Defending Consensus?"

And from Adam Sobel, at CNN, "This Is a Dystopian Climate Change Moment."

Try to stay safe, dear readers.

Angelique Kerber

At the U.S. Open:

Scott Galloway, Post Corona

At Amazon, Scott Galloway, Post Corona: From Crisis to Opportunity

Thirty-Seven Percent Containment at Lake Tahoe's Caldor Fire (VIDEO)

Extreme weather. All over the country. 

It's really biblical, and, frankly, all you can do sometimes is pray. It's all in His hands.

At the San Jose Mercury News, "Caldor Fire containment jumps to 37% as weather calms":

Friday a ‘monumental day’ for more than 4,500 crews battling blaze.

One week after the Caldor Fire made a terrifying push into the Lake Tahoe basin, a promising shift in weather conditions allowed crews to start gaining sizable containment of the Northern California wildfire that has threatened thousands of homes and forced mass evacuations in two states.

Thanks to cooler, more humid weather conditions, an influx of 1,000 more firefighters and the strengthening of lines on both western and eastern flanks of the fire, crews had contained about 37% of the blaze as of Saturday, more than doubling progress in the past week and evoking a cautious sense of optimism for the first time since the fire broke out in mid-August.

“It’s starting to come together,” said Cal Fire spokesman Capt. Keith Wade. “It seems like big containment jumps, but it’s days and days of work.”

Terror surrounding the blaze’s spread skyrocketed on the evening of Aug. 29, when it roared across the face of Echo Summit, flung embers that set spot fires across Highway 89 and crept down toward the beloved Tahoe Basin, home to more than 40,000 people and the iconic lake. Some 22,000 residents of South Lake Tahoe were ordered to evacuate, creating a massive traffic jam that lasted for hours.

But just two days later — as crews staved off flames from the communities of Christmas Valley and Meyers — a favorable shift in winds arrived before the fire could explode farther northeast, giving more than 4,500 firefighters the chance to clear new firebreaks with dozens of bulldozers, strike down dry trees, lay hoses near homes and drop 500-gallon buckets of water on hotspots.

By Saturday, with 13 large wildfires burning across California, nearly a third of personnel, engines, helicopters and even bulldozers battling the blazes were committed to the Caldor Fire — a massive effort that fire officials say is beginning to pay off. Overnight Friday, the wildfire grew just a few thousand acres to reach 214,017 acres total. High winds that gripped the region last weekend receded Wednesday and remained calmer through the rest of the week, according to the National Weather Service, bringing relief to hand crews charged with stopping spot fires that soared out a mile ahead of the fire and letting helicopters make more water drops. Temperatures meanwhile cooled slightly and humidity rose.

A thick layer of smoke bearing down over the fire also helped to block out the sun and quiet its spread, though it brought air quality to hazardous levels around South Lake Tahoe and blew smoke toward the Bay Area, where the Bay Area Air Quality Management District issued a Spare the Air alert for Sunday...

Still more.