Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: The Problem with America’s Public Schools

 

The experts mean well, but a centralized system cannot possibly have that degree of personal concern for each individual child that we have as parents. The centralization produces deadening uniformity, it destroys the experimentation that is the fundamental source of progress. What we need to do is to enable parents, by vouchers or other means, to have more say about the school which their child goes to, a public school or a private school, whichever meets the need of the child best.

From Milton Friedman.

More text available here.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

I was promised an Apocalypse. Destruction would abound. The economy shut down, there would be death in the streets. Hospitals everywhere would struggle to manage the cases of the disease; beds would line the halls and cots would be placed under tents in the streets. Doctors would fall ill, nurses would succumb to the virus. […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Google And Second City Cop

 

“Is the end near?”. Second City Cop is in Google’s crosshairs. Google may do what Rahm Emanuel-could only dream about: shutting down the Second City Cop Blog.

Second City Cop put the Chicago Police Department, the rest of Chicago government, and the State of Illinois government under the microscope.

Second City Cop certainly had rough edges, at times profane and unsparing, but it was far more honest than the Chicago mainstream media about what was happening in Chicago. Certainly more honest than the States Attorney, mayor, and the alder creatures in Chicago.

From the blog:

Pretty much every social media platform bans anything supporting the police while promoting “protestors,” terrorist organizations and every anti-police whack-job out there. Organized groups are dox-ing cops, threatening our families and anyone who “backs the Blue”….and this is permitted.

We have received a number of warnings from Blogger and had a couple of posts taken down from earlier this summer due to a concerted effort by the CTU for merely pointing out what their members have posted on their social media accounts.

We didn’t manipulate anything. We didn’t lie about what they said. We merely re-posted what they had already broadcast to the world. And our posts were removed.

We’re expecting more of the same after this weekend, so we’re warning the readers that it is very possible as the election nears and the leftist psychoses bubble to the surface more often, you will wake up one day and find the blog severely curtailed…..or missing entirely.

No doubt, some will find that a relief. Others not so much. It is part-and-parcel of the stranglehold major media companies have on the flow of information.

Read it while you can.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. “Goodness” on the Biden Campaign Trail

 

The Biden campaign has decided to ignore policy and ideology. Biden is presented to us as if he just arrived on the scene in his white hat on his white mount: a man of integrity, empathy, and, as uttered by that most eminent of Hollywood caricatures, Judge Elihu Smails, “goodness.” He scolds, he criticizes, he assumes this ludicrous mantle of goodness, and from his high horse, attempts to draw a contrast between himself and the obviously oafish, uncouth, unworthy, orange, Trump.

This is a pretty good pitch, designed to appeal to the white, female, suburban voter. You know the type: she believes herself to be more nuanced than mere partisanship. Left or right, she refuses to see the world in such terms. She may object to abortion, for example, or she may actually believe in limited governance, but she is really frightened of guns and likes her nice neighborhood with its nice schools for her children. She might believe that she is “independent” but she is really just unengaged. If she took the time to study the issues (which she will not; independents like to say they are informed, but what they really are is intellectually lazy) she would likely align far more with Trump than Biden. But she will not. She will vote with her gut. She is malleable, hence the campaign strategy. Biden good. Trump bad.

How should the Trump campaign react to this? Go after Biden on the “goodness” leap. Biden has a long history that defies that claim. Question: How did he manage to become a multi-millionaire as a lifetime politician? What about his brother and his son?

The objective should be this: Expose his ties to racist Democrats, his racist comments, his voting record. Cast a dark shadow on his crowd tested claim of the mantle of “goodness.” Drive a spike in his “everyman” persona. Show the suburban woman voter the touchy, creepy Joe Biden.

Don’t let the Democrats repackage creepy old Joe as some kind of Democrat saint. He’s still the plagiarist, Charlatan, patronizing, corrupt, opportunistic, kinda slow old Joe. It’s time to pierce through the BS and put a real spotlight on the real man and his politics.

Joe Biden belongs in the pond, not the pool.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Hoist Them On Their Own Petard, Betsy!

 

I’m a bit giddy with schadenfreude. It’s probably because I’m a nerd of a lawyer.

Betsy DeVos has been a terrific Secretary of Education. Yesterday, her department sent a letter to the President of Princeton about Princeton’s admission of racism. Here are some excerpts (citations omitted)

Since you became President in 2013, and in exchange for well over $75 million in federal Title IV taxpayer funds alone, Princeton University (“Princeton”) has repeatedly represented and warranted to the U.S. Department of Education (“Department”) Princeton’s compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 . . .. Title VI provides no person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal assistance. Also, Princeton has made many material nondiscrimination and equal opportunity representations to students, parents, and consumers in the market for education certificates during this time.

On September 2, 2020, you admitted Princeton’s educational program is and for decades has been racist. Among other things, you said “[r]acism and the damage it does to people of color persist at Princeton . . .” and “[r]acist assumptions . . . remain embedded in structures of the University itself.” . . . Because of racism, you announced race-based “diversity” measures for hiring, procurement, teaching, fellowship, and research funding.

Based on its admitted racism, the U.S. Department of Education (“Department”) is concerned Princeton’s nondiscrimination and equal opportunity assurances in its Program Participation Agreements from at least 2013 to the present may have been false. The Department is further concerned Princeton perhaps knew, or should have known, these assurances were false at the time they were made. Finally, the Department is further concerned Princeton’s many nondiscrimination and equal opportunity claims to students, parents, and consumers in the market for education certificates may have been false, misleading, and actionable substantial misrepresentations in violation of [federal statute and regulation]. Therefore, the Department’s Office of Postsecondary Education, in consultation with the Department’s Office of the General Counsel, is opening this investigation.

. . .

Based on the facts, the Secretary of Education may consider measures against Princeton for false Program Participation Agreement nondiscrimination assurances, including an action to recover funds. Also, she may consider measures against Princeton for making substantial misrepresentations about the nature of its educational programs, including a fine proceeding. . . .

Wow.

So, your university is racist. Is it, Mr. Princeton President? Then your university lied to the federal government, lied to students, lied to parents, and lied to others, over and over again. Your university repeatedly violated the anti-discrimination law. Give us back all of that federal money, at least $75 million.

An article by the Washington Examiner, which includes the full letter, is here.

The letter demands voluminous records within 21 days, plus answers to written questions, plus the production of the President of Princeton and a corporate representative within 28 days for an interview under oath. A couple of the documents requests are just priceless (if you’re a nerd of a lawyer):

All records concerning, relating to, or referencing Princeton’s “systemic” and/or “embedded” racism, as those terms are used in the President’s Letter. The time frame for this request is January 1, 2013 to the present.

A spreadsheet identifying each person who has, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, been excluded from participation in, been denied the benefits of, or been subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance as a result of Princeton’s racism or “damage” referenced in the President’s Letter.

Then there’s this written question, which must be answered within 21 days:

The President’s Letter admits “Racism and the damage it does to people of color . . . persist(s) at Princeton” and racist assumptions “remain embedded in structures of the University itself.” Do these admissions mean Princeton’s nondiscrimination and equal opportunity assurances and representations to the Department and/or its students, parents, and consumers in the market for education certificates have been false and misleading? If not, why not?

Go Betsy! Strike first, strike hard, no mercy sir!

I hope that this is just the first of many such letters and investigations. I hope that the Department of Education is relentless in demanding refund of money and imposing fines for false statements.

BLM delenda est.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. What a Lazy Morning

 

I got up this morning at 0758, which is later than usual. The reason was the pouring rain and darkness outside (thank you, Sally). The sound of rain hitting the roof and lack of light contributed to my laziness. When I finally made it downstairs, @neutralobserver was in the recliner reading instead of her usual spot at the computer. Then I looked out one of the front windows:

Yep, the rain finally stopped and it’s getting lighter by the minute as I post this. Still, it was one of those mornings where you just don’t feel like doing anything. However, the morning has set the tone for the rest of the day. You can plan your days like this when you’re retired . . .

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Mystery of the Minneapolis Crime Spike

 

Two months ago, the Minneapolis City Council voted to eliminate the police department, and over 100 officers have since quit the force. Yesterday, according to Fox News, the Council grilled Police Chief Medaria Arrandondo demanding to know why there’s been a spike in crimes such as “carjackings, robberies, assaults, shootings and street racing”:

“Residents are asking, ‘Where are the police?’” said Council Member Jamal Osman, noting that constituents’ calls to the Minneapolis Police Department have gone unanswered. “That is the only public safety option they have at the moment. MPD. They rely on MPD. And they are saying they are nowhere to be seen.”

Golly. Where could this crime spree have possibly come from?

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Factional Conservatives

 

My impression of the Conservative movement over the course of the last 80 years is that we have lost our grip on some things and doubled 0ur grip on others. I was once asked to write what I think conservativism is. That was so long ago. The asker is no longer here, but finally I think I can give an answer.

I wrote in a comment recently that I think the modern conservative movement has had inconsistent results because there is an internal argument on what conservatism should look like. I think a lot of that came to a head with the Ahmari vs. French debate, and while I think Ahmari is smarter than French and I agree with him more than I agree with French, both have good points… I think.

There seems to be a few dominant views of conservatism in the mainstream. This is not a labeling exercise. I may point out certain people promote more dominantly one idea, it is not to imply they don’t hold other ideas. It is all about emphasis and priority.

Preserving the capitalistic structure of our economy and protecting our Constitution (and economy) from the threats posed by Communism and Socialism abroad. 

I think this is the Buckley/Reagan version of Conservatism that has been the hegemony of Republican policy throughout the 20th century. It is the neocon branch that has become associated with foreign wars and unlimited immigration as it vacillates between destroying socialism and communism abroad and building up high business domestically and exporting those businesses to the world. If we want to split the baby between the grifters and the true believers, the true believers would be the ones with a genuine goal of exporting the US Constitution to other parts of the world to lift them up. The grifters would be the ones invested in the financial side of it, which undermines the True Believers’ intent by ultimately importing socialism and communism through open immigration and cheap labor.

One of the huge issues with the grifting side of this position is that highly successful businesses are capable of moving to any place in the world, and through policymaking on our Government’s side, compromises can be made with otherwise hostile world powers to give them a place to go. This removes them from a dependence on domestic labor, which ultimately means these companies are not invested in the success of America, but rather in the agreements reached by world powers to allow them to do business wherever they wish. This hollows out the educational institution domestically, as the companies don’t really care how well educated Americans are, they can always find cheaper labor on par with Americans elsewhere.

This is more broadly outwardly focused, but I think that as more American Conservatives believe Socialism and Communism are a top priority realize the problem is domestic, it will shift inward. I don’t think this inward shift is going to be smooth, because, well, let’s just look at the next priority.

Promoting fiscal conservatism through smaller federal government, balanced budgets, and decreased spending.

This, I think, is properly the domain of “Conservatarians.” They have not been successful federally, but have been ascendant when it comes to driving political discourse in the punditocracy with mixed results in congressional elections (thanks to the Tea Party). They have been very successful in driving conservative debate and thought, even if none of their policy goals have been realized at the Federal level. This is where David French resides. Jonah Goldberg, while being sympathetic to conservatarianism, is still predominantly the prior.

As their name would suggest, this is a hybrid of libertarianism and conservatism. I’m not entirely certain in what respect that is, because they lean far heavier to libertarianism while giving lip service to social conservatism – yet never allowing into the political debate. My biggest problem with them is that their focus on the federal government drives their political goals for local politics, as well. This wouldn’t really be a big deal if it wasn’t so passive. Meaning, while Conservatarians promote a small federal government and spend a great deal of thought and words on how that would look at the Federal level, it is just assumed that the same is true for local politics without much thought being put into what that looks like locally.

So the inconsistent result of this predominant thought is that the Federal government ends up being the ultimate focus of the politically engaged, making the Federal government important (where we want to de-emphasize it) and alienates people who are just looking for local policies. That’s fine for rural people to engage in, but there’s much more going on in urban settings, so Republicans are dismissed because they have so few solutions for how small government should look for local politics.

This thinking in conservative ideology will conflict with the first group as it turns its focus inward, because defeating communism and socialism within our own country is primarily a culture war that is trying its hardest (and failing) at avoiding a civil war. Because its focus is less on foreign policy and limited government, but on social policy, there will be internal conflict – both within the party AND within the individuals who make up the party.

Social conservatism doesn’t need much explaining because everyone knows what we mean. Traditionalists who seek to uphold cultural values through political policy.

Here’s where Ahmari really comes in. He is likely one of the first group who has turned inward and sees a cascading preference in domestic politics for communism and socialism that has been seen as an external threat for most of his primary school education. He has witnessed its growth in his peer group in schools, entertainment, and social media for decades. He’s bound and determined to make Social Conservatism Great Again, much to the consternation of the conservative powerhouses that dominate conservative think tanks, because he thinks it is the only real threat to domestic communism and socialism. (He’s my age!)

Social conservatism is the original Conservatism, upholding tradition as foundational to building a successful, stable, prosperous, and free civilization. Edmund Burke is the long-forgotten poster child. Unfortunately, it’s also the brand of conservatism that everyone else is embarrassed to acknowledge. Social Conservatism is the group no politico actually wants but can’t get elected without. So social conservatives have lived with empty promises and lies for a long time. Interestingly, I think Ben Shapiro falls pretty solid in with this group more than the others, but his conservatarianism keeps him on a tight leash. I am predominately a Social Conservative (“Surprise!” says absolutely no one). I do, however, have strong libertarian leanings. They are greatly diminishing, though, as I agree with Ahmari that the only way to curb growing communism and socialism in this country without a civil war is through sound, domestic, social policy.

If we think that social conservatism is the bastard child of Conservatism, this next one is the black sheep of the family:

Promoting State sovereignty, local politics, and de-emphasizing, shrinking, and weakening of Federal power.

Hello, Trump. No, really. He fits here. He is a classic democrat, but he is a classic democrat who de-emphasizes presidential power. He uses his power decisively where it is constitutionally derived, yet obeys the courts. He does not impress one policy goal on all of the states. He gives the states room to work out their issues. Some of us might argue he has done too good a job on that, as he still refuses to step into state politics on behalf of the people suffering under their tyrannical governors and mayors.

No one likes acknowledging that state rights are a part of the foundation of the constitution. It’s embarrassing because it was a tool used to protect slavery, so defending state rights feels like a conflict. But should it?

While it is the least of all the brands of conservative thought, I think this is the one where everything comes together. By promoting state sovereignty, Conservatarians can have a way of belittling federal government, curbing its spending, and shifting focus away from it so it is no longer the most important institution in the land. By shifting focus to local governments, perhaps we can forge new policy goals for urban centers that embrace small government goals and demonstrate how they can make life better for urban life. State sovereignty and emphasis on local politics also limits social conservatism, allowing people to forge locally the culture they wish to have while letting other people in other areas to pursue a completely different kind of culture and social policy. It also weakens the drive behind communism and socialism in this country, as pursuing state sovereignty gives them 50 targets instead of one singular target that can be utilized to force all 50 states into communism and socialism. Being smaller, they are more likely to fail faster and can be rebuilt faster.

While this is still a fringe view (in spite of its origins), I think it is gaining in conservative thought.

I am not of the opinion that there is unresolvable conflict between these thought clusters. The same person can hold every one of these views and remain internally consistent (except maybe exporting the US Constitution to foreign countries via war…). But I do think we need to extend each other some grace in these arguments and discussions, and let the debate continue and grow and reform so we can tackle the new challenges laid before us in our modern times. We do need a vision and a goal.

Perhaps part of this debate should focus on when does bottom-up governance turn into top-down? If the people are the government, through democratically elected representatives, then at what point have we crossed the line into forcing ourselves onto our fellow countrymen? When is the majority violating the rights of the minority and when is the minority asserting undeserved authority over the majority?

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Which Story Will Last?

 

“I am specifically concerned with fiction because that is what I write. There is a certain embarrassment about being a storyteller in these times when stories are considered not quite as satisfying as statements and statements not quite as satisfying as statistics; but in the long run, a people is known, not by its statements or its statistics, but by the stories it tells.”* — Flannery O’Connor, 1957

As I mentioned at the beginning of the month, I’m quoting Flannery O’Connor this month because an effort has begun to “cancel” her, which is not surprising as she was a Catholic in good standing who supported what is good in Western Culture and the Christian faith. (Along with being one of the great writers of the 20th century.)

I found the above quote interesting because I don’t believe it is any longer true, the first part of it anyway. In the mid-20th century, the leaders of opinion wanted to believe they were driven by just “the facts” and reason. Stories didn’t matter.

As much as the left talks about “science” these days, it has become very clear that they, perhaps all of us, are led by narratives, by stories. But while the left believes in the daydreams they made up in their heads the day before yesterday, born of jealousy, sloth, and spite, the right is trying to hold on to the stories of old; of Moses and St. Paul and Shakespeare and Adam Smith and Washington and Lincoln and Martin Luther King. We will see soon whose Story of America is remembered.

* From “In the Protestant South,” an essay in Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose, a collection of various writings of Flannery O’Connor.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A Quote from Rush, and a Never-Trumper Considers Voting for Trump

 

This is a scary quote from Rush’s show yesterday:

I think if the Democrats win, then it’s hello one-party rule, and it is one-party rule of a bunch of Marxists and Leninists and uber-left wing radicals who are not interested in a two-party system. They don’t believe in opposition. There is no legitimate opposition. Black Lives Matter operates that away. Antifa operates that way. The Democrat Party operates that way. There’s no reason to have debate. There’s no legitimate opposition.

They don’t want to have to go to the trouble of winning hearts and minds. They don’t want to have to persuade people to agree with them. They’re gonna use force to make people agree them, force, intimidation, threats. It’s how they’re doing it now, how they’re doing it in these cities that they’re burning and looting and so forth. They are literally manipulating and intimidating and frightening people. And there’s no discussion of issues.

This led into a story about a staunch never-Trumper who finally gets it.

Although Ms. Pletka hasn’t committed to vote for Trump yet, the fact she is seriously considering it should make other never-Trumpers question whose side they are really on . . .

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. If I Had Been a Jew in Eishyshok. . .

 

It’s not often I claim I’ve read a book that has changed my life. But this one did. And I thank @ontheleftcoast for telling me about it. Although I have studied the Holocaust over the years, I had never read a story about life in the shtetl, a small town with primarily Jewish residents in Eastern Europe.

This book, There Once was a World, was written by Yaffa Eliach, whose parents were Moshe and Zipporah Sonenson. This family, prosperous in Eishyshok terms, was also a pillar of the community, generous, compassionate, learned, and devoted to Judaism. The book also provided stories of individuals and families, and descriptions of Jewish life, from Torah study to the requirements of the faith.

The reason I was moved so deeply by the book was that, unlike many stories I have read about the Holocaust, with all its tragedies, human depravity, and horror, I had never read so many stories of individuals in one community: people with names, personalities, duties, and devotion to the Torah. Their lives, unlike the Jews in other urban cities in Europe, were difficult and demanding.

In the more recent years of Eishyshok’s existence, especially in the 19th century, many Jews were drawn to the opportunities of the United States and Israel; emigrating to Israel was, of course, the dream of many Jews. Some of them traveled back and forth to the shtetl; others brought their families to join them.

But in reading the book, there was no escaping the devastation that the town was finally forced to endure. Throughout the book were photographs of men, women, and children whom I’d gotten to know through their stories. I began to realize that most of the photos had descriptions that included, “Murdered in the massacre of Eishyshok.” A part of me wanted to skip over those descriptions, but I simply could not. I realized that these people whom I had gotten to know were going to die in a terrible ordeal; these many years later I was bearing witness to their tragedy.

By 1939, word of the Nazis and their atrocities was arriving in Eishyshok. Some Jews refused to believe they were in danger because during and after World War I, the Germans had treated them decently (from their perspective). Others simply refused to leave friends and family. So, on September 25 and 26, 1941 first men, then women and children, were forced by the Nazis to walk to the Old Cemetery, where deep trenches had been built previously to keep out the cattle. It took two days to kill all of the people, creating massive graves in those trenches, which filled to overflowing. Ultimately, with Jews from other villages, 5,000 people were killed.

Some people did miraculously escape the slaughter, and even survived the war in hiding.

As I meditated on this story, it reminded me of the many other stories I’ve heard of Jews who assumed they would be safe where they were living, who assumed that their neighbors and surrounding villages would not harm them and even provide sanctuary for them.

They were wrong.

* * *

So, two major questions have come up for me: what would I have done if I’d lived in Eishyshok? Would I have left for the US or Israel well before the danger? Would I have lined up with the others who were shot to death? Would I have tried to escape, find a home with a non-Jewish family (many of whom betrayed their friends)? Would I have tried to live in the forest and dodge the pursuing army? Would I have become a partisan?

The second question that I contemplate today is if I thought I was in danger, where I live in these times, what would I do? How imminent would the danger need to be for me to be seriously concerned? Would there need to riots in my town? In my community? Would there need to be shootings? Would I leave? Would I fight back?

I don’t know how imminent and far-ranging the danger will become in the US from riots and violence carried out by nihilists, Marxists, and others. But having led a life of peace and prosperity, only to discover that my life, my family, and friends were in danger, what would I do?

What would you do?

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

Retired Lt. Colonels, John Nagel and Paul Yingling, submitted and open letter on Defense One calling for General Mark Milley to remove Donald Trump in a coup, if he refuses to leave office on January 20, 2021, apparently regardless of the outcome of the 2020 election. Colonel Richard H. Black, JAG Corps, USA (ret.), a […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A Strong, Intelligent Woman

 

Ben Shapiro commented on a Twitter post from a woman who decided that hysterically screaming obscenities was a good thing to share with everyone. Someone purporting to be a doctor apparently thinks that hysterically screaming obscenities is the definition of strength and intelligence:

I especially enjoy her response to some of the, um, negative feedback she got for that:

I would think that a medical doctor would know that “paralegal” is not a handicap. Hang on a minute. . .

Obviously, you don’t want to get your Ph.D. in PairUHD Oppression Lit from Northworst University. I also see that she identifies as a white POC. Well, good for her.

Swimming in the open sewer is such fun.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Some Biden Questions

 

Some questions for Joe Biden and also, perhaps, for his supporters.

  1.  Why do we never see a wide camera shot of the audience at a Biden campaign event? I suspect it would be an embarrassment to the campaign in that it would confirm the lack of people or the lack of enthusiasm for the candidate. The fact that Joe can read a speech off the prompter and you never hear a reaction might be a giveaway that there may not be an audience.
  2.  Will any reporter ever call his refusal to answer questions what it is, cowardice or fear to expose himself and his departing faculties?
  3.  Will he ever give an unbiased reporter a sit-down interview? By that, I mean someone other than Stephanopolous, Todd, or Tapper (all former Dem operatives) or sometime commentators like Cardi B.
  4. Has anyone ever said that the Democratic Party needs to lose big in order to reinvent the party of Truman, Scoop Jackson, Sam Nunn, Moynihan, or any patriotic blue dog? Isn’t it true that should Biden win (God forbid), we will be told it was due to the progressive support? If he loses, won’t we be told that the party needs to become even more progressive?
  5. Biden told a bizarre story to his veterans’ meeting Tuesday. He said a Marine vet suffering from a brain injury got into his Dodge Ram truck, ran down a woman and her dog, killed her, loaded the woman into the truck, drove her to a sand pile, and then molested her. Beside the impression that we should fear vets (by the way, I am a vet, though not a wartime vet), has anyone ever heard this story before? I haven’t and I tried to find it on the internet but couldn’t. I won’t say it is just Joe being Joe, but I remain skeptical. Does anyone know if this happened? Anyone?
    If any Ricochetti has any answers, I await them.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. President Trump Proves Democrats are Anti-Peace

 

PeaceTuesday, the United States, headed by the efforts of the Trump Administration, ushered in a new era of Arab-Israeli peace. A pair of historic agreements formalized diplomatic relations between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain marked a major geopolitical shift in the Middle East that was previously considered nearly unthinkable. It was especially notable for President Trump, whom many in the elite political sphere of global politics and the upper echelons of the ambassador class of Washington DC consider a dimwitted rube.

The first treaty and establishment of normalized relations between Israel and an Arab country was Egypt in 1979. The next was Jordan in 1994. Tuesday marked the passing of 26 years for more nations to join, and momentum is building for a wave of nations to join agreements establishing a new alliance for peace and stability in the Middle East. Aside from the momentous historical significance, it indisputably proved the Democrats and their circus-clown jesters in the media are against peace in the Middle East and are hostile foes to Israel.

Lately, the cable news outlets, excluding Fox News, have not covered live events at the White House nor the President’s speeches. But the enormity of the Abraham Accords couldn’t justify ignoring them. So how did the media choose to cover this “pivot of history” that “heralds a new dawn of peace” as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it? CNN covered the White House ceremony with a picture of the White House South Lawn framed for their ongoing COVID fear-hysterics with the graphic “White House Event with Large Crowd, Little Social Distancing.”

The foreign policy “experts” responded by trying to out-do each other with bad takes. Max Boot replayed one of his “Orange Man Bad” Greatest Hits columns, headlined, “Despite the UAE-Israel deal, Trump will leave the Middle East an even bigger mess than he found it.” The New York Times ran with “President Trump said the agreements to normalize relations were ‘the dawn of a new Middle East,’ but some analysts said his claims were overblown.”

But this is predictable, considering everything Trump advocates creates such a strong, opposing knee-jerk reaction, frankly I wouldn’t be surprised if Democrats are actually socially distancing just to keep from kicking each other. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi dismissed the agreements as just a “distraction” by the President from the COVID pandemic and went on to complain further that the Palestinian issue wasn’t addressed.

This absurdity from the left is a natural progression considering the Trump Administration achieved undeniable foreign policy success the way he has done it in other aspects of his Presidency: very unconventionally. And nothing makes the permanent bureaucracy and unelected policy makers and wisdom-wielders angrier than an outsider coming in and beating them at their own game. He defied all the pollsters and political insiders who said he would never be President (including the occupant of the White House at the time). And he just proved it again on Tuesday.

Two years ago, Trump’s critics told us his decision to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would end any chance for peace. When the region didn’t spontaneously combust like they predicted, the criticism was conveniently memory-holed. Fast-forward to recent months when the current agreement was negotiated. Many tried to convince themselves and their colleagues in the DC echo chamber that Jared Kushner, an essential figure in the negotiations, was in over his head. Some even attacked him personally, alluding to anti-Semitic tropes. They were certain the administration would fail because they didn’t approach it using the same failed policies. Imagine that!

No one could envision the success of this agreement because the Washington establishment is too entrenched in trying to accomplish new peace by old means. Previous administrations took a duel-sided approach, thinking peace and stability in the region must mean and Israeli agreement tied to the Palestinians. But why should such an approach cater to a regime (Palestine) that doesn’t want peace? Why include a regime that demands everything and negotiates nothing? Why would Democrats invalidate the success of an agreement that sidesteps the inhibitor of decades of potential peace in the region? Because they cannot stand the idea that a brokered deal cedes their argument that the Palestinian regime is not morally or politically on equal standing with Israel – or even other Arab nations in the region. Peace is nothing more than a political token, and if President Trump is the one dealing, they must be against it.

We will have to see what the next days and weeks bring to the future of Israel, the Middle East, and the anti-Israel personalities in the Democratic Party. If the pattern holds, Trump success on this issue has the potential for a major meltdown from the likes of Congresswomen Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and leftist activist Linda Sarsour. It knocks members of the Obama Administration on their heels as they see their crowning achievement, the Iran deal, crumble before their eyes.

Obama’s betrayal of Israel by implementing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran, forced the Arab states to favor who they thought would be a stronger force in the region. It widened the gap between potential peace and a regional offset of the tyrannical Iranian regime. In contrast, President Trump withdrew from the JCPOA. It allowed for brokered deals independent of both Iran and Palestinian Authority demands and threats, so Arab states could negotiate in their best interest – favoring the modern, regional strength of Israel. But seeing one’s legacy destroyed, no matter how disastrous, can lead to political oddities. For Ben Rhodes, the architect of the Iran deal, it leads him to condemn peace and double-down on the insistence that Iran will be emboldened, even as they are further alienated it the region.

It’s worth keeping in mind which side of history the Democrats fall on this issue. Keep this in mind as Joe Biden insists that exiting the JCPOA was a mistake. Keep this in mind with each move towards peace in the Middle East, the Democrats hate it more and more.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Hurricane Country

 

Why live on a coast prone to devastating hurricanes?

My grandparents lived for a time about a quarter mile from the famous Flora-Bama. The bar divides Alabama (Gulf Shores) and Florida (Perdido Key). A quarter mile is a long walk in the sand after some drinks, by the way.

Perdido Key is the quieter side — more families, fewer shops and restaurants. Gulf Shores is more popular with college kids because of the bars. But the birds and the dolphins don’t know the difference.

Perdido Key is a barrier island, like Galveston. Left entirely to nature, it would move with the currents and possibly disappear. One hurricane buried our deck and let us jump off the balcony. Another sucked the sand away.

That’s something people love about the ocean: it’s different every day. A fisherman or shell collector can expect anything. Storms dredge up stuff from deeper water for beachgoers to enjoy.

Cousins, aunts and uncles, great aunts and uncles, third cousins, friends, and adoptions gathered every year at that house until a hurricane finally picked it up and placed it on the road. C’est la vie.

It has been a while since I’ve been back. But, rain or shine, that shore will always be my home away from home.

The closest we get to paradise on earth isn’t an endless peace. It’s renewal.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Lest We Forget

 

The diplomatic idiocy and epic foreign policy failures of the Obama administration and preceding globalist Republicans that helped to set the Middle East on fire should be presented to the American people every day before the election. Never forget.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Pegasus: Book Three in the Modern War Series

 

Ricochet friends, it’s finally ready. My new book, Pegasus, releases on September 29th. Many of you played a major role in making this a reality, from technical expertise, story ideas, editorial advice and in providing contacts to veterans I never would have had access to. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this book; there were many.

You can pre-order the Kindle version now at Amazon, or if you are a wholesaler you may pre-order it through Ingram in paperpack or hardcover. Net Galley members can request advance copies for review. Pegasus is the third book in a four-book series that began with Beyond the Golden Hour and The Stars and Their Places.

Thanks again,

Vince

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Question for My Lefty Friends?

 
The Left has created the conditions for dozens of needless deaths, for the reduction of primarily black neighborhoods to a smoldering ruin, for the demoralization and departure of hundreds of police officers from the neediest neighborhoods, skyrocketing murder rates in vulnerable communities. As if all this weren’t achievements enough, #Black Lives Matter/Antifa activists have at last undertaken the work of trashing monuments to the men and moments that are deeply offensive to those whose feelings, as well as lives, matter.
 
It began with monuments to Confederate soldiers, but as Donald Trump predicted (to loud ridicule, at the time) it didn’t end there. Statues depicting George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Francis Scott Key, Phillip Schuyler, Ronald Reagan, Polish Revolutionary War hero Thaddeus Kosciuszko, Andrew Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant, Kit Carson, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, abolitionists Hans Christian Heg and Matthias Baldwin, Christopher Columbus, San Junipero Sera, Juan de Onate, Theodore Roosevelt, John Breckenridge Castleman, the Virgin Mary, Jesus, Mahatma Gandhi, and, for some reason, an elk have all been subjected to defacement or destruction in the name of black victims of white police violence. 
 
Across the nation, hammers, burning rags, ropes, crowbars, and red paint have been deployed against monuments commemorating Union veterans (including the monument to the all-black 54th Massachusetts Regiment) police officers killed in the line of duty, 9/11 firefighters, female pioneers, women’s progress, soldiers and sailors, WWI veterans and the victims of the Armenian Genocide.
 
There is a reasonable debate to be had about the wisdom or necessity of removing monuments to Confederate soldiers and, yes, there are likely good people to be found on both sides of it. But now that such debate has been foreclosed by direct, revolutionary action, the (partial) list above begs a more important question for anyone who is enthusiastically or even vaguely supporting the protesters.
 
 What is the limiting principle in the Woke iconoclasm?
 
I ask, because Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington, DC, recently embraced the conclusions of a city working group she’d tasked with evaluating whether statues and memorials in the city should be removed or contextualized if the historical figures they represent participated in “slavery, systemic racism, mistreatment of, or actions that suppressed equality for, persons of color, women and LGBTQ communities and violation of the DC Human Rights Act.”
If that is, indeed, the mainstream bar to clear, it explains why poor old Frederick Douglass and the 54th Massachusetts were targeted. For all their undoubted Blackness and astonishing courage, who knows what evil thoughts those guys might have had about transgendered bathrooms? Indeed, it is difficult to think of a public figure at any time up ’til the present who could be sure of passing muster with Muriel & Co, including Barack Obama or Bernie Sanders.
 
It is possible that many of my fellow Unitarian Universalists are okay with the beheading of statues of Jesus. Not (just) because Jesus makes us kind of uncomfortable, but because a statue is just a statue! It’s just “stuff.”  A UU believes (and should), along with the Reverend Erik Carlson of Kenosha, that his century-old UU church building, very nearly a casualty of the mostly-peaceful social justice arsonists, was as nothing compared with the police shooting of Jacob Blake. 
 
“We’d rather lose 100 buildings than one more life to police violence,” the church website virtuously proclaimed. Of course, thanks to the quick action of passersby (if not, you know, God) Rev. Carlson and his congregation did not lose their building, though the car dealership next door was burned to cinders. Scrolling through the website, I found no sympathetic mention of this loss, no prayers for the owner or employees, nor links to fundraisers with suggestions to donate.
 
Unitarian Universalists, I should admit here, are overwhelmingly drawn from the middle to upper-middle classes, which may explain the insouciance when it comes to material possessions. “Just stuff,” they say, with the smugness of those who find “stuff,” even whole buildings, easy to come by. Since UUs are also mostly left-leaning Democrats, they understand it to be the government’s job, not theirs, to look after burned-out neighbors. “We care about the building, but we care about people way more,” Rev. Carlson assured reporters. Well… some people. 
 
If you count yourself a progressive; if there’s a Black Lives Matter sign in your yard; if the mostly-peaceful, though astonishingly destructive protests seem to you an understandable or even justified response to the racism you agree is “systemic” in America; if you agree with Rev. Carlson that random car dealerships and old church buildings—even ones with “Black Lives Matter” signs out front—are perfectly legitimate targets for Woke outrage… then what do you, personally, believe is, or at least ought to be, the limiting principle on that violence?
 
After all, I dimly recall a certain shared horror in UU land at the Taliban’s destruction of the ancient, priceless Bamiyan Buddhist statues in Afghanistan back in 200l. This, despite the undeniable fact that Afghan Muslims found those statues outrageously offensive. 
 
Are there objects you feel should be spared destruction even if they offend people? How confident are you that today’s activists would agree with, or at least respect, your (or any) boundaries?
 
For example: How do you feel about the “mere stuff” that fills the National Gallery or the Metropolitan Museum of Art? 
 
Folks, if any public institution is systemically racist inside and out, it’s an art museum. These are white-designed buildings filled with the work of white, old, white, un-woke white, cis-gendered white men—and what work! Heteronormative, culturally-appropriative Western colonialist capitalist hegemony enshrined in paint and canvas, marble and clay, and funded, curated, managed, and patronized and enjoyed by overwhelmingly white people. 
 
Don’t think the Woke haven’t noticed. There have already been public calls for the “restructuring” or abolition of museums in the name of racial justice. It’s just a matter of time before the same logic that leads activists to try to burn down the historic St. John’s Church in Washington, DC compels violence against these and other, similar cultural institutions.
 
Should activists whose legitimate outrage led them to destroy a statue of an elk be expected to spare the paintings of Giotto, Goya, van Gogh, Giacometti or Georgia O’Keefe? If Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass were not excused, how can we be sure that Winslow Homer or Mary Cassatt won’t turn out to have “participated in slavery, systemic racism, mistreatment of or actions that suppressed equality for persons of color, women and LGBTQ communities…” or that they would not, today, be found to have somehow violated the DC Human Rights Act? 
 
As it happens, throughout most of this historic, transformative, George Floyd/Jacob Blake/assorted (armed/overdosing/woman beating/murderous/suicidal) victimized black males protest period, the “just stuff” at America’s major museums has been protected—thanks to COVID-19—behind locked doors
 
But the doors will open. And the Woke will enter in. 
 
They’ve already laid the groundwork. They’ve made the usual demands——more Black representation on boards, more rich-college-student internships for Black rich college students, more money for Black artists, more condescending fawning and puffery instead of criticism for Black art plus the removal of works claimed to have appropriated Black themes and techniques (goodbye Picasso!) and the repatriation of various artifacts looted from Egypt and Africa by white Colonialists. 
 
Recent history suggests, however, that one demand, if met, merely and inevitably cues the next. Since museums are filled with words and images, and words and images (in their presence or absence) are defined as “violence,” retaliatory violence is always on the table. 
 
Of course, there will be guards in place at the Metropolitan Museum, and alarm systems linked to the city police department. But is that a good thing, given that we’re talking about the same racist, brutal (and increasingly demoralized and depopulated) police departments that the social-democratic mayor has already signaled his willingness to abolish?
 
Well, and why, when we are in the midst of the transformative work of “re-imagining public safety” should brutal, racist police be paid to forcibly defend the treasures of a cis-gendered, heteronormative, patriarchal white Western history and culture against angry black-and-brown people and their more numerous white “allies?”
 
F— Michaelangelo! F— Degas! F— the British Wing and f— the Asian Wing too (Asians are white-adjacent after all). Behead those medieval Mary-and-Jesus figures, their heads and toes rubbed shiny by a million tender human touches, slash the Byzantine altarpieces, smash the Greek and Roman statues, make a pyre of DaVinci drawings and Durer prints and burn upon it an effigy of Donald Trump in the rotunda. We would rather lose a hundred Monets than one more life to police violence!
 
Right?
 
If not…why not? 

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

Here are links to three posts over at RushBabe49.com, dealing with various aspects of our time in SD with the Ricochet group. We had a great time, and I will be doing a couple of more posts with more photos, from SD and the other states we visited on our way to and from there. […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. 80 Years Ago Today: ‘The Battle of Britain’

 

Today is the 80th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain Day. After France fell on June 22, 1940 Hermann Gőring promised Hitler that all that he needed was four intensive days of bombing Britain to be able to support an invasion. Britain had been bombed since July, but the big day for the knockout blow was to be on September 15, 1940. Goering came to the cliffs of Cap Blanc-Nez near Calais to watch his bombers and fighters fly to Britain. In the morning Germany sent hundreds of its bombers and fighters and the RAF fought them off. That was only a prelude. In the afternoon, Germany sent even more of its bombers and fighter against southern England.

Winston Churchill was observing the dispatching RAF from Fighter Command operations center in Uxbridge. He asked, “What other reserves have we?” The understated response was “There are none.” The RAF had committed all of its planes to defend Britain. That day, the report was that Britain had shot down 186 German planes at a cost of only 26 planes. The bombings continued, but the RAF had broken the back of the German bombing of Britain as a prelude to invasion. Never again could the Germans throw so many planes at England; the RAF would match them plane for plane. The planned invasion of 1940 was put off until the next year, but after “Lend Lease” was passed by Congress and FDR was re-elected, in 1941 Germany instead attacked the Soviet Union, taking all of Hitler’s attention. The RAF had saved Britain from invasion.

Churchill said of the RAF, “Never have so many owed so much to so few.”

Today is the 80th Anniversary of that turning point in the war, which is celebrated in the UK as The Battle of Britain Day. God bless Winston Churchill and the RAF and their undaunted courage.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

New Brunswick NJ Sunday 1AM Just outside Rutgers University, there was a dispute at a house party. Some one or some group objected to paying the $7 entry fee. A few minutes later a car pulled up outside. Four individuals jumped out and opened fire. Seconds later, 8 party-goers were shot…2 fatally. The shooters hopped […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. All Lives Matter

 

People who think that phrase is racist are confused and are falling for the same fictions that are tearing the country apart.

America is not a racist country any more than America is an arsonist country, or a child-abuser country, or a wife-beater country, or a serial-killer country. America isn’t defined by any of those things, though all of those things are present, to a small degree, in America.

America is defined by something else, something that is noble and good and, to our collective shame, no longer taught in our schools. America is defined by the idea that all of us matter. To make that idea real, to make it the legally protected reality in America, took two centuries and cost hundreds of thousands of American lives. But it’s reality now: all Americans matter. All lives matter.

How is it that so many now believe that any significant portion of America doesn’t believe that all lives matter? Why do so many hold to the fiction that America suffers from institutional racism, that black Americans are “systematically targeted for destruction,” as the hateful bigots of the Black Lives Matter organization put it?

They believe it because they’re ignorant. We stopped teaching an honest history of America decades ago, replacing any attempt at historical accuracy with angry and distorted revisionist claptrap that reimagines America as an evil empire, that denies two centuries of hard but successful progress toward equality and shared prosperity, and that pollutes our children’s minds with a myth of endless oppression and suffering.

America entrusted her children to a class of professional educators, and then failed to notice or intercede when those educators and their bloated administrative bureaucracies, through their own ignorance and foolishness, betrayed that trust.

And so we have the fools of Antifa and Black Lives Matter, angry ignorant hate-filled people who don’t understand the country they’re burning down, nor the roles they could play as responsible citizens if only they’d set aside their resentment and reject the myth of victimization with which they’ve been indoctrinated.

All lives matter. If you think that’s racist we should talk, because you understand neither what racism is nor what America is, and the things you believe are holding people back and tearing people down. And it doesn’t have to be that way.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Republicans Fight for a Fair Election

 

The Democrats have a lot of nerve. While they are busy announcing that Trump will not leave the White House if he loses the election (just another way he’s baited them), the Democrats are going all out to make sure that nothing gets in the way of a Democrat victory. But the Republicans are not sitting by quietly while the Democrats run all over them: they are fighting aggressively to make sure that the election is a fair one.

What are the Democrats doing to ensure a fair election?

Various groups and citizens across the country, meanwhile, are seeking via lawsuits to push back the mail-in voting deadlines set by state governments, arguing that existing deadlines are too stringent and will result in the effective disenfranchisement of voters who don’t submit their ballots early enough.

Several lawsuits have been brought or supported by groups associated with notable Democrat politicians.

Among them are a series of three suits brought by the National Redistricting Foundation, a litigation group associated with the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, a political action committee headed by former Obama Administration Attorney General Eric Holder.

For a description of the suits, you can go here.

The Democrats seem to think that the longer they can drag out receiving and counting mail-in ballots, the better chance their candidate has to win. Otherwise, they would urge citizens to ask for their ballots well in advance of November 3 and meet deadlines that would ensure their ballots are received in plenty of time.

The lawsuits are piling up :

As of August 31, there have been at least 245 coronavirus election cases filed in 45 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, according to Justin Levitt, a professor at Loyola Law School, who has been tracking the disputes that seek to shape the election rules. He says he started counting the cases a few months ago.

But the Republicans have rallied their supporters and are not taking these lawsuits lying down. The Trump campaign is sending a detailed questionnaire to election officials to track the mail-in ballot process. Here are a couple of examples:

More than 1,800 municipal clerks in Wisconsin received a document in recent weeks that state officials said looked at first glance like a public records request, but that was actually a document from the Trump Victory team seeking data, according to Reid Magney, spokesman for the Wisconsin Elections Commission.

And in Georgia, county officials received a 59-question document from the President’s reelection team that probed how that state’s mail-in system will be structured at every level. One question on the list, obtained by CNN, even asked if there’s a way to tell if a ballot was sent by a Democrat or Republican.

The Wisconsin questionnaire, a copy of which was obtained by CNN, raises questions about whether remote voting processes are trustworthy.

The Trump campaign has earmarked $20 million for litigation, and they’re trying to enlist 50,000 volunteers to monitor polling places. And they are determined, no matter how many lawsuits and how long it takes, to end up with fair results:

‘Democrats have filed one crazy lawsuit after another in 18 states across the country, working to undermine the integrity of our election,’ Matthew Morgan, Trump 2020 general counsel, said in a statement to CBS News. ‘They believe they can sue their way to victory and there’s no telling what other shenanigans Democrats will pull once polling locations are open. Republicans will be ready to make sure the polls are being run correctly, securely, and transparently as we work to deliver the free and fair election Americans deserve.’

I despise lawsuits. But I also believe in a fair fight.

The Trump campaign is ready for a fight.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

This is a good news and maybe bad news post. First, the good news: https://www.foxnews.com/us/lancaster-protesters-bail-alleged-riots Okay. Throwing the book at violent people WRT bail is a good thing. The bad news is, who will post bail? George Soros? BLM? Antifa, Inc.? Keep tabs on what happens . . .

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