Daniel Kovalik, who teaches international human rights law at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, argues in a recent op-ed for The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that U.S. media coverage of Venezuela “ignores the fact” that the U.S. is the “greatest impediment to democracy” in Venezuela and “throughout Latin America.”
Kovalik asserts that the “true patriots” of Venezuela “resent” the “devastating economic sanctions” imposed by the U.S., claiming that a vote for current socialist President Nicolás Maduro “was a vote against U.S. meddling” in the country’s affairs.
“Venezuela’s electoral system…is an inspiring process that guarantees one person, one vote, and includes multiple auditing procedures to ensure a free and fair election,” Kovalik claims.
Liberalism: Credulity wrapped in illogic dunked in outrage disguised as virtue .
People who don’t understand Trump, don’t understand what he’s doing with Korea. There’s no written agreement. There’s no procedure for verification. We gave away too much and received too little. It’s a disaster!
Calm down. Trump is a real estate developer. This is standard operating procedure. Say anything, promise anything, to get the customer committed to the deal. After that, we hammer out the details. The final agreement may look nothing at all like the initial offer, but it’ll fly because we’re all committed to the deal.
Same technique as selling a used car. Go ahead, sit in it. Drive it around the block. Look at the great tread left on the tires. Feel the cushy seats. You look good in that car. You want it, don’t you? Why not, you deserve it. And the payments, so affordable. Can we do this? Sure, we can.
Trump took the first step at getting North and South committed to a deal, some deal, any deal, something to break the stalemate, something to take to their own people and claim as a victory. Hey Kim, maybe you’d like to own a hotel on the beach? Put your name up in lights? Sure, we can do that, as part of the deal. Ever eaten at McDonalds? Come on, every major city has a McDonalds. We’ve got to get your city into World Class, we’ve got to get you a McDonalds. Can we do this? Sure we can. All part of the deal . . . .
Give the man time to do his thing.
The left calls Trump “not presidential”. And they’re not wrong.
But the big problem seems to be that he’s “not like a politician”.
The mayor of London has clearly solved all of their real problems:
If I lived in London, I would start by writing a biography of every woman that was stabbed in the past year, now that London’s violent crime rate has surpassed New York City’s for the first time in history.
The killing comes on top of a deepening scandal and calls for a full-blown parliamentary investigation over allegations that civil servants may have granted asylum to as many as 1,000 migrants in exchange for money — and that some of those migrants may have been criminals or even terrorism suspects.
What? A smothering “benevolent” social welfare state nurtures corruption?
I’m going to have to absorb this for a bit.
The murder suspect, identified as Ali Bashar, a 20-year-old Iraqi, arrived in Germany in October 2015, shortly after Ms. Merkel opened the borders to hundreds of thousands of migrants. He was rejected in late 2016, but was allowed to stay in the country while his appeal was pending.
“If he had been deported, she would still be alive,” read a headline in the country’s largest tabloid, Bild, which devoted two pages to the case.
He came to the attention of the police several times, involving allegations of jostling a police officer, robbing a passer-by and carrying a knife.
Why, it’s almost as if letting hundreds of thousands of people into cultures like Germany and France and Sweden that are culturally unadapted to assimilating people (even if they want to be assimilated).
There is a Roman Empire-like sameness throughout Europe in fashion, popular culture, and government protocol — a welcome change from the deadly fault lines of 1914 and 1939.
Yet, as in the waning days of Rome, there is a growing uncertainly beneath the European calm.
The present generation has inherited the physical architecture and art of a once-great West — cathedrals, theaters, and museums. But it seems to lack the confidence that it could ever create the conditions to match, much less exceed, such achievement.
The sense of depression in Europe reminds one of novelist J. R. R. Tolkien’s description of the mythical land of Gondor in his epic fantasy The Lord of the Rings. Gondor’s huge walls, vaunted traditions, and rich history were testaments that it once served as bulwark of a humane Middle-earth.
When they were a collection of smallish, ethnically and culturally homogenous statelets, they had something going for them (other than the whole “going to war with each other every generation or more” thing).
But the thing about European cultures is, you can never “become” French, or Norwegian, or Dutch; those societies are defined by language, history and ethnicity (even polyglot Switzerland). Combine that with being in demographic death spirals (at least those countries west of the German/Polish border) and importing millions of people, first “guest workers” and later refugees to fill in the demographic gaps, workers who can never be truly assimilated into their respective societies…
…and all that placid homogeneity that allowed Swedish and Dutch and French society to actually be Swedish, Dutch, French, German, Italian, whatever, is all by the boards.
And then, the best they can hope for is to become occasionally fractious, like we do. The worst?
The same thing that always happens when one culture drowns in another.
Over at Power Line, Paul Mirengoff asks a question that is redolent with parallels for anyone that lives in a Democrat-dominated area: if a government is truly authoritarian, nobody wants to be pegged as a “Resister” – for example, to be placed on an “enemies list”.
If you’re on an enemies list in a genuinely authoritarian country – Franco’s Spain, Pinochet’s Chile, Argentina in the sixties and seventies – being an “enemy” meant midnight knocks on the door and cars snatching people off streets and goons hauling off classrooms full of college kids.
In the parts of the US that voted for Hillary and melted down when Trump won, “resistance” means a latte in the morning after pilates, before a vigorous session of screaming at people on Twitter.
Mirengoff looks at “authoritarian” (according to the current leftist whinging) Hungary:
The Washington Post reports that a pro-government newspaper in Hungary published an “enemies list.” Political opponents of prime minister Viktor Orban promptly expressed outrage at not being on the list.
One of them launched a petition demanding to be on the list. He invited others to join in that demand. Nearly 8,000 did.
This tells me that Orban’s government is not authoritarian. The Post eventually concedes as much. Deep into the story, it acknowledges that in Hungary “there is free expression, with opponents speaking out on television, newspapers, and on the streets.” Earlier this month, when the new, elected parliament was sworn in, thousands of opponents rallied against Orban just outside the building.
Trying to get Hungarians to stop expressing freely takes tanks, as the Soviets found.
Liberals in the media are exercised because nearly every newspaper and media outlet in Hungary supports Orban (occording to journalists who oppose Orban and who aren’t, as it happens either unemployed or in jail). In other words, for being the same as the American media, but on the right…
I hope Trump responds by announcing that the wise policies put in place by President Truman to rebuild Europe after WW II have succeeded beyond all expectations. European nations have demonstrated they are fully capable of managing their own affairs wherefore we intend to serve notice that we’re withdrawing from NATO. American military commanders will be preparing a timetable for orderly withdrawal of troops and equipment with plans for redeployment along our southern border. We congratulate our European friends and former allies and wish them a bright and prosperous future.
There’s a part of me that hopes Trump drops that on the likes of Merkel.
Of course, it’s the likes of Estonia and Poland that’d end up suffering when the pusillanimous central European powers cave in in the face of Russia bullying.
Donald Trump’s October 24, 1999 Meet the Pressinterview with Tim Russert is a historically illuminating flash forward to the most surprising, promising and history-altering opportunity since the Soviet Union collapsed: “denuclearizing” North Korea without the could-be belligerents waging a hideously destructive war that scars East Asia and seeds a global economic depression…In the interview, Russert says Trump once indicated if he were president he would attack North Korea preemptively in order to end its nuclear threat.
Despite Russert’s vapors and wailing, Trump’s grammatically-challenged beer and barbecue answer is a superb twofer. One: Trump answers Russert’s core question. Two: Trump accurately summarizes the American government’s spaghetti-spined responses to North Korea’s slow but insidious quest for nuclear weapons.
On March 5, remarkable news broke: North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un said he is willing to discuss denuclearizing his regime. He made no demand on South Korea and the U.S., other than that they meet to discuss the subject face to face. The South Korean delegation that met with him in Pyongyang indicated Kim said he understood South Korean and American joint military drills would continue. That was a major concession. For decades the Communist state’s propagandists have portrayed allied military exercises as preparations for an invasion of the North. In exchange for negotiations, the Kim regime would demand the allies suspend exercises. Not this time. Moreover, the dictatorship also agreed to halt its provocative nuclear weapons and missile tests while talks continue.
Why, it’s almost as if Winston Churchill was right all along; the only thing tyrants and bullies understand is strength.
I’m proudly on record as a Trump skeptic – but between Gorsuch, his cabinet, his deregulatory frenzy, and the unspooling, unprecedented changes in Saudi Arabia (and its various clients) and now the Korean Peninsula, I’m warming up to at least the foreign policy side of The Donald.
Last week, TheBlaze reported the number of murders in London, a traditionally safe city, surpassed the number of murders in New York City in February and March for the first time in modern history. The murders were mostly carried out in stabbing attacks with knives.
Now, London Mayor Sadiq Khan is taking action — by implementing knife control.
What is Khan doing?
In response to the spike in crime, Khan deployed over 300 additional London police officers to the city’s most crime-ridden neighborhoods to stop and search anyone they suspect is carrying a knife. In the U.S., such policies are very controversial and possibly violate the Fourth Amendment, but in England, police are able to stop and search anyone they suspect is carrying a knife.
The results? The same sort of security theater that happens every time government tries to treat not the disease, not even the symptoms, but the tools involved in the symptoms (and, in the UK’s case, the very act of defending yourself from the disease). It’s like treating flu by banning vomit.
And when I say “security theater”, I’m not speaking imprecisely at all:
So after decades of dictatorial posturing, perhaps the number of knives available to criminals will drop (as Britons gnaw on food they can’t cut, or start buying their awful British food pre-cut for them). That‘ll solve crime right?
Nonsense. Criminals will start taping nails onto long sticks, or carrying socks full of five pence pieces. And when the UK government gans nails and coins, they’ll switch to pointed sticks. And when pointed sticks are finally off the streets, it’ll be rocks and pavers and fists and feet.
Britian keeps this “mind”-set up, they’ll all be legless, armless, immobile consumption machines in a few centuries.
Whatever we do, America must NOT send any aid. That would be imperialist aggression. It would be interfering in their chosen culture. Zimbabwean Blacks wanted out from under the White Man’s thumb, wanted to be independent and stand on their own. They insisted they were ready to manage their own affairs, learn from their mistakes. Who are we to judge the results?
Similarly, if South African Blacks want to take back their country and run it themselves – without any outside interference – then we ought to be fully supportive. Go right ahead. You’re on your own.
As for the White farmers who are losing their lands, well, I hear it’s nice in Australia. Might want to move before the necklacing begins.
I’m tempted to say the same thing whenever I heard about “Democratically”-elected governments destroying their own nations – see Venezuela and Bolivia along with Zimbabwe and South Africa.
We warned you – but you did it anyway. Fix it yourselves. Still feel good, sticking it to the Yanqui?
I do advocate tolerance. Most notably and recently, I’ve mixed it up with activists in the MN GOP who’ve said there’s no room in the Republican party for people of the Muslim faith, because – this is a paraphrase cut so closely it might as well be a quote – the Koran tells Muslims to deceive the infidel, and all Muslims follow the Koran to the letter in exactly the same way. And their goal is to spread Sharia law everywhere. Even in the MN GOP.
Of course, they – and I – say Muslims, and all immigrants, should assimilate into our culture (and, for my part, that “multiculturalism” must be killed with fire). To which I respond “What on earth is more assimilatory than trying to attend a Minnesota GOP caucus?”
Some of them have gone so far as to say there’s no room for people who are inclusive of Muslims (not Islam, mind you – they they gotta support the rest of the GOP’s platform and, of course, the US) and them. To which I’ve replied “don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out”.
Given the vigor with which Scandinavian countries (and those who romanticize their welfare states with all the subtlety of Swedish Chef Night at Karaoke Hut) play up the “gender equality” card, you’d think they’d have the whole “gender equity” thing figured out.
Comparing the Nordic countries with each other, a pattern emerges: Those with more extensive welfare-state policies have fewer women on top. Iceland, which has a moderately sized welfare state, has the most women managers. Second is Sweden, which has opened up welfare services such as education, health care, and elder care for private-sector competition. Denmark, which has the highest taxes and the biggest welfare state in the modern world, has the lowest share of women in managerial positions.
The rise of the welfare state has been a double-edged sword for women’s advancement.Essentially, the rise of the welfare state has been a double-edged sword for women’s advancement. On the one hand, it has created jobs in women-dominated fields such as health care and education, and aided the labor-market entry of women by offering day care and other family-related services. On the other, the attendant high taxes have reduced the economic incentive for both parents to work full-time, and have also made it difficult for families to purchase services that alleviate household work (such as cleaning). Parental-leave policies have given women an incentive to take long breaks from working. And state monopolies in female-dominated sectors such as health care and education have limited women’s career choices.
Also worth noting – Scandinavian societies going back to the Vikings gave women rights they wouldn’t have for centuries elsewhere in the world – the rights to own land, inherit property, and file for divorce. An astonishing level of gender equality predated the Scandinavian social state by centuries. Not that that stops the left from claiming credit they dind’t earn.
ivvIf you’ve been readint thias blog any length of time3, you know how “unintended conse3qiuences” work.
A U.N. fact-finding mission has highlighted the role of social media networks, and Facebook in particular, in fueling hate speech against the Rohingya minority in Myanmar, telling the U.N. Human Rights Council this week that “incitement to violence” is “rampant” and “unchecked.”
Reuters reports that in an interim submission to the U.N. Human Rights Council, fact-finding mission chair Marzuki Darusman emphasized the “determining role” of social media networks in the conflict, which he said “substantively contributed to the level of acrimony and dissension and conflict” in Myanmar. “As far as the Myanmar situation is concerned, social media is Facebook, and Facebook is social media,” Darusman told reporters.
Granted, it’s only the UN. And it’s a broadside against hate speech – which is applicable in this case, but Facebook will use it as further grounds to stifle conservative speech even further.
Still, it’s nice to see virtue-signallers get slapped.
Six years ago, Venezuela banned private firearms ownership, via a piece of legislation that had to have sent a tingle down Linda Slocum, Erin Maye Quade, Jamie Becker-Finn and Dave Pinto’s spines. It was done to consolidate and reinforce the control of a government that, one might suspect in concept had to have sent a tingle down Linda Slocum, Erin Maye Quade, Jamie Becker-Finn and Dave Pinto’s spines.
Of course, we know the results; socialism degenerated “unexpectedly” into thugocracy (which, being “haves” in a socialist society, wouldn’t not send a tingle down Linda Slocum, Erin Maye Quade, Jamie Becker-Finn and Dave Pinto’s spines, necessarily – socialism is a wonderful thing for the kommissars).
And here we are today.
The left would like you to consider them separate events.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman invited Egypt’s Coptic Christians to visit Saudi Arabia after a rare meeting in Cairo’s main cathedral.
Speaking to Egyptian media after the visit the head of the Egyptian church, Pope Tawadros II said: “In the name of the Coptic Orthodox church we welcome Prince Mohammed’s visit to his second country Egypt.
“Prince Mohammed spoke a lot of his affection for the Copts,” the Pope said, adding that the kingdom’s heir to the throne invited him and all Copts to visit Saudi Arabia.
The two men walked together through St Mark’s Cathedral, in what Egypt’s state news agency described as the first tour of its kind.
The visit came on the second day of the Saudi Crown Prince’s visit to Egypt – his first foreign visit since he became heir to the throne. …
He also met Egypt’s top Islamic official, Ahmad Al-Tayyeb at Al-Azhar, the foremost seat of learning in Sunni Islam.
Simply stated, MbS is seeking to defang Muslim extremists who seek to destroy Christianity in Arab- and Muslim-majority countries. Garnering support from the most respected source of Islamic scholarship (no doubt accompanied by the offer of funds from the Saudi treasury) is the carrot to be used in persuading Wahhabi clergy to change their preaching, with the denial of Saudi funds to recalcitrant advocates of armed jihad supplying the stick.
This is potentially huge.
So why is it getting zero reporting in the Big Media?
American media mostly are clueless about religion and lack any understanding of the momentous changes underway in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with the full support of the Trump administration. The fact that MbS is reputed to be close to Jared Kushner seals the deal: the mainstream media have little interest in extolling the world-historical transition underway in the nation that is pre-eminent in Sunni Islam, the Guardian of the Holy Cities of Mecca and Medina, and which has been the moneybags for radical jihadists for three generations.
Bin Salman is taking a huge risk – the Wahhabi aren’t going to be happy, being cut off from all that oil money.
But if it goes right, this – and the very quiet Saudi discussions with the Israelis – could be an epochal change the religious war in the middle east.
And if it’s tied to Trump, Big Left will deny, or scupper, it.
President Trump’s administration will allow importing elephant trophies, reversing an Obama era ban.
Trump’s policy is correct. If it’s an elephant owned by a tribe who raised it to be shot in a trophy hunt and who get the proceeds (and meat), then there’s nothing wrong with allowing the import. Poached elephants, obviously not. This is not an elephant issue — there’s nothing inherently bad about elephants — it’s a documentation issue, removing the incentive to poach while retaining the power to license hunts.
It’s similar to the Gibson guitar fiasco. President Obama’s Justice Department raided the guitar maker’s factory and seized $1 million of imported ebony and rosewood which it claimed was protected under the laws of other nations and therefore banned for import into the United States. But there’s nothing inherently evil about rosewood. It’s a paperwork issue: import from this country, you’re okay; import from that country, you’re not. Remember “conflict diamonds?” Same deal.
A blanket ban on importing all rosewood, diamonds and elephant trophies harms the economies where those products are legally produced. We can be smarter than that.
A review of the movie The Final Year – about the Obama Administration’s, well, final year – reveals more between the lines than in the actual script, according to Kyle Smith in NRO.
The Obama foreign-policy masters see their three accomplishments as the Paris Climate Accord, the opening to Cuba, and the Iran deal. Given that the former wasn’t presented to Congress for approval, was nonbinding, and was later dumped by President Trump, while the other two amounted to making concessions to American foes in exchange for virtually nothing, this is a bit like bragging that you suckered the Franklin Mint into giving up a souvenir Elvis plate for only $34.95. But to understand why Rhodes and Obama are so pleased with their foreign policy, you have to understand the way they think. The documentary is revealing about that.
A contest to determine the worst Secretary of State of the past fifty years between Madeline Albright, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry would be a spirited one indeed.
No foreign leader has enjoyed coverage as good as North Korea’s Kim Yo Jong since Vogue profiled Asma al-Assad, first lady of Syria, back in 2011. (That was right before Assad’s regime killed tens of thousands of people and used chemical weapons in the Syrian civil war.) A sampling: Reuters: “North Korea has emerged as the early favorite to grab one of the Winter Olympics’ most important medals: the diplomatic gold.” CNN: “Kim Jong Un’s sister is stealing the show at the Winter Olympics!” Business Insider: “From her “side-eye” of US Vice President Mike Pence to hints at Korean unification, Kim has stolen the spotlight at the Winter Olympics.” Washington Post: “The ‘Ivanka Trump of North Korea’ captivates people in the South at the Olympics.”
All that is necessary to get the coastal media’s blessing is to be the opposite of Donald Trump.
Without whom this rapprochement, real or fabricated, would not be happening in the first place.
Here’s one development I never thought I’d see in my lifetime:
In 2017 it finally happened. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait went public in support of an Arab-Israeli alliance to oppose Iran. Many (Arabs, Israelis and Iranians) believe that such an alliance won’t last long but that is not crucial. The alliance only has to last long enough to halt the spread of Iranian power and influence. Israel has been through this before. The peace deals with Jordan and Egypt have largely held even though there are ups and downs. The Israelis know that the anti-Semitic attitudes in the Arab world go back to before the emergence of Islam in the 7th century and have waxed and waned ever since. Anti-Semitism is again widely tolerated in Europe. But the United States has a new president who grew up in and around New York City, built a fortune there, has a Jewish son-in-law, Jewish grandchildren and a pro-Israel attitude that is more decisive and imaginative than that of the last few American presidents. Currently the Arabs of Arabia, or at least key leaders, have decided that decades of denouncing Israel, the one nation in the region with a functioning democracy, the most advanced and successful economy and the most powerful armed forces, ought to be rethought. So now Israel is seen as a potential ally not a battlefield opponent. As a result Arab journalists and leaders are speaking openly, and more frequently, about such an alliance. Some countries, like the UAE (United Arab Emirates), can now speak openly of the discreet (and often not so secret) commercial, military and diplomatic links they developed with Israel over the years. To a lesser extent Kuwaiti and Saudi Arabian connections are now admitted.
Read the whole thing. The news isn’t all good, but it’s much better than the current, TDS-addled media will tell you, too.