Wednesday, June 28, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Centennial: Rare Photos from 1917-1918 Show American Troops in World War I

In the wake of the appearance of a new World War I book marking the centennial of the United States entry in the European conflict, the Bruno Cabanes book Les Américains dans la Grande Guerre (The American People in the Great War), Géo Magazine presents a dozen of the book's rarely seen 145 photographs.

Note: if you squint just right, you should be able to make your eyes superimpose the two parts of the second photograph below in just the right way — remember the View-Master as well as Magic Eye's 3-D party books from the 1990s? — in order to make it into a three-dimensional picture.

Friday, June 23, 2017

The Administrative State Has Been Gutting Much of the Bill of Rights for Over a Century

What’s the greatest threat to liberty in America?
asks John Tierney in the Wall Street Journal.
Liberals rail at Donald Trump’s executive orders on immigration and his hostility toward the press, while conservatives vow to reverse Barack Obama’s regulatory assault on religion, education and business. Philip Hamburger says both sides are thinking too small.

Like the blind men in the fable who try to describe an elephant by feeling different parts of its body, they’re not perceiving the whole problem: the enormous rogue beast known as the administrative state.

Sometimes called the regulatory state or the deep state, it is a government within the government, run by the president and the dozens of federal agencies that assume powers once claimed only by kings. In place of royal decrees, they issue rules and send out “guidance” letters like the one from an Education Department official in 2011 that stripped college students of due process when accused of sexual misconduct.

Unelected bureaucrats not only write their own laws, they also interpret these laws and enforce them in their own courts with their own judges. All this is in blatant violation of the Constitution, says Mr. Hamburger, 60, a constitutional scholar and winner of the Manhattan Institute’s Hayek Prize last year for his scholarly 2014 book, “Is Administrative Law Unlawful?” (Spoiler alert: Yes.)

“Essentially, much of the Bill of Rights has been gutted,” he says, sitting in his office at Columbia Law School. “The government can choose to proceed against you in a trial in court with constitutional processes, or it can use an administrative proceeding where you don’t have the right to be heard by a real judge or a jury and you don’t have the full due process of law. Our fundamental procedural freedoms, which once were guarantees, have become mere options.” ​

In volume and complexity, the edicts from federal agencies exceed the laws passed by Congress by orders of magnitude. “The administrative state has become the government’s predominant mode of contact with citizens,” Mr. Hamburger says. “Ultimately this is not about the politics of left or right. Unlawful government power should worry everybody.”

Defenders of agencies like the Securities and Exchange Commission or the Environmental Protection Agency often describe them as the only practical way to regulate today’s complex world. The Founding Fathers, they argue, could not have imagined the challenges that face a large and technologically advanced society, so Congress and the judiciary have wisely delegated their duties by giving new powers to experts in executive-branch agencies.

Mr. Hamburger doesn’t buy it. In his view, not only is such delegation unconstitutional, it’s nothing new. The founders, far from being naive about the need for expert guidance, limited executive powers precisely because of the abuses of 17th-century kings like James I.

James, who reigned in England from 1603 through 1625, claimed that divinely granted “absolute power” authorized him to suspend laws enacted by Parliament or dispense with them for any favored person. Mr. Hamburger likens this royal “dispensing” power to modern agency “waivers,” like the ones from the Obama administration exempting McDonald’s and other corporations from complying with provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

James also made his own laws, bypassing Parliament and the courts by issuing proclamations and using his “royal prerogative” to establish commissions and tribunals. He exploited the infamous Star Chamber, a court that got its name from the gilded stars on its ceiling.

“The Hollywood version of the Star Chamber is a torture chamber where the walls were speckled with blood,” Mr. Hamburger says. “But torture was a very minor part of its business. It was very bureaucratic. Like modern administrative agencies, it commissioned expert reports, issued decrees and enforced them. It had regulations controlling the press, and it issued rules for urban development, environmental matters and various industries.”

James’s claims were rebuffed by England’s chief justice, Edward Coke, who in 1610 declared that the king “by his proclamation cannot create any offense which was not an offense before.” The king eventually dismissed Coke, and expansive royal powers continued to be exercised by James and his successor, Charles I. The angry backlash ultimately prompted Parliament to abolish the Star Chamber and helped provoke a civil war that ended with the beheading of Charles in 1649.

A subsequent king, James II, took the throne in 1685 and tried to reassert the prerogative power. But he was dethroned in the Glorious Revolution in 1688, which was followed by Parliament’s adoption of a bill of rights limiting the monarch and reasserting the primacy of Parliament and the courts. That history inspired the American Constitution’s limits on the executive branch, which James Madison explained as a protection against “the danger to liberty from the overgrown and all-grasping prerogative of an hereditary magistrate.”

“The framers of the Constitution were very clear about this,” Mr. Hamburger says, rummaging in a drawer for a pocket edition. He opens to the first page, featuring the Preamble and Article 1, which begins: “All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress.”

“That first word is crucial,” he says. “The very first substantive word of the Constitution is ‘all.’ That makes it an exclusive vesting of the legislative powers in an elected legislature. Congress cannot delegate the legislative powers to an agency, just as judges cannot delegate their power to an agency.”

Those restrictions on executive power have been disappearing since the late 19th century, starting with the creation of the Interstate Commerce Commission in 1887. Centralized power appealed to big business—railroads found commissioners easier to manipulate than legislators—as well as to American intellectuals who’d studied public policy at German universities. Unlike Britain, Germany had rejected constitutional restraints in favor of a Prussian model that gave administrative agencies the prerogative powers of the king.

Mr. Hamburger believes it’s no coincidence that the growth of America’s administrative state coincided with the addition to the electorate of Catholic immigrants, blacks and other minorities. WASP progressives like Woodrow Wilson considered these groups an obstacle to reform.

“The bulk of mankind is rigidly unphilosophical, and nowadays the bulk of mankind votes,” Wilson complained, noting in particular the difficulty of winning over the minds “of Irishmen, of Germans, of Negroes.” His solution was to push his agenda using federal agencies staffed by experts of his own caste—what Mr. Hamburger calls the “knowledge class.” Wilson was the only president ever to hold a doctorate.

“There’s been something of a bait and switch,” Mr. Hamburger says. “We talk about the importance of expanding voting rights, but behind the scenes there’s been a transfer of power from voters to members of the knowledge class. A large part of the knowledge class, Republicans as well as Democrats, went out of their way to make the administrative state work.”

Mr. Hamburger was born into the knowledge class. He grew up in a book-filled house near New Haven, Conn. His father was a Yale law professor and his mother a researcher in economics and intellectual history. During his father’s sabbaticals in London, Philip acquired a passion for 17th-century English history and spent long hours studying manuscripts at the British Museum. That’s where he learned about the royal prerogative.

He went to Princeton and then Yale Law School, where he avoided courses on administrative law, which struck him as “tedious beyond belief.” He became slightly more interested during a stint as a corporate lawyer specializing in taxes—he could see the sweeping powers wielded by the Internal Revenue Service—but the topic didn’t engage him until midway through his academic career.

While at the University of Chicago, he heard of a colleague’s inability to publish a research paper because the study had not been approved ahead of time by a federally mandated institutional review board. That sounded like an unconstitutional suppression of free speech, and it reminded Mr. Hamburger of those manuscripts at the British Museum.

Why the return of the royal prerogative? “The answer rests ultimately on human nature,” Mr. Hamburger writes in “The Administrative Threat,” a new short book aimed at a general readership. “Ever tempted to exert more power with less effort, rulers are rarely content to govern merely through the law.”

Instead, presidents govern by interpreting statutes in ways lawmakers never imagined. Barack Obama openly boasted of his intention to bypass Congress: “I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone.” Unable to persuade a Congress controlled by his own party to regulate carbon dioxide, Mr. Obama did it himself in 2009 by having the EPA declare it a pollutant covered by a decades-old law. (In 2007 the Supreme Court had affirmed the EPA’s authority to do so.)

Similarly, the Title IX legislation passed in 1972 was intended mainly to protect women in higher education from employment discrimination. Under Mr. Obama, Education Department bureaucrats used it to issue orders about bathrooms for transgender students at public schools and to mandate campus tribunals to adjudicate sexual misconduct—including “verbal misconduct,” or speech—that are in many ways less fair to the accused than the Star Chamber.

At this point, the idea of restraining the executive branch may seem quixotic, but Mr. Hamburger says there are practical ways to do so. One would be to make government officials financially accountable for their excesses, as they were in the 18th and 19th centuries, when they could be sued individually for damages. Today they’re protected thanks to “qualified immunity,” a doctrine Mr. Hamburger thinks should be narrowed.

“One does have to worry about frivolous lawsuits against government officers who have to make quick decisions in the field, like police officers,” he says. “But someone sitting behind a desk at the EPA or the SEC has plenty of time to consult lawyers before acting. There’s no reason to give them qualified immunity. They’ll be more careful not to exceed their constitutional authority if they have to weigh the risk of losing their own money.”

Another way of restraining agencies—one President Trump could adopt on his own—would be to require them to submit new rules to Congress for approval instead of imposing them by fiat. The president could also order at least some agencies to resolve disputes in regular courts instead of using administrative judges, who are departmental employees. Meanwhile, Congress could reclaim its legislative power by going through regulations, agency by agency, and deciding which ones to enact into law.

Mr. Hamburger’s chief hope for reform lies in the courts, which in earlier eras rebuffed the executive branch’s power grabs. Those rulings so frustrated both Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt that they threatened retaliation—such as FDR’s plan to pack the Supreme Court by expanding its size. Eventually judges surrendered and validated sweeping executive powers. Mr. Hamburger calls it “one of the most shameful episodes in the history of the federal judiciary.”

The Supreme Court capitulated further in decisions like Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council (1984), which requires judges to defer to any “reasonable interpretation” of an ambiguous statute by a federal agency. “Chevron deference should be called Chevron bias,” Mr. Hamburger says. “It requires judges to abandon due process and independent judgment. The courts have corrupted their processes by saying that when the government is a party in case, they will be systematically biased—they will favor the more powerful party.”

Mr. Hamburger sees a good chance that the high court will limit and eventually abandon the Chevron doctrine, and he expects other litigation giving the judiciary a chance to reassert its powers and protect constitutional rights. “Slowly, step by step, we can persuade judges to recognize the risks of what they’ve done so far and to grapple with this very dangerous type of power,” he says. The judiciary, like academia, has many liberals who have been sympathetic to the growth of executive power, but their perspective may be changing.

“Administrative power is like off-road driving,” Mr. Hamburger continues. “It’s exhilarating to operate off-road when you’re in the driver’s seat, but it’s a little unnerving for everyone else.”
He says he observed this effect during a recent conversation with a prominent legal scholar. The colleague, a longtime defender of administrative law, was discussing the topic shortly after Mr. Trump’s inauguration.

The colleague told Mr. Hamburger: “I am beginning to see the merit of your ideas.”

Monday, June 19, 2017

Just like in the 1850s and 1860s, the Democratic Party Embraces Political Violence in Response to the Election of a Republican President

If we follow the course we are on, we will see more unhappiness, more violence, more repressive national-security policies, less prosperity, less freedom, and less of anything that looks like the quite-good-enough America we already have.
"The American Left has embraced political violence" writes Kevin Williamson of what he calls "the modern answer to the beer-hall brawlers of the 1930s" while George Rasley wonders if the Left just started the Civil War that it has been threatening:
Democrats and their liberal allies in the media seem surprised that James T. Hodgkinson acted upon their calls for “resistance” and “taking it to the streets” by mounting an armed attack on a group of Republican elected officials.

They shouldn't be, because as our friend “Tyler Durden” of Zero Hedge documented back in March, senior Democratic leaders have not been bashful about encouraging the violence.

… However, it is not politicians who are the most violent and most influential advocates of violence.

It is a very short – and logical – hop from organized Leftists rioting and assaulting Donald Trump supporters in Chicago, to a Far Left university professor beating Trump supporters with a bike lock at Berkeley, to a Far Left activist shooting up the Republican congressional baseball practice.
CHQ's George Rasley goes on to present a short list of some of the more – and prescient – statements from Leftist advocates of violent resistance to President Trump and the Republican agenda, compiled by Nick Short of the Center for Security Policy.
James T. Hodgkinson wasn’t a “nut.” He wasn’t “deranged.” And he wasn’t “sick.” He was a Leftist terrorist, just like Obama’s buddy Bill Ayres of the Weather Underground and Puerto Rican terrorist Oscar Lopez-Rivera, who was recently honored as a hero by New York's Democratic Mayor Bill DeBlasio.

Hodgkinson’s attack wasn’t mental illness. Read his writings, read the political manifesto in his letters to the editor and it doesn’t require an FBI investigation to recognize that this was the first “lone wolf” attack in the Left’s long-planned American civil war.
Back to NRO's Kevin Williamson:
“The old is better” may be a convenient caricature of conservative thinking, but it is not one without some basis. “To be conservative,” Michael Oakeshott wrote, “is to prefer the familiar to the unknown, to prefer the tried to the untried, fact to mystery, the actual to the possible, the limited to the unbounded, the near to the distant, the sufficient to the superabundant, the convenient to the perfect, present laughter to utopian bliss.”
 … This is not a “both sides do it” issue: Paul Krugman can speak on any college campus in this country without enduring mob violence and organized terrorism — Charles Murray cannot. There is not anything on the right like the mass terrorism behind the Seattle riots of 1999 or the black-bloc riots of the day before yesterday. The Democratic party, progressive organizations, and college administrations have some serious political and intellectual housekeeping to do here — but, instead, they are in the main refusing to acknowledge that they have a problem. The line between “Punch a Nazi!” and “Assassinate a Republican congressman!” is morally perforated.
In another post, the NRO writer adds that
we have powerful political figures working to criminalize dissent. The same people who have spent the past 30 years cooking up ever-battier campus speech codes want to do the same thing for society at large in the form of so-called hate-speech regulation. 

They do this partly because they intend to win and to rule. They also do it because they have convinced themselves that we are in a state of national crisis, and that the dark shadow of fascism in descending on the United States. In reality, the only thing resembling a genuine totalitarian movement in American politics is the progressive camp from which emerged the man who shot Steve Scalise. 
Once you’ve accepted political violence as a legitimate tool in the context of American democracy — once you have concluded that the decision to use violence is only a matter of strategy, as Slavoj Žižek insists — then progress from pepper spray and bicycle locks to rifles and bombs is neither very long nor very difficult to anticipate.
Related, the 1850s and the 1860s:

Wondering Why Slavery Persisted for Almost 75 Years After the Founding of the USA? According to Lincoln, the Democrat Party's "Principled" Opposition to "Hate Speech".

What Caused Secession and Ergo the Civil War? Was It Slavery and/or States' Rights? Or Wasn't It Rather Something Else — the Election of a Ghastly Republican to the White House?

Sunday, June 18, 2017

French President Prepared His Meeting with Trump by Watching Videos of the American's Handshake "Like a Boxer Analyzing the Fights of a Future Opponent"

Today, France is voting for the second and final round in the legislative elections, in which the French President's La République En Marche (LRM) is expected to win handsomely.

Voici's Karine Hernandez explains that prior to his meeting with Donald Trump, Emmanuel Macron prepared himself extensively for the American's famous handshake.

Referring to Donald Trump as "the American (and the orange) president", allegedly in a fit of neutral impartiality (sic), the Voici journalist writes that
One of the most striking moments of this meeting is — and will forever remain — the now famous handshake exchanged by Emmanuel Macron and US (and orange) President Donald Trump.

A real contest of manhood with clenched jaws, frozen grins, third-degree looks, and crushed hands that made the tour of the world. Donald Trump, known for his abrupt and unreasoned bickering, uses these formal moments imposed in official meetings to show his interlocutors and the international media that he is the boss.

Except that it did not happen that way with Emmanuel Macron, who had seen the blow coming and prepared himself. According to a close friend of the president quoted by Le Monde: "Macron had watched beforehand videos of all Trump's handshakes." Like a boxer analyzing the fights of his future opponent to break through his techniques and weak points, the tenant of the Ely­sée Palace had therefore watched a retrospective of Donald clamping clamps.

Which led him to declare to the JDD afterwards that this "handshake with [Trump], it is not innocent, it is not the alpha and the omega of a policy but a moment of truth. We must show that we will not make concessions, even symbolic ones." And it's always more chic than checking who can pee the furthest... 

Voici's Karine Hernandez:
L’un des moments les plus marquants de ce meeting est – et restera à jamais – la désor­mais célèbre poignée de mains qu’ont échan­gée Emma­nuel Macron et le président améri­cain (et orange) Donald Trump.

Un vrai concours de viri­lité avec mâchoires cris­pées, rictus figés, regards troi­sième degré et mains broyées qui a fait le tour du monde. Connu pour ses empoi­gnades aussi brusques qu’ir­rai­son­nées, Donald Trump se sert de ces moments proto­co­laires impo­sés des rencontres offi­cielles pour montrer à ses inter­lo­cu­teurs et aux médias inter­na­tio­naux que c’est lui le patron.

Sauf que ça ne s’est pas passé comme ça avec Emma­nuel Macron qui avait vu le coup venir et s’y était préparé. Selon un proche du président cité par Le Monde : « Macron avait regardé avant des vidéos de toutes les poignées de mains de Trump. » Tel un boxeur qui aurait analysé les combats de son futur oppo­sant pour percer ses tech­niques et ses points faibles, le loca­taire de l’Ely­sée s’était donc tapé une petite rétros­pec­tive de Donald serrant des pinces.

De quoi lui faire dire au JDD après coup, qu’ef­fec­ti­ve­ment, cette « poignée de main avec [Trump], ce n’est pas inno­cent, ce n’est pas l’al­pha et l’omega d’une poli­tique mais un moment de vérité. Il faut montrer qu’on ne fera pas de conces­sions, même symbo­liques. » Et puis c’est toujours plus chic que de véri­fier qui fait pipi le plus loin…

Friday, June 16, 2017

The (Medicine) Science Is Settled?! Some Gospel Treatments of Only 20 Years Ago Have Undergone Complete Reversals and/or Been Entirely Dropped

When, not too many years ago, I took a first aid crash course, I was astonished to learn that something once as central as mouth-to-mouth resuscitation had been entirely dropped from the first aid "kit" (I know, if I were a teenage boy — and girl — I would be using the word "disappointed" with winking smileys galore).

Dropped in favor of heart massage. (To the tune of, I am not making this up, Stayin' Alive…)

What does this teach us, if not that — and sometimes in the most astonishing ways — the science is never settled?

Take something requiring a far more professional intervention: as far as gunshot victims are concerned, the New York Times's Gina Kolata explains that today a patient
may undergo two to 10 operations, said Dr. Jeremy Cannon, a trauma surgeon at the University of Pennsylvania, and may remain in the hospital anywhere from days to several months.

Still, the are far better than in the old days, before the early 1990s, when surgeons tried to do all the repairs at once, operating for hours at a time.

In a study that changed medical practice, surgeons found that trauma patients with the most severe abdominal injuries who received one long operation had just a 15 percent survival rate. But those with the same sort of injuries who got multiple operations to repair the damage had a survival rate of 77 percent.

The lesson for surgeons is that long operations can be fatal to trauma patients. “The body can only take so much,” said Dr. Thomas Scalea, a trauma surgeon at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Surgeons now employ the multistage approach.

These days trauma patients who do not bleed to death right away usually recover, said Dr. Sean Montgomery, a trauma surgeon at Duke University.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Emmanuel Macron Is the Subject of Rachel Marsden's Radio Show with Karim Ouchikh and Paul Reen

Chez Sputnik News, Rachel Marsden analyse les premiers pas du nouveau Président de la République française avec Karim Ouchikh, président du SIEL et Paul Reen, vice-président des Républicains (USA) en France.
Pour le représentant des Républicains en France, Paul Reen, Emmanuel Macron suscite un espoir et les réformes qu'il a pu entreprendre vont dans le bon sens:
« La réforme sur le droit du travail, avec de la dérégulation, avec des politiques plus favorables aux entreprises pour rendre plus facile l'embauche, surtout les jeunes, la réduction des impôts. »

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Besieged by the tolerance bullies: If we’re ever to roll back this insanity we’re going to have to show some solidarity with the victims of homofascism and transfascism

Fifteen year-old Andraya Yearwood is fast 
notes Benny Huang
really fast. This high school track star is so fast that he recently claimed the titles for the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes at the Connecticut state championship.

The secret to his success? He’s a boy who competes against girls. That’s it. This kid “identities” as a girl and no one is willing to say that he’s not. He runs against girls and beats them every time which is quite fortuitous considering the fact that he would have placed last in the Connecticut state championships if he had been competing against other boys.

Andraya is not slight or effeminate. Anraya is not undergoing hormone “therapy” and he has not had his member lopped off—not that any of those things would render him female. He’s endowed with the physique of a dude and he’s even got a mustache—albeit a cheesy high school mustache but a mustache all the same. Andraya will likely return to the state championships for the next three years and he will no doubt be significantly stronger and faster than he is now which is already stronger and faster than the girls he’s competing against. They don’t have a chance.

“It feels really good,” he said. ”I’m really happy to win both titles. I kind of expected it. I’ve always gotten first, so I expected it to some extent… I’m really proud of it.”

Yeah, he’s really proud that he left a bunch of girls in his dust. It’s no wonder he’s so proud—the media is predictably heralding this fraud for his “courage.”

What’s perhaps most interesting about this story is the reaction of the second place runner, Kate Hall, who is a devoted student athlete from Stonington, Connecticut. As far as I’m concerned she was the real winner of the 100-meter race and she has legitimate grounds to complain about being robbed of that victory. Yet she refuses to air her gripes publicly. Said Ms. Hall to the Hartford Courant:
“It’s frustrating. But that’s just the way it is now … I can’t really say what I want to say, but there’s not much I can do about it. You can’t blame anyone.”
She can’t say what she wants to say? She can’t blame anyone? Why not? Who’s going to stop her?

I think we all know the answer to that. Transgenderism is the newest frontier in “civil rights,” the long awaited “T” in that LGBT acronym everyone’s been using for about fifteen years. Every inch of progress that this movement has made has been gained through intimidation. First, they soak dissidents with shame, then they make them feel isolated, then they bombard them with dispiriting propaganda. Their opponents are left believing that they can do nothing to stop this movement’s inevitable forward motion. They learn to keep their heads down and their mouths shut. Nearly everyone sees that this is utter madness but no one will stand up and declare that the emperor has no clothes.

Kristen Quintrall Lavin is a fairly good example of this. She’s the resident blogger at “The Get Real Mom”, a blog about motherhood. This liberal, 30-something, West Coast mother prides herself on being tolerant which might explain why she began her post about a man she encountered in the ladies room at Disneyland by assuring her readers that she’s not one of those “homophobic mothers lashing out at Disney.” Transgender people don’t bother her at all, you see.

Except when they’re in the bathroom with and her and her young son and when they don’t look sufficiently feminine. The particular man who wandered into the ladies room that day caused Ms. Lavin alarm because he made no effort to adopt feminine accouterments; ergo, he must not have been truly transgender. “Ok there is definitely a very large, burly man in a Lakers jersey who just walked in here. Am I the only one seeing this?” she thought.
 Actually, she wasn’t the only one who noticed the man and she wasn’t the only one who was distressed. But no one made a peep. She wrote: “We were all trading looks and motioning our eyes over to him…like ‘What is he doing in here?’ Yet every single one of us was silent. And this is the reason I wrote this blog [post]. If this had been 5 years ago, you bet your ass every woman in there would’ve been like, ‘Ummm what are you doing in here?’, but in 2017? The mood has shifted. We had been culturally bullied into silence. …” …

How satisfying it is to hear about a liberal getting a small taste of her own bitter medicine. Now she knows what it feels like to be “culturally bullied into silence,” something that I experience on a near daily basis. It seems obvious that this incident at Disneyland was the first time she had ever been on the receiving end of this kind of silencing tactic and she clearly didn’t like it.

But her writing also makes clear that she’s accustomed to using the same tactic against others. The lengthy disclaimer at the front end of her blog post tells me that she still thinks it’s appropriate to label and shun actual “homophobes” and “transphobes.”

 … Still, it’s difficult to imagine this woman’s predicament without sympathizing with her just a little bit. She makes a very good point—that our culture has changed so rapidly in recent years that women are now left feeling helpless when burly men enter their private spaces. The women feel as if they have no backup because, let’s face it, they don’t. Everyone’s been cowed into submission, including Disney and probably including their husbands. Years ago that man in the Lakers jersey would have been knocked upside the head with a dozen or so heavy purses but these days that’s a “transphobic” “hate crime.” Literally. If a woman tried that today she would probably spend years in jail and have her face plastered all over MSNBC.

If we’re ever to roll back this insanity we’re going to have to show some solidarity with the victims of homofascism and transfascism, which are so inexorably linked that they cannot be separated. We’re going to have to let people like Kristen Quintrall Lavin and Kate Hall know that they are not alone. It would make all the difference in the world if they knew that they wouldn’t be left to twist in the wind when the bullies attack. People can’t be “culturally bullied into silence” when their community has their back.

Consider for a moment how the Connecticut state track championship might have played out differently if Kate Hall had known that she had the support of her coach and her parents. I think she might have told that reporter the truth—that an ineligible boy had stolen what was rightfully hers. But that would mean that her parents and her coach would have to have some courage too, which they clearly don’t. In their defense, it’s probably more difficult for them to speak up because they have jobs and can be fired. Going after people’s livelihoods is a favorite tactic of the homofascist Left. So her parents and her coach would need to know that they too would have the support of the community, particularly their employers, if they were besieged by the tolerance bullies. And on and on it goes, moving outward in concentric circles of mutual support away from the person who needs it most.

But we don’t do that for each other. When someone says that a boy is a boy is a boy, no matter how that boys feels about it, that person is almost guaranteed to get pummeled. Too often we turn our backs on that person lest we get pummeled too. Our silence enables them. And that is why the bullies always win.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Bereaved Remainers who daydream that the decision to leave the EU might one day be reversed are delusional

Responding to a Bagehot column in The Economist, Robin Aitkin writes from Oxford that
Wistful daydreaming that the decision to leave the EU might one day be reversed might bring some comfort to bereaved Remainers. They are delusional. Ask this question: if Britain had never joined the EU would we now vote to do so? Looking at the wasteful, sclerotic and undemocratic grouping that it has become, only a Euro-enthusiast of the deepest hue could think that we would.

It is worth remembering that when Britain joined in the 1970s the country’s fortunes were at their lowest ebb. National morale was at rock-bottom and there were serious people who questioned whether Britain

Britain was actually governable, such was the dysfunctional nature of industrial relations. Across the Channel the EEC offered a vision of a better world with Germany still in the Wirtschaftswunder era and France enjoying les trente glorieuses. Britain’s decision to join the EU was akin to that of a drowning man who decides to grab a lifebelt. Today the situation is very different: the European economic model is no longer one that Britain envies and it is Britain which is the magnet for energetic migrants.

Reversing Brexit is now the longest of long shots. But if it is ever to be achieved Tony Blair, a discredited political huckster, is the very last man the public would turn to. Europhiles must find a new face to lead them to the promised land.
Ted Stroll, meanwhile, writes from San Jose, California, that
There is a simple solution to the Brexit conundrum, one that will allow Britain to have its trade cake and eat it too [Special report on the future of the European Union, March 25th]: the UK need only become the 11th province of Canada. Canada and the EU recently concluded a trade agreement and the UK would accede to it as a Canadian province. It would also join NAFTA and enjoy liberal trade terms with the United States.

Adjustments would be few and easy. Canada’s provinces have wide powers and by treaty the UK’s could be even broader. The queen would remain head of state. As a provincial flag, the Union flag would still be flown, with the Canadian flag a discreet presence on government buildings. As Hong Kong and Macau kept the dollar and pataca, so Britain could keep the pound. English would be an official language (though so would French). Such a move wouldn’t be unprecedented. Newfoundland left the UK and joined Canada in 1949. Time to think outside the box.
It did take a few moments before I got the gist of Tom Murphy's comment from Montivilliers, France:
Ted Stroll suggested that Britain should become a new province of Canada after Brexit (Letters, April 6th). There are additional benefits to doing this. Britain would have access both to the boat-building technology of the Inuits and to the oil sands in Alberta. In this way it could have its kayak and heat it.

Saturday, June 03, 2017

2 Dystopian Views: Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us; Huxley, on the other hand, warned of an onslaught of news, real or fabricated, that reduced its consumers to passivity and egotism

Responding to an article in The Economist on Newspapers and television, Joseph Ting writes from Australia that
Regarding “The Trump bump” enjoyed by America’s media (February 18th), Neil Postman, in “Amusing Ourselves to Death”, envisaged this dangerously fractured moment in modern history. George Orwell was afraid of overseers depriving us of information. Aldous Huxley, on the other hand, warned of an onslaught of news, real or fabricated, that reduced its consumers to passivity and egotism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley contended that when truth is drowned in a sea of irrelevance, we would become a trivial culture.

Both dystopian views have proven presciently true. Real facts are submerged into the swamp bottom of lies and manipulation (Orwellian) by the sea tides of their manufactured alternative cousins. But the media, both print and social, need to take care that this moment-by-moment accounting doesn’t drown us in its thought-extinguishing momentum (Huxleyan).

Friday, June 02, 2017

Wonder Woman: Is The Civil Rights Act of 1964 an affront to sovereignty, privacy, dignity, and property rights? And does it exist primarily to keep an army of litigators employed?

In a nod toward female empowerment the Alamo Drafthouse chain of movie theaters plans to offer several screenings of the soon-to-debut Wonder Woman film to female customers only
reports Benny Huang on the Constitution website.
The company has released a statement saying:
“Apologies, gentlemen, but we’re embracing our girl power and saying ‘No Guys Allowed’ for several special shows…”
This is blatantly illegal.

Not that it should be. Alamo Drafthouse is a private company and should be free to discriminate till the cows come home. The women-only screenings nonetheless violate state and local law in multiple localities. An Alamo cinema in Brooklyn, for example, will be in violation of New York State law which declares it to be
“an unlawful discriminatory practice for any person, being the owner, lessee, proprietor, manager, superintendent, agent or employee of any place of public accommodation, resort or amusement, because of…sex…directly or indirectly, to refuse, withhold from or deny to such person any of the accommodations, advantages, facilities or privileges thereof…” 
Similar laws can be found in other cities and states where Alamo Drafthouse is holding its flagrantly illegal screenings.

The reason Alamo Drafthouse is getting away with illegal sex discrimination is because the word “sex” in nondiscrimination laws has morphed before our eyes. Some government entities are now interpreting “sex” to mean “sexual orientation” which is almost always a code word for sexual conduct. It’s also being interpreted to mean “gender identity” or “gender expression.” What this means in practice is that laws that were intended to protect women are now being interpreted to protect men who have sex with men as well as men who think they’re women. The only thing that “sex” apparently doesn’t mean these days is its actual dictionary definition. Consequently, businesses now feel free to discriminate on the basis of sex and no one does anything about it…as long as it’s only men who are being discriminated against, of course.

Isn’t it about time to admit that private sector nondiscrimination are ridiculous? I think so but I’m apparently in the minority on this issue. Almost everyone claims to revere these laws, even conservatives. Most righties support them laws in principle but resent their arbitrary enforcement—and rightfully so. Alamo Drafthouse is proof that the government discriminates in its application of nondiscrimination laws. A law that clearly and unambiguously prohibits discrimination based on sex is only invoked to protect one sex. What’s equal about that?

Nonetheless, a broad consensus exists that private sector nondiscrimination laws are both righteous and necessary. We Americans love them so much that we’ve enacted them by the boatload and created almost as many enforcement agencies to back them up. If a person is refused service he may be able to file simultaneous complaints with the city, county, state, and federal governments. This legal barrage often results in the business owner’s unconditional surrender even if he wasn’t harboring an illegal thought when he decided not to do business with this person. Capitulation is just easier.

Even among conservatives I find myself swimming against the tide on this issue. I’ve tried in vain to explain to my fellow conservatives that they shouldn’t brag about more Republicans than Democrats voting for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It’s true but it’s also a horrible black mark on the party’s record. A few Republicans understood what a monstrosity this law would become and opposed the statist (and racist!) Lyndon Johnson in his efforts to pass the bill. Their names were Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan—perhaps you’ve heard of them?

Politicians certainly don’t speak out against the Civil Rights Act, even conservatives and so-called libertarians like former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson. It’s political suicide. I know of only one elected official currently holding office who has ever criticized it—Rand Paul—and he quickly walked it back.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964, like all private sector nondiscrimination laws, is big government at its worst. It appears to exist primarily to keep an army of litigators employed. It is selectively enforced against disfavored groups and it is often warped with new “interpretations” that are at odds with its text and original intent. It is an affront to sovereignty, privacy, dignity, and property rights. It’s a crap sandwich that the whole country has been choking on for more than fifty years. It needs to be struck down as unconstitutional and we need to teach our children to be ashamed that it ever existed in the first place.

The Wonder Woman kerfuffle makes me wonder where all of the nondiscrimination hardliners have gone. Former Congressman Barney Frank, for example, ought to be the first to file a complaint with one of our many wasteful, redundant “civil rights” bureaucracies because he has zero patience for people who discriminate. Or at least that’s the position he pretended to hold during the debate over Indiana’s religious freedom law.

Barney Frank operates under the false impression that there’s some kind of law that requires businesses to serve everyone. Said Mr. Frank:
“When you open a business, you are being given a set of privileges and protections from the society to make some money and in return the obligation has always been under basic common law that you serve the general public, that anybody who behaves well can be served…” 
Actually, there is no such law and it would be unconstitutional even if there were. Businesses can decline any economic transaction whatsoever as long as they provide a proper government-approved justification. I think that “I don’t want to” should suffice but the law says that’s just not good enough.

It’s important to really hear what Frank is saying here. He’s not saying that there ought to be a law compelling businesses to serve everyone. What he’s saying is that such a law already exists and has existed since time immemorial. He’s trying to pass this off as some kind of great American tradition, as if forcing businesses to serve the general public without exception has been part of our social contract for generations. This is the big lie that surrounds and pervades the debate over private sector nondiscrimination laws. They want us to believe not only that business owners are bondage servants with no right to pick and choose which economic transactions they will engage in but also that it’s always been this way.

I have encountered Frank’s argument roughly a zillion times while debating private sector non-discrimination laws. The argument is that business owners, simply by going into business, have already agreed to “serve the public” which includes absolutely anyone walks in the door. In essence, that means that they have already waived any rights they may have under the Constitution to protect themselves from government coercion. Any business owner who later decides that he doesn’t want to do business with a particular customer or fulfill a particular order is somehow going back on his word and shirking his duty to the public. This is absurd. Business owners don’t make any such promise to “serve the public” nor should they be required to. They can serve those members of the public they want to serve—or at least that’s the way it should be. It’s a two way street; just as customers can choose which businesses to patronize, businesses should be able to choose which customers they will take on. That’s freedom—and it scares the living crap out of some people.

Another candidate for the Hypocrite of The Year award is opinion commentator and militant lesbian Sally Kohn. In 2015, she wrote a column in which she argued that maximum freedom comes through maximum government coercion. “Everyone deserves equal treatment, and businesses should be forced to serve everyone,” was the sub-header.

The gist of Kohn’s column is that nondiscrimination laws are eminently fair because they bind everyone just as they protect everyone. Anyone who doesn’t like these laws must be accustomed to discriminating without being discriminated against. They’re scared because they feel their privilege slipping away. She tries to pretend that she’s very consistent, pointing out she supports laws that work both ways. Yes, she believes that a devout Mormon couple should be forced to rent a hotel room to a radical lesbian feminist but she also thinks that the same law should apply in the reverse scenario. Kohn writes: “The point is that businesses should serve everyone the same and not discriminate. Once upon a time it was lunch counters. Now it’s wedding cakes.” Yes, then it was movie theaters and Sally Kohn was AWOL. She didn’t force her morality on the movie theater owner the same way she would a devout Christian bakery owner because—let’s face it—her supposed consistency isn’t that consistent.

But mine is. Businesses shouldn’t have to serve anyone and they shouldn’t have to explain themselves to the government. I don’t care if it’s lunch counters, wedding cakes or movie theaters. Economic transactions should be made on a voluntary basis. Period.