Foolishness since 2007

Foolishness since 2007
Foolishness since 2007

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Topics That Interest Me


Lots of topics again this week. But the must-read is this one by Victor Davis Hanson.


On Socialism
As the collapse of the Soviet Union approached, Francis Fukuyama proclaimed the victory of liberal democracy over planned socialism in his 1989 essay, “The End of History?” More than a quarter-century later, the USSR has indeed disintegrated. Its former east European empire lies inside the European Union. China has a market economy, though the nation is led by a single party. And the “socialist” states of North Korea, Cuba, and Venezuela are in economic ruin.  Few now advocate “back to the USSR.” At the same time, many people still consider socialism an appealing economic system. Consider, for example, that Bernie Sanders—an avowed supporter of a socialist United States—is America’s most popular politician—and that as many millennials favor socialism as capitalism.

On Public Education 

Scenario: 
Johnny and Mark get into a fight after school. 

1950s - Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up best friends. 

2017 - Police called, and they arrest Johnny and Mark and charge them with assault.
Both expelled even though Johnny started it.
Both children go to anger management programs for 3 months.
School governors hold a meeting to implement bullying prevention programs.

--------------------------

Scenario:
Mark gets headaches and always takes some Aspirin to school. 

1950s - Mark takes the aspirin at the water fountain, passes exams and becomes a lawyer.

2017 - Police called, searches for drugs and weapons.
Mark expelled from school for drug taking. Ends up as a dropout.

--------------------------

Scenario:
Johnny falls while playing football and scrapes his knee.
He is found crying by his teacher, Mary.  She hugs him to comfort him. 

1950s - In a short time, Johnny feels better and goes on playing football. No damage was done.

2017 - Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job. She faces 3 years in prison.
Johnny undergoes 5 years of therapy. 



For students of history, an excellent read
The Bigmouth Tradition of American Leadership 

Photoshopped


California Housing
California may offer the world a smartphone app for every need, but it cannot ensure affordable shelter for those who help to create the world’s social-media outlets and smartphones. Many streets around high-tech corporate campuses are lined with parked RVs that serve as worker housing compounds. In nearby Redwood City, World War II-era cottages have become virtual hostels. Trailers, tiny garages, and converted patios serve as quasi-apartments. How can so smart be so stupid?

On Public Education
Roger Hodgson has said of the song’s meaning: “The Logical Song” was born from my questions about what really matters in life. Throughout childhood, we are taught all these ways to be and yet we are rarely told anything about our true self. We are taught how to function outwardly, but not guided to who we are inwardly. We go from the innocence and wonder of childhood to the confusion of adolescence that often ends in the cynicism and disillusionment of adulthood. In The Logical Song, the burning question that came down to its rawest place was 'please tell me who I am,' and that's basically what the song is about. I think this eternal question continues to hit such a deep chord in people around the world and why it stays so meaningful." 

The lyrics are a condemnation of an education system focused on categorical jargon as opposed to knowledge and sensitivity.

The Logical Song - Supertramp - 1979

When I was young, it seemed that life was so wonderful
A miracle, oh it was beautiful, magical
And all the birds in the trees, well they'd be singing so happily
Oh joyfully, playfully watching me
But then they send me away to teach me how to be sensible
Logical, oh responsible, practical
And they showed me a world where I could be so dependable
Oh clinical, oh intellectual, cynical

There are times when all the world's asleep
The questions run too deep
For such a simple man
Won't you please, please tell me what we've learned
I know it sounds absurd
Please tell me who I am

I said, watch what you say or they'll be calling you a radical
Liberal, oh fanatical, criminal
Won't you sign up your name, we'd like to feel you're Acceptable
Respectable, oh presentable, a vegetable!
Oh, take it take it yeah

But at night, when all the world's asleep
The questions run so deep
For such a simple man
Won't you please tell me what we've learned
I know it sounds absurd
Please tell me who I am, who I am, who I am, who I am
'Cause I was feeling so logical
D-d-digital
One, two, three, five
Oh, oh, oh, oh
It's getting unbelievable




From Hard Progressive to Hard Conservative Ideology
We had zero hope with Obama. He exceeded our expectations of being the most toxic president ever.

We had some hope that Trump would turn out to be better than we expected. His racist comments are sinking that hope.

Whatever Donald J. Trump’s political past and vociferous present, his first year of governance is most certainly as hard conservative as Barack Obama’s eight years were hard progressive. We are watching a rare experiment in political governance play out, as we go, in back-to-back fashion, from one pole to its opposite.

Another scorecard on Trump. There is no hand clapping.

By William A. Galston

Donald Trump campaigned on a pledge to make America great again. As president he is doing the opposite: He is making America smaller than at any time in the past 100 years.

By pulling the U.S. out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Mr. Trump has ceded economic leadership in Asia and beyond to China, whose president touts the Chinese model to other countries that want the blessings of prosperity without the inconveniences of liberty. To back up this offer, China is investing huge sums in its “One Belt, One Road” plan and in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

These moves are having the intended effect. Myanmar, which had long been dominated by anti-Chinese sentiment, is now accepting China’s blandishments. The country’s leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, went to Beijing last week for a conference hosted by the Communist Party.

Vietnam, which has looked to the U.S. as a counterweight against its historical enemy to the north, now wonders whether it must accept Beijing’s economic leadership and yield to its claims in the South China Sea. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has made noises about abandoning his country’s alliance with the U.S. in favor of China. Even Australia, one of our closest allies, is openly debating how to deal with American decline.

In the Middle East, the Trump administration is busy giving ground to Russia. Vladimir Putin is conducting Syrian peace talks while America languishes on the sidelines. Turkey, a member of NATO since 1952, is endorsing the Kremlin’s leading role. Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently met with Mr. Putin and Iran’s Hassan Rouhani to support negotiations on the future structure of the Syrian government and state.

Egypt was another long-term linchpin of American diplomacy, and Mr. Trump has lavished praise on its autocratic leader. Yet Cairo has just struck a deal allowing the largest Russian military presence on its soil and in its airspace since 1973. The U.S. doesn’t even have an ambassador in Egypt, let alone a coherent policy to deal with this pivotal country.

Even in Europe, America has been diminished. Mr. Trump’s early ambivalence toward NATO, which gave way to a grudging expression of support, have left a residue of doubt about the credibility of American guarantees. He has driven a wedge between the U.S. and Germany, long our closest ally on the Continent. The “special relationship” with the United Kingdom may not survive his repeated gaffes, capped by his impulsive decision to retweet discredited anti-Muslim videos from a British fringe group.

Close to home, Mr. Trump’s brand of leadership is sorely trying Canadians’ patience: 93% view him as arrogant, 78% as intolerant, and 72% as dangerous. Mexico’s people have also been united against the U.S., by Mr. Trump’s ham-handed immigration policies and heedless negotiations to revise the North American Free Trade Agreement. This may well lead Mexicans to elect an anti-American left-wing populist as their president next year. That Mr. Trump has no discernible policy toward Central and South America is probably a good thing.

Squandering America’s economic and political influence is bad enough. Far worse has been the way Mr. Trump has dissipated our moral authority. Yes, the U.S. has struck deals with unsavory regimes, especially during the Cold War, and has sometimes failed to respect the outcomes of free and fair elections. In the main, however, America has pushed for free societies and democratic governments around the world, while speaking against repression in all its forms.

Until now. The Trump administration has all but abandoned democracy promotion. In practice, an “America First” foreign policy means being indifferent to the character of the regimes with which the U.S. does business.

I wish I could say that President Trump shares this indifference. In fact, he prefers autocrats to elected leaders. He admires their “strength.” He envies their ability to get their way without the pesky opposition of legislatures and courts. He probably wishes he had their power to shut down critical news organizations. In his ideal world, everyone would fall in line behind his goals, and his will would be law.

The world has taken President Trump’s measure. In a 2017 survey of 37 countries, 64% of people expressed confidence in Barack Obama’s ability to do the right thing in international affairs, compared with 22% for Mr. Trump. The current president’s figures were 11% in Germany, 14% in France, and 22% in the U.K. The principal exception was Russia, where Mr. Trump enjoyed 53% approval, compared with 11% for Mr. Obama.

In 1776, at the threshold of American independence, the Founding Fathers espoused a “decent respect to the opinions of mankind.” Today, citizens of countries around the world regard the U.S. as morally diminished under Mr. Trump’s leadership. He shows no signs of caring, and he probably doesn’t.


San Francisco Wasn’t a Sanctuary for Kate Steinle - Insantity
By Jason L. Riley
Dec. 5, 2017

If sanctuary policies for illegal immigrants got Kate Steinle killed, did Donald Trump’s harsh anti-immigration rhetoric help pave the way for her assailant’s unexpected acquittal last week on murder, manslaughter and assault charges?

Trying to make sense of Steinle’s horrific death was difficult enough. Now we must process the criminal justice system’s horrifically lenient treatment of her killer. Two years ago, a man with a lengthy criminal record—a man who should not have been in the country in the first place—
fired a stolen semiautomatic pistol on a crowded San Francisco pier. The bullet ricocheted off the pavement and into the back of a 32-year-old woman out for a stroll with her father. The shooter then threw the gun into the San Francisco Bay and fled, while his victim died in her father’s arms.

Everyone acknowledges that Jose Ines Garcia Zarate is the man responsible for Steinle’s death, yet the system in place to bring the killer to justice seems far more interested in his well-being than it ever was in hers. At the time of the shooting, Mr. Garcia Zarate had racked up seven felony convictions and been deported from the U.S. five times. His lawyers argued that the stolen gun, which the defendant said he found under a bench, went off by accident. Prosecutors
brought several charges. The jury could have found Mr. Garcia Zarate guilty of murder, manslaughter or even assault with a deadly weapon, but it declined to convict on any of those counts. Instead, he was found guilty of being a felon in possession of a firearm. He could face up to three years in state prison—a term he may have already satisfied.

During his race for president against Hillary Clinton, Mr. Trump spoke frequently and forcefully about the Steinle case and how local law-enforcement officials deal with the undocumented immigrants they encounter. “My opponent wants sanctuary cities,” he said in his nomination acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention last year. “But where was the sanctuary for Kate Steinle?”

That question still looms after last week’s verdict given that sanctuary cities like San Francisco, which restrict cooperation between local police and federal immigration authorities, see no need to change their ways. Before the shooting, Mr. Garcia Zarate was in custody and on track to be deported (yet again) but was first transferred to the San Francisco Jail on an outstanding drug-related warrant. After city prosecutors declined to prosecute that case, he was released
despite a request from federal agents to hold him for deportation. Which is to say that this wasn’t a mix-up. The San Francisco authorities did not make a mistake. Mr. Garcia Zarate didn’t fall through the cracks. He was released because that was the policy for dealing with illegal aliens, and it’s still the policy. Kate Steinle’s killer would be released again today.

Around 500 cities and counties in the U.S. can be described as illegal immigrant sanctuaries, though the level of cooperation with federal authorities varies. The Department of Homeland Security says that it doesn’t have the manpower to patrol the interior without help from the nation’s 765,000 police officers. Some police departments counter that sanctuary ordinances strengthen relationships between law enforcement and immigrants. If people in a community
fear that the police are there to deport them, they are less likely to report crimes and public safety suffers. But isn’t fear of deportation also a deterrent to entering the country illegally? Doesn’t lax enforcement of our immigration laws beget more violations of our immigration laws?

Steinle’s death illustrates the significant trade-offs involved in constructing sanctuary jurisdictions. Americans understandably want immigration policies in place that prioritize the needs and concerns of U.S. citizens, not foreign nationals. In effect, San Francisco’s sanctuary policy prioritized the Garcia Zarates, which is another outrage.

Kate Steinle’s killer is not the poster child for illegal immigration, despite Mr. Trump’s efforts to turn him into one. The research consistently has shown that immigrants here both legally and illegally are less likely than their native counterparts to be arrested and imprisoned. And that holds true whether the immigrant hails from Japan, India or Ecuador. America’s violent-crime
rates are driven mostly by Americans. But neither is every immigrant a blameless Dreamer and too often immigration activists and liberal politicians are as unwilling as the president to make a distinction.

The San Francisco jurors who went easy on Mr. Garcia Zarate haven’t made public their reasoning, and maybe they never will. But don’t rule out jury nullification. The president is deeply unpopular in the City by the Bay, where less than 10% of voters supported his presidential bid. Kate Steinle may also have been a victim of ideologically driven jurors looking to send a message to the president.



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