ZipDialog Roundup for Sunday, August 20

Articles chosen with care. Your comments welcomed.
Linked articles in bold purple

The turnout in Boston was lopsided, with virtually everybody there marching against the neo-Nazis and Klan. No violence, few arrests.

Very smart, well-prepared policing helped. No one could even bring sticks for their banners.

Of the many ruminations on our country and our sometimes-vexed history, this NYT column by Maureen Dowd is particularly good. It is a fond memory of her father’s courageous good deed in rural Maryland.

⇒ A less appealing take is that of race-hustling academic, Michael Eric Dyson, who says Antifa and Black Lives Matter are “preserving the fabric of America” (CNN)

Comment: The best comment on Dyson came from a friend, who said, “He should stick to making vacuum cleaners.”

Islamic terror: How a dozen young men from a small town secretly plotted the deadliest terrorist attack in Spain in more than a decade (Washington Post)

As many as eight of 12 young men named as suspects in the terrorist attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils are first- and second-generation Moroccan immigrants from the picturesque town of Ripoll, perched high in the forests at the edge of the Pyrenees, a two-hour drive on the highway from Barcelona.

Parents of the young men here told The Washington Post they fear their sons were radicalized by a visiting cleric who spent the last months praying, preaching — and possibly brainwashing gullible youngsters who spoke better Spanish than Arabic.

Comment: In the hours after the Barcelona attack, Spanish police thought they have rolled up the whole cell. Now, they know that some have escaped, possibly into France, including the cleric.  Note that, once again, many of the Jihadis have actually grown up in Europe and failed to assimilate.

Twitter Censorship: Bans ads using the words “illegal immigrants.”  They consider it “hate speech” (Daily Caller)

Twitter has rejected a conservative organization’s request to promote tweets highlighting the harmful effects of illegal immigration, apparently because using the word “illegal” to refer to immigrants violates the company’s hate speech rules.

The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), a Washington, D.C.-based immigration research group, recently submitted three tweets for promotion

Comment: Here are the three tweets. Judge for yourself if they are “hate speech.”

What do I think? These comments are not even close to real hate speech.

Twitter is simply smearing a viewpoint they dislike with a term everyone dislikes.

 Real hate speech: Missouri state senator, Maria Chappelle-Nadal (D), called for Pres. Trump’s assassination; now she is resisting calls for her resignation, including calls from her own party’s leaders (Kansas City Star)

Comment: Noxious. I don’t know the Missouri legislative rules, but, assuming they permit expulsion, she should be tossed out.

Solar energy contributes to income inequality, one op-ed argues (Deseret News, Salt Lake City)

The argument is fairly simple. When local utility companies are required to buy homeowners’ excess solar energy at very-high prices (well above normal electricity prices), they are transferring money from their average customers to those with solar panels.

The people who install solar panels on their rooftops are richer than average customers, and its these richer homeowners who receive subsidies from average rate payers. Ergo, the Utah program contributes to income inequality.

Comment: The contribution to income inequality is surely small, and even that is a static calculation. In dynamic terms, the purchase of these rooftop units by higher-income households brings down the costs of these units for everyone in the future, just as richer consumers bought the initial, expensive cell phones and brought down unit prices for everyone later.

Still, the larger point is worth considering. Many “do-gooder” projects, which everyone pays for, actually benefit the well-off, not the poor.

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Hat Tip to

◆ Bob Lieber for the Maureen Dowd column

Chinese Censorship of Cambridge University Press, which Caves In to Pressure

Cambridge University Press is the oldest publishing house in the world–it was chartered by Henry VIII in 1534–and is one of the most distinguished.

Like many academic presses, they publish some prominent academic journals, including several that deal with China.

The last thing China wants to see is its own people reading critical, outside views of their country.

So, like all dictatorships, Beijing has told CUP to cut it out–and made them an offer they couldn’t refuse. Or, rather, an offer they didn’t refuse, though such a refusal would have been the only way to maintain their scholarly integrity.

There is an ironic twist. The “banned list” (available here) is now a go-to list for critical articles, a familiar story for all lists of banned articles and books.

Still, this caving to dictatorial pressure is shameful and contradicts the basic purpose of a university and its scholarly press.

Here’s the story in a post:

 

 

ZipDialog Roundup: What to Know about Barcelona and the Jihadist Attack; Friday, August 18

Articles chosen with care. Your comments welcomed.
Linked articles in bold purple

◆ Barcelona: What to Know about the Terror on Las Ramblas

Explanation: Barcelona is one of the great cities of Europe, with a very mixed population. It has fabulous architecture and is a particularly good city for walking, strolling, having a cup of coffee outdoors. Americans think of it as “Spanish,” but it is also the capital of the Catalan region, which has its own language and which has voted to become independent. (Madrid has resisted and, unlike the Basque separatists, those in Catalan have not be violent.)

One of Barcelona’s main spots for strolling is a pedestrian street, Las Ramblas, which runs a couple of miles from the port to a major plaza. It is next to a medieval quarter, which is also great for strolling or sitting at a cafe.

The only vehicles permitted are those delivering merchandise to the store, and those are rare (most deliveries are at night or by small carts).

A picture will help you understand the ambiance. 

A Jihadist attack there was bound to kill many tourists, strike terror into the whole city, damage its vital tourist industry, and perhaps reiterate the Islamist claim that the Iberian peninsula should revert to Muslim control because, long ago, it was conquered by Islam.

Of particular concern: The fact that the attack was so well-organized and seems to be linked to a strong support network (how else could the driver have been hidden after escape? how else would a bomb factory be found in another town?)

Yes, there will be a lot of attention to the missed signals from the US to Spanish and Catalan authorities, as there should be.

There will be a lot of attention to the huge, illegal migration from North Africa to Spain, a short boat ride away from Morocco.

And there will rightly be a lot of concern about

  • The sophistication of this Islamist plot
  • The morphing of Islamist tactics as they lose their “caliphate” and send battle-hardened veterans back to Europe and North America to control local terror ops
  • The ease of killing people on sidewalks all over the world
    • If you harden one such targets, there are thousands more
    • These attacks are not limited to one city or one country; they are spread across the civilized world
  • The unregulated flow of North Africans and Middle Easterners into Europe
    • Still supported by clueless politicians, led by Germany’s Angela Merkel
  • The support network of local extremists, some of whom have lived in Europe for 2-3 generations without becoming European and accepting basic values of tolerance, peaceful contestation of grievances, and acceptance of social and religious differences
    • Note that the idea of a caliphate deeply contradicts western Europe’s hard-won achievement of separating political authority from religious authority; our leaders are not our chief priests and political dissent is not apostacy, as they are in an Islamic caliphate

There should be deep concern about all of these issues.

There should be much more attention to the spread of pernicious Islamist ideologies and their support from state sponsors, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and, of course, Iran.

There should be deep concern about how to suppress the threats and how to do so without crushing the very liberties we seek to protect.

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Censoring those statues: When YOU do it, you are an uncultured redneck. When I do it, I am respecting diversity

If you have a long memory, you might recall George W. Bush’s Attorney General John Ashcroft deciding to change the backdrop at the Department of Justice.

Initially, when he held press conferences, he stood in front of the Department’s half-nude, art deco statue, “Spirit of Justice.”

He preferred a more modest, less distracting backdrop, so he had blue curtains installed.

It seemed a little silly, but harmless enough.

The national media had a field day mocking him as a cultural cretin.

“What kind of backwoods idiot is he?” was the view in Manhattan, Cambridge, and the swankier sections of Washington. They deigned to look down their collective noses at him and his kind of people, much as they laughed at Victorians who covered up piano “legs.”

Typical were the views of always-grating Maureen Dowd (link here):

A Blue Burka for Justice

By Maureen Dowd

New York Times, January 30, 2002

I had to call Attorney General John Ashcroft recently to ask if he had instructed his advance team to remove naked lady statues and calico cats from his vicinity because they were wicked.

I know it sounds loopy. But with these guys, you never know. –NYT

Yuck, yuck, yuck!! Those rubes.

(Btw, Dowd’s column is not an example of newspaper bias, IMO. You can agree or disagree with her, but she is writing an opinion column, and it is clearly labeled as such. The Times’ problem with bias is not that its opinion columns tilt one way but that its editorial opinions suffuse its hard-news coverage.)

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Now, the tables have turned, and I await the mockery from the NYT, the Post, and others.

I suspect I’ll have a long wait.

Here’s the story:

Yale University censors ‘hostile’ historic artwork (Link here)

Officials at Yale University recently censored a stone work of art on campus depicting an armed Native American and Puritan side by side, which has been described as a “hostile” image by the Ivy League institution’s alumni magazine.

The stone carving was edited to cover up the Puritan’s musket, while the Native American’s bow was left as is, reports Yale Alumni Magazine (link here).

The decision to censor the carving was made by both head librarian Susan Gibbons and Yale’s Committee on Art in Public Spaces, the latter of which advises President Peter Salovey “on ways to better represent the diversity of the Yale community through the art and other symbolic representations found around campus,” according to the university’s website. –The College Fix, referencing Yale Alumni Magazine

Did anybody complain or even notice the shocking musket? Nope, no record of any complaints.

Is Yale unique in such censorship? Alas, no.

A number of universities in recent years have censored or concealed art on campus. Earlier this year, Pepperdine University removed a Christopher Columbus statue from its grounds while late last summer the University of Wisconsin-Stout moved a painting of Native Americans and French frontier trappers from a public area to a private conference room. The art in these two cases was deemed “painful” and “harmful,” respectively. –College Fix

I just hope the New York Times doesn’t find out. Surely they will be outraged at this artistic censorship.

Yeah, sure.

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Comments:

  1. It is not unexpected that Yale would censor anything it considers politically incorrect. That’s its standard practice today.
    • It encourages the same kind of robust diversity of political opinion you find on the back of a cereal box.
    • Yale sets standards for free and open discourse Google can only aspire to.
  2. Judging from Yale’s abject behavior, and the lack of public criticism, John Ashcroft should have tried a different spin. He should have said the magic words, “This statue is offensive to the vital cause of female equality in the workplace.”
  3. I look forward to Maureen Dowd, New York Times, WaPo, and others attacking Yale’s censorship. So far, crickets.
  4. My own comment, as an alum is simple
    • Free Speech at universities is the most important issue in higher education today.
    • Yale doesn’t just fail on this issue. Under Pres. Peter Salovey and his administration, it sets the gold standard for politically-correct suppression of speech, all in the name of social justice. It is, I’m afraid, a standard made of fools’ gold.

ZipDialog Roundup for Thursday, August 17….Meanwhile, in other news

Articles chosen with care. Your comments welcomed.
Linked articles in bold purple

◆ Now that the aftermath of the Charlottesville terror has formed a clear pattern, ZipDialog will feature some other news –news that has been understandably buried by our country’s focus on this tragic issue

China mocks  India in tense border standoff in Himalayan Mountains (Newsweek)

China’s state-controlled news agency published an English-language video called the “7 Sins of India” that Indian newspapers have called racist.

Comment: China’s aggressive policies have put it in conflict with most of its neighbors, inadvertently creating a ring of cooperating adversaries, led, of course, by the US.

Turkey continues to slide toward an Islamist, personalistic dictatorship led by Erdogan.

It is steadily cracking down on dissent, eliminating any chance of closer relations with Europe, much less its ambitious goal of EU membership.

It began the EU membership process in 1987, and it is further away today than three decades ago.

Turkey says it wants to join the EU, but has no intention of complying with membership rules.

The EU says it wants Turkey to join, but is fully aware that it does not qualify.

Turkey pushes forward in the hope that the EU might someday change its rules; the EU pushes forward in the hope that Turkey might someday qualify.

Neither will happen. –Burak Bekdil, for Begin-Sadat Center (link here)

University responds to planned free-speech panel by canceling it (Daily Caller)

The university is one of Canada’s best-known: Ryerson.

The reason, a professor who advocates free speech would be coming, she was (falsely) attacked as a “Nazi” by the well-organized left, and the university buckled, citing “safety concerns.”

“[Progressive activists] were calling me a Nazi, a fascist, and an anti-Semite,” Dr. Gad Saad, a Concordia University marketing professor and one of the panelists, [said]. “I’m Jewish. So, they’ve lost the plot. It’s a form of lunacy that’s difficult to diagnose.”  –Daily Caller

Comment: The heckler’s veto is becoming a “threatened riot” veto.

When universities cannot hold legitimate debates about free speech on campus, the world of higher education is profoundly threatened.

Hamas, known for its suicide attacks, is hit by one. (Washington Post)

The bomber was sneaking in from Egypt’s Sinai, an area filled with jihadis, including the Islamic State.

It was the first time Hamas itself as been struck.

Comment: They did not appreciate the irony.

 Lots of Democrats want to run in 2018. That’s a good sign for the party says 538 blog (538 blog)

Their statistics show a positive correlation between the party’s overall success and these early signals.

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Quick tip: Normally, the Neo-Nazis are NOT the Third Rail of American Politics

How can you managed to turn a simple matter–morally and politically–into a day-after-day controversy and ultimately a political firestorm?

Good heavens, man, condemning the neo-Nazis and KKK when they instigate the event and cause a death: not a hard call.

When the anarchists or some other group lead the chaos, then condemn them.

But not now.

When progressives go too far–demanding the George Washington and Thomas Jefferson be excised from history and honored status–condemn them when they do. (The chances they will go too far? Very high.)

But not now.

Act like the President of the whole country.

Now.

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Is there anybody in the West Wing saying, “At least that got the Russia investigation off the front page”?