ZipDialog Roundup for Wednesday, August 16

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

Trump doubles down on moral equivalence, blaming all sides for violence in Charlottesville. 

Comment: Not just a tactical mistake, IMO–an ethical travesty.

It is a tactical mistake, of course, because it keeps this dreadful, wrenching story alive for several more days and will undoubtedly animate the crazies on the left.

It is also true that some on the far left came to fight; so did some anarchists, who sided with them.

But the main points are these:

  • The whole event occurred because the neo-Nazis and KKK came to town to “defend” the statue of Robert E. Lee
  • It was one of their number who actually killed somebody, and
  • In such times, the President’s first responsibility is to rise about partisanship and speak for the country as a whole, to act as a stabilizing presence.

Trump failed.

Speaking of failure…The American Bar Association wants undocumented/illegal immigrants to practice law (Law Newz)

On Monday, The American Bar Association’s House of Delegates passed a resolution demanding that Congress let undocumented immigrants practice law…..

A few states allow undocumented people to become lawyers. California started allowing some people to practice law thanks to a bill passed in 2013. –Law Newz

Comment: There is zero chance a Republican Congress will pass, or Pres. Trump will sign, this proposed law.

Still, the ABA’s vote is shocking, even as virtue signalling (which is what it is).

Why? Because, whatever you call these immigrants (undocumented or illegal), their first act on American soil was to break the law. They entered the country illegally. They are still here illegally. To entrust them to serve as “officers of the court,” which all lawyers are, makes a mockery of that term.

Congressional Black Caucus Chair says U.S. “Is Not the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave” (CNS News)

Comment: Part of their new outreach to Middle America?

Provo, Utah, mayor John Curtis declares victory in race to success Rep. Jason Chaffetz (Salt Lake City Tribune)

He ran as a conservative Republican (though he had been a Democrat in 2000). One opponent ran to his right; the other was a relative newcomer and less well-known.

Attitudes toward Trump did not play a large role in the race, according to the Salt Lake City paper.

Alabama: Primary for US Senate to replace Jeff Sessions: Runoff next month between Republicans, winner to face Democrat (Al.com)

Roy Moore will face Luther Strange in a runoff for the Republican nomination on Sept. 26. The winner will face former U.S. attorney Doug Jones in December. –Al.com

Luther Strange is currently sitting in the Senate, appointed by the Governor. He was endorsed by Mitch McConnell (who got Trump to endorse him) and had establishment money. But he underperformed badly in the primary.

Rep. Mo Brooks, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, who had support from conservative talk radio hosts, came in third–a major setback for them. Brooks will remain in the House and says he plans to run for reelection in 2018.

Roy Moore, who led the field, is a very controversial figure, best known for his refusal to remove the Ten Commandments from the state Judicial Building, despite a Federal Court order to do so. That refusal (in 2001) led to his removal from the bench; he had been Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. In 2016, when he was again Chief Justice, he was suspended (and later resigned) for ordering lower-court judges to continue enforcing the state’s ban on same-sex marriages, even though the ban had been overturned by Federal Courts.

Comment: Moore praised Brooks on election night–a smart strategic move–and is now in a strong position to garner his votes as the most anti-establishment candidate.

Because Moore is so controversial, expect this race to receive national attention.

 

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ZipDialog Roundup for Thursday, August 3

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

Trump proposes new immigration bill; uses point-based system to favor those with high skills; will cut total legal immigration in half (ABC News)

The bill aims to prioritize workers’ skills over family ties, and amounts to the “most significant reform to our immigration system in half a century,” Trump said. The goal of the bill would be to knock down the number of legal immigrants admitted into the U.S. each year from about 1 million to 500,000 by 2027.

The RAISE bill would cut out the four-tiered family immigration category for green cards, paving way for a new merit-based system that prioritizes high-skilled workers who have a high level of English and “entrepreneurial initiative.” –ABC News

Comment: The two central elements of the bill are inherently separable. Shifting to a merit-based system does not entail raising or lowering the number of people legally admitted. If lower-skilled workers are still needed for some jobs, then an amendment could admit them on a temporary basis–but only if there was some tough measures to ensure they left after that period. Right now, there aren’t.

Bipartisan support? Not a chance. The Democrats are already lining up to say how racist it is. It isn’t.

What’s interesting is that the cutbacks will clear bolster employment opportunities and wages for lower-income Americans–precisely the people Democrats claim they want to help. Unfortunately for Democrats, it cuts into Hispanic immigration, or, to put it differently, into the Identity Politics that is now the true heart of the party. Forced to choose between Identity Politics and Lower-income workers (including many blacks and Hispanics), the Democrats are going with Identity.

Interesting question: will African-American Democrats go along? My bet is that they will, but that they will try to keep a low profile to avoid attention from their voters (who will be harmed). Pelosi and other House Democratic leaders will say, “If blacks and Hispanic members split on this, we’ll lose our leverage.”

Actually, they don’t have any leverage. The real leverage will come from the US Chamber of Commerce, and it will be on Republicans, some of whom will cave.

⇒ Followup: What Did the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) leaders say today? Crickets

I checked the Twitter feeds for these officers of the CBC:

None tweeting anything about the immigration proposal. Most of the other members, even the most voluble, such as Maxine Waters, maintained twitter silence on immigration.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee was the only prominent CBC member I found who weighed in. Her tweet lays out the likely response of African-American Democrats: We hate Trump, so we hate his immigration bill.

 Venice “Invaded by Tourists, Risks Becoming ‘Disneyland on the Sea’” (New York Times)

Comment:

  • It’s true, but what’s new? Mainly increasing numbers of “day trippers” and stops by large cruise boats.
  • Venice has earned its living from tourists like these for about 400 years. Nothing new here. Nobody’s rowing ships to the Ottoman Empire anymore.
  • The solution is easy: charge day trippers to come during peak months. You see, NYT, it would work sort of like you charging more for the Sunday paper. . .
  • The more difficult problem is rising sea levels, which now flood Venetian streets and squares with depressing regularity.

 Without exactly apologizing for a misleading story, the NYT now says that the DOJ is focusing on discrimination against Asian-Americans by affirmative action programs (New York Times)

The NYT also reports on the Asian-American lawsuit against Harvard. Harvard is not alone; there are similar suits pending against Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, and Penn.

Comment: It is blindingly obvious, at least to me, that these universities discriminate against Asian-Americans. Just look at their percentages (15-25%), compared to about 50% at Berkeley, which is legally prohibited from such discrimination–and would have a hard time doing it politically in California. Granted, California has more Asian-Americans, but the proportions at the Ivies are out of whack.

My guess is that the admissions departments say what they did about Jews 60 years ago: “We just have too many of these students who score 800 in math, 700 in verbal, and play the violin. They just aren’t ‘well-rounded.’ ” No matter that these students’ parents, like Jewish parents of an earlier generation, had modest incomes, encouraged their bright kids to study hard, and then watched as Harvard and Princeton smacked them down for far less-qualified students.

The only argument in Harvard’s favor is one they would never use: we are a private university and, until the government nationalizes us, we can set our own damned admissions standards, even if you think they are unfair.

The government’s response, “Hey, buddy, nice genetic research program you got there. Hate to see all the money taken away from it.” That, of course, is how the government enforces its Title IX rules on athletic programs.

 NAACP issues travel advisory, warning blacks it is dangerous for them to travel to Missouri  (The Root)

State NAACP leaders told the [Kansas City] Star that the decision to issue the advisory was made after recent legislation passed in the state which makes it harder to win discrimination suits, the longtime and continued racial disparities in traffic enforcement, and a number of incidents that exemplify harm coming to both minority residents and minority visitors to the state. –The Root

 White House finally admits those calls to Trump from the Boy Scouts and President of Mexico didn’t actually happen (New York Times)

Comment: If only we had a cliché to describe that thing when somebody says something he knows is not true, and then does it over and over.

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ZipDialog’s Roundup of News Beyond the Front Page . . Saturday, February 4

Hand-picked and farm-fresh–
Linked articles in bold purple

 Congressional Black Caucus very upset at “Latino” who wants to join. 

Actually, he is a Dominican of African descent.  (Politico)

[Representative Adriano] Espaillat’s district, while majority Latino, has a sizable African-American population and includes Harlem, long the intellectual and cultural center for black America.

“See that complicates matters. Even though our agendas are typically parallel, occasionally they are not. So it may be problematic if someone wants to belong to two ethnic caucuses,” said. Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), a former chairman of the CBC. “If he’s considered an African-American then he’s certainly welcome in the caucus. But I can’t speak for the caucus.” –Politico

Comment: “Oh what a tangled web we weave. When first we organize as identity-politics cheerleaders.” Why? Because it is unclear how to determine identity and who gets to determine it. As the CBC dispute illustrates, the left is now in the odd position of asserting that “male” and “female” are subjective, fluid categories, to be determined by each individual and accommodated by others, but that somehow “race” is not a largely-subjective category to be determined by each individual.

As far as I’m concerned, the CBC should be able to determine their own rules for membership. But it is interesting to watch their hypocrisy in dealing with these identity issues.

◆ Post of the Day: “Some Typos Are Worse Than Others,” says Judge Rakoff

Comment:  “I’m so embarrassed,” said the editor. “This went out prematurely.”

 New Defense Secretary, Mattis, faces big problems in Europe (Russia, NATO), the Middle East (Iran, ISIS, other terrorism), and Asia-Pacific (China). He goes to Asia first  CNN reports key American allies, Japan and South Korea, are reassured by the meeting but still anxious about China’s aggressive actions.

Predictably, China pushes back (AP)

Comment: The global problems are so vexing and manifold that the new Administration would be well advised to move very carefully in establishing priorities and clear strategies. We have limited resources. 

Mattis did make one clear, strong statement. In a modulated tone, he said that any use of North Korean nuclear weapons would lead to an “overwhelming” US response. The US also committed itself to installing high-tech missile defense in South Korea.

 Islamist attacks the Louvre and its tourists with machete. (NYT) Good lord, why? Still grumpy over Charles Martel and the Battle of Tours?

Updated reports from France24 are here, covering not only the Louvre attack but also French raids on Islamists in its aftermath. 

 Another Putin opponent poisoned and near death (Daily Beast)

Comment: This thuggish regime will face increasing trouble as its economy continues to decline and its population continues to age. Yes, they are playing a weak handle well internationally, but it is hard to see how the regime gains much tangibly from its costly international engagements.

 Prominent German weekly, Der Spiegel, has cover of Pres. Trump beheading the Statue of Liberty  (Daily Mail)

An Irish publication, The Village, features a cover with a rifle sight centered on Trump’s head.

Comment: Seeing this cover, a sense of revulsion should run through all decent people. You don’t have to like Trump to understand that democratic governance cannot tolerate casual discussion of assassination as a political strategy. 

 Immediately after Trump imposes sanctions on Iran, the Mullahs schedule weekend military exercises to test its missile and radar systems and cyber warfare capabilities  (Reuters)

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ZipDialog’s Roundup of News Beyond the Front Page . . Monday, January 16, the day honoring Dr. Martin Luther King

Hand-picked and farm-fresh–
Linked articles in bold purple

 The Strategy of Delegitimating Trump  Rep. John Lewis, civil-rights leader from the MLK days, calls Trump’s presidency illegitimate because of Russian hacking. Republicans disagree, predictably. The New York Times, predictably, runs an article headlined: “In Trump’s Feud With John Lewis, Blacks Perceive a Callous Rival”

The Congressional Black Caucus, whose motto is “The Conscience of the Congress,” is, predictably, lining up with Lewis, providing a strong invitation for more democrats to join in the claim that Donald Trump is not the legitimate president.

Days before his inauguration, President-elect Donald J. Trump is engaged in a high-profile feud with some of the country’s most prominent African-American leaders, setting off anger in a constituency already wary of him after a contentious presidential campaign.

Mr. Trump’s criticism of Representative John Lewis of Georgia, a widely admired leader of the civil rights movement, has prompted a number of Democratic lawmakers to say they will not attend his inauguration on Friday. –New York Times

 

 Trump blames “all those illegals” from the Middle East for troubles in the European Union.  Interviewed by the Times of London and Germany’s Bild, Trump says

People, countries, want their own identity and the UK wanted its own identity. But, I do believe this, if they hadn’t been forced to take in all of the refugees, so many, with all the problems that it … entails, I think that you wouldn’t have a Brexit. -Donald Trump interview

The Los Angeles Times story about the interview and aides’ comments is here.

 Drumbeat of Teachers’ Unions against Trump’s nominee for Education  Expect plenty of headlines like this one in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Pa. educators have ‘worries’ about Trump’s Cabinet nominee

Comment: In this news article, the word “wallet” appears in the second sentence and “billionaire” in the third. The first quote is from the state teacher’s union. In my opinion, the article is closer to an opinion piece than straight news.

 

 How American Charities Fund Terrorism  Interesting investigative report in National Review, focusing on American charities connected to Hamas.

Some of the conclusions are debatable, though.

By providing social services, Islamist terror groups gain political and moral legitimacy among the people under their control as well as among their supporters abroad. –Sam Westrop in National Review

Comment: That’s an understandable position, but there is another view about these “indirect” benefits. It argues that, because Hamas completely controls Gaza, the provision of almost any social services to ordinary people there would count as benefiting Hamas, according to Westrop’s logic. That may be true politically, but it may cast too broad a net if it includes independent charities that do not work closely with Hamas. 

 Why Women Are Colder than Men  The science behind that common difference. (Glamour Health)

 Political Correctness: so pervasive at American universities that German publications are running major series about it.  Spiegel has a thoughtful, two-part investigation in English (part 1 here), concluding that many campuses are utterly disconnected from ordinary citizens’ views and experiences. That disconnection and the excesses of the PC movement helped Trump win, they argue.

Comment: I would add that what makes PC movements so troubling is their willingness to shut down others’ speech and their condescending sense that they are morally superior.

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zd-hat-tip-facing-inward-100px-w-margin♥ Hat Tip for helpful suggestions:
◆ Timothy Favero
 for the Der Spiegel article, which I would not have seen without his suggestion