ZipDialog Roundup for Tuesday, October 3: News beyond the Las Vegas tragedy

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

◆ The devastating news from Las Vegas has rightly dominated coverage.
In the process, other stories can be lost. Today’s ZipDialog will concentrate on them.

Here’s a huge story that has received virtually no attention

US Manufacturing expands at fastest pace in 13 years (Bloomberg)

The details are in a report from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM). Readings above 50 indicate expansion

⇒ Factory index climbed to 60.8 (est. 58.1), the highest since May 2004, from 58.8
⇒ Measure of new orders increased to 64.6, the strongest since February, from 60.3
⇒ Employment gauge rose to 60.3, the best reading in more than six years, from 59.9
⇒ Index of prices paid advanced to 71.5, the highest since May 2011, from 62 –ISM via Bloomberg

The growth was spread across all sectors. Of the 18 industrial sectors reporting to ISM, 17 reported expansion. Only furniture making contracted.

 Why disaster relief has lagged in Puerto Rico

Virtually all levels of government performed poorly.

  • The White House was slow to waive an old law preventing non-US ships from carrying supplies from mainland ports to the island. That waiver was finally given but it should have been done immediately.
  • FEMA, which has a division tasked with the Caribbean, failed to pre-position vital supplies, especially fuel for electric generators.
    • When the storm hit and knocked out electric wires, many essential facilities turned to their backup power generators. They soon ran out of fuel. If they were in Florida or Texas, then tanker trucks could come quickly with more fuel. In PR, though, the fuel needs to be pre-positioned.
  • Local officials were woefully unprepared–and, in many cases, utterly incompetent. They, too, did no advance work, even though they live in a hurricane zone.

The one piece of good news is that relatively few people died, given the scale of the damage. (Btw, most of the damage was related to wind, not flooding.)

The next problem is even more serious: long-term rebuilding. The island has been badly mismanaged, and so has its capital city. Since all disaster rebuilding involves a big local effort–physically and fiscally–expect trouble here, too.

Comment: Trump’s visit today was simply public relations. Naturally, the Washington Post hated it.

 Catalonia: Spain’s king calls the independence vote illegal (Washington Post)

The vote was overwhelmingly for independence.

Spain’s firm, sometimes violent, crackdown on the vote prompted a general strike today in Barcelona and has fueled support for separatism.

Comment: The vote was a stunt, but the sentiment is real and poses yet another challenge to the creaky European Union structure.

The EU would like to cool tensions with North Korea but Pyongyang sends only mid-level officials to diplomatic meetings (Reuters)

In the past, they sent higher level officials.

Comment: North Korea is sending a message: we don’t want talks. You cannot bend our arms–or our minds.

◆ More Jew-hatred by Students for Justice in Palestine

SJP does this regularly on many campuses, combining loathing for Israel and for Jews. Its latest tactic is to call Jews and Israel “white supremacists” and, of course, “racist, colonialist, homophobic” and all the other epithets in the “victim basket.”

Scholars for Peace in the Middle East explains:

At the University of Illinois, the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter held a “Smash Fascism” rally on campus that announced there was “no room for fascists, white supremacists, or Zionists at UIUC.” Advertising for the event stated that the “confluence of fascism and Zionism is becoming more obvious by the day” and that “two forms of racial supremacy merge seamlessly together, the Palestinian struggle for human rights and dignity can set the model for discursive changes.”

The statement also noted “violent resistance, whether it is a black bloc or full-scale armed conflict, also has its place.” During the protest itself participants yelled “no justice! No peace! No war in the Middle East! No Zionists, no KKK, resisting fascists all the way” and “no Trump, no KKK, no fascist U.S.A.!”

In partial response, the university chancellor issued a statement which stated that “Painted swastikas, chalked epithets on sidewalks, KKK costumes and anti-Semitic attacks hidden under the guise of anti-Zionist rhetoric are all too common” and that “Bigotry, racism and hate will never be tolerated here at Illinois.” –Scholars for Peace in the Middle East

Similar slanders have been spread recently at NYU and Tufts.

Their familiar chant, “Palestine must be free, from the [Jordan] River to the Sea,” implies that Israel should be wiped off the earth completely.

Comment: The radical Palestinians use a well-known propaganda tactic:

Everybody hates X (e.g. Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan)”

The trick, then, is to liken your political opponent (Trump, Hillary, Mexicans, Jews, whoever) to X

So, the propagandists say “Group Y is just like the awful Group X, which we all hate.” “And Group Z is just like the awful Group X.”

Therefore, “Groups X, Y, and Z are all alike, and we should all hate them.

One aspect of this propaganda campaign is to keep all the “victims groups” together. If Victims Group P (Palestinians) hate Israel, and Victims Groups G (Gays) hate Homophobes, then the Palestinians and Gays will say that they both hate Israel and Homophobes–and then go one step further and say that “Israel is homophobic” and “Homophobes are pro-Israel.” Ludicrous, of course, but commonplace on campus. Since Palestinians are part of a victims coalition with blacks and gays, they will say that Israel and pro-Israel students must be “white supremacists” (and thus opposed to blacks in the coalition) and homophobic (thus opposed to gays in the coalition). These false and defamatory tactics are standard propaganda techniques, used for years for dictatorial regimes. Seeing them used on college campuses is deeply disturbing.