Tax All Foriegners Living Abroad

So went an old Monty Python gag.

The New York Times may have just as well used that instead of the their title for this piece: "In Donald Trump's Worldview, America Comes First, and Everybody Else Pays"

That headline is just going to do the opposite of what the Times intends.

A Bird for Bernie: Campaigns React

Nothing from the Cruz campaign, I notice.

Good Friday

Good Friday is a day about which I feel unqualified to write. I hope you may choose today to take counsel with a better authority. I only mention it to wish you well in a difficult hour.

For those with Jewish friends, today is also Shushan Purim, a holiday I had not known of until this morning. Purim I knew of, martial holiday that it is, but it turns out that there is a special variation of the date of Purim that really appeals to me:
Purim is celebrated on the Adar 14 because the Jews in unwalled cities fought their enemies on Adar 13 and rested the following day. However, in Shushan, the capital city of the Persian Empire, the Jews were involved in defeating their enemies on Adar 13–14 and rested on the 15th (Esther 9:20–22). In commemoration of this, it was decided that while the victory would be celebrated universally on Adar 14, for Jews living in Shushan, the holiday would be held on Adar 15. Later, in deference to Jerusalem, the Sages determined that Purim would be celebrated on Adar 15 in all cities which had been enclosed by a wall at the time of Joshua's conquest of the Land of Israel.

Allahpundit Has It Backwards

It's Trump who has to challenge Cruz to a duel. Otherwise, the charge of cowardice stands.

This is why dueling is useful, of course. Lots of men have big mouths. Not all of them have big... hands.

Salute to a Communist

Senator John McCain remembers a member of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade.

Namaste, Heathens

Kennesaw, Georgia is a trip.
A group of parents at a Cobb County elementary are upset over the school’s use of yoga and other mindfulness practices for students because they believe it endorses a non-Christian belief system.

School leaders at Bullard Elementary held a meeting recently with parents to address the “many misconceptions” over the issue...

As a result, the school is making changes. When yoga moves are used in classrooms, students will not say the word “namaste” nor put their hands by their hearts, according to the email. The term and gesture are often used as a greeting derived from Hindu custom.

When coloring during classroom teaching breaks, students will not be allowed to color mandalas, spiritual symbols in Hinduism and Buddhism.
I would wager heavily that the school's teachers don't understand the real Hindu customs or theology well enough to teach it if they had wanted to teach it. If they did, they'd understand that the suggestion that yoga has something to do with Hinduism isn't just some silly 'misconception.'

UPDATE: I win my bet. From the program founder's bio:
I consider Dr. Seuss one of my master teachers...
She really doesn't know what she's teaching. I looked up those yoga credentials, by the way. The Yoga Alliance, which seems to be the source for them, points out that they are not certifications -- they're just acknowledgements that she's in their registry, and they've tracked that she's taught 500 hours, or has registered as a teacher of children, or whatever.

The good news is that you can stop worrying about her rubbing any Hinduism off on your kids. The bad news, I trust, is obvious.

You Could Be A Rock Star In America, Too

Headline: "US Attorney Becomes Rock Star In Turkey For Arresting Erdogan’s Partner."
Exulting in Zarrab’s arrest, Turkish social media users had a field day mocking him and hailing the attorney.

Preet Bharara, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, had only 8,010 followers before the Justice Department announced on Monday the arrest of Zarrab, a Turkish-Iranian businessman accused of evading US sanctions on Iran. The number of attorney’s followers on Twitter was skyrocketed to whopping 230,000 and it is rapidly increasing. His latest two tweets were shared nearly 60,000 times and liked by 85,000 people....

Bharara was lionized in Turkey largely because corruption suspects are deemed so “untouchable” that any prosecutor or police who go after them may lose their jobs or jailed and any journalist covering them may face prosecution or get fired.
I assure you that I stand ready to be as celebratory for the US attorney who brings Hillary Clinton to justice. Can we prove at home what we have proven abroad, that the law can apply even to the powerful? Or is that only for those who aren't powerful here?

UPDATE: McClatchy says that, like the FiveThirtyEight people who have to go on 'quests' to understand Trump voters, the People just don't understand the elite.
The people who spend two bucks for chili at the Courtesy Diner at Laclede Station Road can’t fathom why anyone would pay Hillary Clinton $225,000 to make a speech.
That's not true. Everybody knows why she was paid $225,000 for the speech. They're just too polite to say it out loud.

Major Voter Suppression in Arizona

You won't be informed of this by reading the article, so let me ask you if you realize who benefited from this particular fraud? The article actually says that this is "all about electing Republicans," but the Republican establishment isn't the one pulling out all the stops to elect a particular candidate.


"[I]ndependent voters who switched their registration to the Democratic Party were allegedly told they hadn’t registered at all, forcing them to sit out the closed primary."

How would disenfranchising Democratic primary voters have anything to do with electing Republicans?

There are none so blind as those who will not see.

About that Che Photo...

The Weekly Standard wants you to know what Cubans saw when they looked at that photo:
[T]he building that Guevara's face adorns is home to the Cuban Ministry of the Interior. Unlike our own Ministry of the Interior, Cuba's is not charged with innocuous tasks like protecting endangered waterfowl. Rather, it operates the National Revolutionary Police, which, in addition to keeping law and order on the streets, harasses and arrests dissidents, and suppresses "counter-revolutionary" activities. In other words, it's Cuba's version of the Stasi.
So it's a photo of the President of the United States, standing at attention, in front of the headquarters of the Communist Revolutionary Police. That should send a message to the Cuban people, for sure.

Hey, Ash Carter: What About A 'Less Hierarchical Work Environment' in the Army?

The answer is revealing.
Carter told the cadet it was "a good question," as "we've got to stay competitive."

"And it gets to attracting and recruiting people. And it means we're going to have to keep thinking and keep changing about how we manage people. Let me give you a few examples of things that we're doing now... [to] draw in some of what you're calling exactly right, flatter, more mobile institutions...."

"Just recently, I changed our -- our policies in a number of ways on family programs -- things like maternity and paternity leave."
Yeah, you're doing a heck of a job there.

A flatter, less hierarchical work environment is great for the Special Forces. They've made it work beautifully. It doesn't necessarily translate to the rest of the military. I wonder if our Secretary of Defense can say why, beyond the difficulty of obtaining artillery colonels through the want ads?

"Vexing Decision" for Governor Deal

The religious liberty bill passed the Legislature easily, but has been sitting on the governor's desk for a while.

The question that Governor Deal has to answer is this: is protecting the religious liberty of actual citizens the relevant duty of the state of Georgia, or is it protecting the feelings of cartoon mice and superheroes? Disney and Marvel say they aren't willing to film in Georgia if they can't force citizens to comply with their corporate policies.

It's an easy question from where I sit: if we are being asked to trade liberty for money, they can take their money and run. No state of the Union, and no Federal government, should ever trade an American liberty even for safety in the teeth of foreign threats. How much less should we trade sacred liberty for the wages of the next Avenger film?

This is one of two bills favored by Georgia's conservatives that easily passed the Legislature but have been hung up on the governor. The other one is the 'campus carry' bill, which liberal professors and administrators on our campuses -- a majority here, as elsewhere -- have treated with apoplexy. Governor Deal asked the Legislature to 'make some changes' to the bill.

The Legislature declined.

Duffel Blog: Crusade, Anyone?

Poll: Support for another Crusade at highest level since 14th century
It's a joke, and yet...

North Dakota Professor Quails at ROTC Candidates

“My first thought is for my students’ and my safety: I grab my phone, crawl under my desk and call 911,” she wrote.

The threat, however, was two ROTC students carrying guns on their way to a routine training exercise, Campus Reform reported.

“I can barely talk — first, with fear, and then with rage when the dispatcher reports back that yes, in fact, I’ve probably just seen ROTC cadets, though they’re going to send an officer to check because no one has cleared it with them,” Ms. Czerwiec wrote.

She said a university officer called her back a few minutes later to inform her that ROTC would be doing the exercises for the next couple of weeks.

“So I reply that I guess I’ll be calling 911 for the next couple weeks—and I will. Every time,” Ms. Czerwiec wrote. “It’s not my job to decide whether people carrying guns at school are an actual threat. It’s my job to teach and to get home to my family.

“It’s already highly inappropriate to conduct unnecessary military maneuvers in the middle of the quad. But with school shootings on the increase and tensions at UND running high, it’s especially irresponsible.”
Heaven forfend. You can't imagine how sorry I am to learn that you are having to learn to live with the people who defend the country you live in.

Best Use Yet

A charity shop is given so many copies of Fifty Shades of Grey that it finds an inventive use for them.

"The God Shot"

Via Armed Liberal, a story about a doctor who has a pioneering therapy for PTSD.

How Can You Defeat ISIS if You Won't Stand Up for Western Values?

The refusal to big-up Western values has been institutionalised in the idea of Islamophobia, which is not just about protecting Muslims from assault or discrimination — a noble thing to do — but is about policing any expression of belief in the superiority of Western or enlightened values. In the words of the Runnymede Trust, which shaped the definition of Islamophobia, any suggestion that the Islamic way of life is ‘inferior to the West’ is an expression of prejudice, and everyone should be taught that the Islamic outlook is ‘as equally worthy of respect [as Western values]’. Laws and codes against Islamophobia represent the institutionalisation of relativism, the suppression of loud and proud defences of the virtues of Western life and thought.
Prejudice is pre-judging a thing. The problem is that we've gotten to the point that any judgment at all, regardless of the evidence, is forbidden as if it were a judgment in advance of the facts.

Wikileaks and Clinton

Now that the Clinton emails are public (those she didn't delete before turning them over to the government, of course), Wikileaks has produced them in a searchable format. Now you can read Sid Blumenthal's emails, or prowl around to see who was giving her money in return for favorable treatment from State.

The Exchange Theory of Value (Again)

From time to time we have discussions that feature the exchange theory of value. It's amusing to me that the clearest example I can recall is Mike holding forth on Dungeons & Dragons mechanics.
[W]hile you may argue that it makes no logical sense for an evil Paladin to be the martial equal of a good one, I'd posit that you're arguing logic in a game where wizards can cast an identify spell using a pearl worth "at least 100 gold pieces". And nothing anywhere explains how to calculate who determines the worth of that pearl. Are the pearls used to identify magic items in the desert smaller and more flawed than the ones in the fishing village that has pearl cultivation beds? That's a screwed up metaphysical system where market forces determine the efficacy of magic.
So what is a pearl worth? The usual answer is that it is worth what someone will give for it. This may lead to results that seem absurd in real life, too. Sometimes people who have a lot of money push the value of apparently trivial objects well above what ordinary people could afford. Is the single copy of Wu Tang Clan's Once Upon a Time in Shaolin really worth millions of dollars?

To dispute that it was, you would have to have some other standard than exchange to measure what a thing is "really worth." Many economic theories simply lack the furniture to argue about whether or not the pearl is "really worth" 100 gold pieces, or the album is "really worth" millions of dollars. Other theories that do are largely discredited: Marxists can talk about "surplus value" being extracted from laborers, but Marxist economics has never managed to work anywhere.

I was thinking about this today because of an article in the NYT that purports to show that as women take over in male-dominated fields wages drop.

If this is true, under the exchange theory of value the work of women is "really worth" less just because people are willing to pay less for it. It is, presumably, the same work. The work was "really worth" more if a man did it in a male-dominated field, and now is "really worth" less because women have entered the field. Is that right?

Well, one thing that would make it plausible is that womens' entry increases the supply of labor for that particular job; now everyone's labor is worth less in that field just because of the law of supply and demand. That may be the real explanation, but I want to set it aside for the purpose of this discussion. I'm interested in a theoretical question.

What interests me is -- as usual -- whether there is a moral question that should override the economic question. It often bothers me that so much seems to be for sale. I like to think that at least some things ought not to be traded in the market. Even in the market, too, I think some relationships are adequately unfair that they should be banned even if both parties to the trade are willing.

Here is a moral principle of fairness (which Aristotle said is an important component of justice, and which Rawls said was the whole of justice). It seems to be out of order with the economic principle, maybe, if the explanation is not merely an increased labor supply.

Does it show that the exchange theory of value is incomplete or inadequate? In Mike's D&D example, I thought the pearl would prove to have an objective value if it could be used for the spell. Does fairness perform something of the same role as magic, but in the real world? Or should we continue to discard other concepts than exchange value, and say that fairness does not apply?

I Suddenly Sense the Appeal

Still not a fan, but this makes more sense than anything I've seen yet.

UPDATE: FiveThirtyEight goes on a "quest" to try to understand Trump voters.

Here's what I think they get right, which I will follow on with what I think they are missing.
I queued up in the general admission line and entered the massive space just as the national anthem was starting. The assembled crowd of about 5,000 was reverently quiet — a massive flag billowed, police officers and firefighters stood at attention, and the sickly gray sky seemed more like swirling marble than the dull harbinger of rain it had been only moments ago. Something stirred deep beneath my layers of reportorial cynicism; I got chills.

This part of the appeal of Trump rallies is not talked about much.... Along with the fighting, though, something inspirational seems to be happening among the assembled — a sense of collective identity being discovered. In this millionaire cosmopolitan who has married two immigrants, the threatened silent American majority has found its champion.
The emotional experience Trump is capable of creating is why it will be difficult to replace him, even with Cruz who is a more rational choice given their expressed concerns. Cruz is the right choice for these voters, but they don't have the emotional experience with him. It is Trump that makes them feel large, proud, and part of something.

What I think FiveThirtyEight and others are missing is that this is not something affecting the Republican party only. The author writes that "working-class whites’ racial anger had reconstituted their sense of identity; and their desire for the center to no longer hold meant drastic upheaval in the Grand Old Party and America." If this is about "working class whites" discovering a newly invigorated racial identity, though, that is going to cut a part of the heart out of the Democratic Party, too.

The numbers suggest that, if everything else holds equal, Trump will need 70% of the white male vote to win.

I think he might get it. It would only mean that white men vote more like black men -- that is, as a bloc. The rise of such a bloc ought to have been expected given the Democratic Party's explicit strategy of overcoming Republican advantages with white voters by emphasizing the interests of minority voters while pursuing the mass immigration of new such voters.

Until now, among white voters it has been possible for Democrats to divide and conquer blue collar from white collar, labor from management. That is, until this election, race has mattered most to black voters, but class has mattered most to white voters. It is still somewhat possible to divide out white women from white men by appealing to them qua women. That is, for some white voters, sex matters more than race. The Democrats are hoping to leverage that with Hillary Clinton as their nominee.

Thus, Trump has to pull 70% with white men because we haven't yet reached the point at which our politics are explicitly about whites versus everyone else. We are getting there fast, though. What the Democrats are blind about is that it is their party's electoral strategy that is driving this. The reason the 'white working class' is discovering a racial identity rather than a class identity is that "white" is the box they've been put into by powerful forces affecting their lives.

They aren't creating this identity for themselves. They're discovering the power of accepting membership in it. They're just figuring out what black America has long known: that taking the externally-imposed identity seriously, owning it, and wielding it through bloc voting is terribly powerful.

Neither race- nor class-based democratic systems turn out well. We've had a good run because the system didn't go all one way or all the other: the majority was divided by class while the minorities were divided by race. If we tip over into a system in which race is the main driver of political belonging, we're not going to have a pleasant future. But I don't know how you stop it from one side: and the Republicans aren't the main drivers of race-as-identity in American life. I don't see how they can pull a lever to stop this, not when the levers are mostly owned by the other side.

That Russian Uranium Deal

Now that Bernie Sanders is so far behind in the delegate count that he probably can't catch up, the NYT gets around to telling its readers about Clinton's Russia problem.

UPDATE: Apparently it's an older article that just appeared in my "news" feed. Apologies to the Times, who got this one right.

Havok Journal: Open Letter to Future Women in Special Operations

The author says he gets a letter at least once a day from someone interested in a career in special operations, but so far never from a female. Although Leo Jenkins says he's neither for nor against them, he closes with what reads to me like a strong endorsement of the concept. Nevertheless, he has some significant advice for any women considering the position.

Here is just one of his sections, every one of which strikes me as thoughtful and important.
It is important to discuss the purpose of such professions as Army Ranger, Navy SEAL or infantry soldier. These positions are often glorified in the media. Shiny medals, fancy patches, special color hats, and cool tactical gear permeate the imaginations of those outside these communities. I’m going to let you in on a trade secret, none of that shit fucking matters at all. None of it. Recruitment posters lie to you. Television and movies lie to you. As a hopeful I know what you are thinking, “I’m joining to make a difference.”

Here is the harsh reality, when you volunteer yourself for these positions, your function is to kill. Your job, your purpose, at its core, is to bring an unparalleled level of violence to the throat of the enemy. Your function is to preserve the way of life of those behind and beside you by cutting down those in front of you. You can’t just accept that fact, you have to embrace it. You have to be so filled with aggression that you want to take the life of another human being. If you’re half-hearted about this, Special Operations or the infantry is not the place for you.

Studies have shown females sustain physical injury during training at twice the rate of men, as well as are susceptible to an elevated risk of post traumatic stress. In fact, you are more than twice as likely to experience post traumatic stress than your male counterpart. During a conversation in 2006 with an individual employed as a special operations psychological doctor, I learned that it is estimated that over 90% of the the entire Ranger Regiment has experienced events which have made them highly susceptible to post traumatic stress; many of whom admitted to displaying symptoms of at the time.

According to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, six to twelve percent of males are injured per month in basic training where 30 percent per month report injury during Naval Special Warfare training. It is important to note that this number is likely significantly lower due to the fact that reporting an injury in special warfare training has a different outcome than reporting injury in basic training.

If rate of female injury in basic training compared to male is double and injury occurrence is three to five times higher (at least) in special operations training, the probability you will sustain a lasting injury during SOF training is almost guaranteed. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to try out. Rather you need to understand that your health will be compromised in pursuit of this occupation.

What's the Single Most Important Factor Behind Terror in Brussels?

Go ahead, try to think of one single thing that is more prominent than anything else.

Did you get "poverty," or "injustice?"

Either way, well done. You've mastered your thoughtcrime. However, we still have to talk about your unconscious bias...

UPDATE: By the way, if you came up with the forbidden word, do a CTRL+F on the page and see how often it comes up -- and in what context.

Ukrainian Pilot Sentenced to 22 Years by Russian Court

Nadia Savchenko is a female pilot who was functioning as an artillery spotter in the conflict with Russian forces. Although Russia signed an agreement not only to respect but to protect Ukraine's territory, it is involved in a war there over its attempts to extend its control over the Russian-speaking eastern part of the country. Lieutenant Savchenko was captured by Russian police, and is charged with murder for directing airstrikes that killed two journalists.

The charge is as ridiculous as the trial. This was not a criminal act but the result of a war. The war is Russia's responsibility. The Ukrainian government may not be sweetness and light, but Russia is in clear violation of its treaty with them. Any unfortunate deaths on the battlefield resulting from military action are morally the Kremlin's fault for provoking the war. In any case, accidentally killing civilians on the battlefield is covered by the Doctrine of Double Effect, and does not constitute a war crime. It certainly should not be prosecuted as if it were a civilian murder.

Lieutenant Savchenko has borne up like a heroine, singing her national anthem from the dock and sneering at the judge. She has shown the real mental toughness required of combat soldiers, in a role providing direct support to an infantry unit.

Brussels in Flames

Another Islamist attack? It's early to say, but al Azhar is already calling it a violation of Islam's tolerant teachings.

Just a Reminder

"Unconscious Bias" and the USMC

The Marine Corps has been ordered to implement "unconscious bias" training for all Marines to prepare them for women in the infantry. As you recall, the USMC was the only service to ask for an exception for its infantry, which was denied with prejudice by the Secretary of the Navy (who all but accused them of deceptive behavior in their study of integrated combat units). The object is to change the culture so it is appropriately welcoming to female Marines who join the infantry.

The USMC is duly obeying, of course.
Mobile training teams will be dispatched to installations across the Corps throughout May and June to offer a two-day seminar to majors and lieutenant colonels, Col. Anne Weinberg, deputy director of the Marine Corps Force Innovation Office, told reporters Thursday. Those officers will then train the Marines under them.
Emphasis added. So Higher is going to train battalion commanders and the other top officers of Infantry battalions. The BC will probably train his company commanders, and leave the majors to train his battalion staff. Company Commanders will train platoon leaders and Master Sergeants or Gunnery Sergeants depending on what kind of company it is. At this point, the NCO corps will take over. Gunny will probably be the guy to take this to the men, but even he may pass it off to his subordinate NCOs.

By the time this telephone game is over, how much of the "unconscious bias" mumbo-jumbo that was said at the two-day seminar do you think will have survived?

AIPAC & the Presidential Campaign

I notice nobody's talking about Bernie Sanders' address to AIPAC this morning. Clinton's didn't go over very well.

Cruz tagged Trump for a symbolic violation of the way hard-core Israelis speak about Palestine, but made a foul of his own according to those rarefied rules.

According to an Israeli friend of mine, however, the big winner of the night was Trump, who won it all at the end of his speech when he showed that he couldn't wait for his "beautiful Jewish baby" grandchild. For her, that was better than all the carefully crafted speeches in the world.

The Legend and the Renegade

If you aren't reading Garden & Gun magazine, let me recommend it. I think most folks here at the Hall would enjoy it.

Here's an interview they did with Merle and Sturgill in the most recent issue. They are pretty solidly Southern: Southern cooking, hunting destinations, riding trails, homes, personalities, music, et cetera. Beautiful photography as well.


Since we've moved on to that stage of American politics...

Manufacturing in America

D29 has a post challenging the idea that labor costs are the main thing driving the movement out of the country.

Via Uncle J


What are the core features of the drift in American government toward lawlessness? I might have said these:

1) The President's war on Libya, undeclared and without Congressional authorization or notification as required by law.

2) The use of prosecutorial discretion to refuse to enforce the law on key administration allies, especially from the Clinton faction. This is so important that it is a necessary condition for the continued candidacy of the likeliest next President of the United States.

3) The unilateral suspension of America's immigration laws.

4) The free rewriting of major legislation such as Obamacare by Health and Human Services.

5) The refusal to defend democratically-enacted laws with which the President disagrees ideologically.

6) The use of the IRS to target conservative groups and prevent conservative organization.

7) The Iran deal's inversion of the Constitutional requirement for treaties to obtain a 2/3rds majority in the Senate.

8) The clear demonstration that no one in the administration will be held accountable for lawlessness as long as a sufficient minority exists in the Senate to prevent impeachment and removal from office. Failing that, everyone is protected because the chief is protected.

David Bernstein, who wrote a book on the subject, agrees with some of these and gives additional examples.

I mention it because the left-wing journal Jacobin says that the rise of lawlessness in America is a Republican work. They also have a list of objections:
If you want to understand the particular spirit of lawlessness, the contempt for rules and norms that is Donald Trump, you have to go back to the illegitimacy of the 2000 election, the GOP turn to the filibuster-proof majority as the operating rule of congressional action, and now the Republicans’ declaration that they simply won’t vote on Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, whoever it may be. (I’d add the Iraq War as part of this buildup toward lawlessness.)
Now, the 2000 election was ultimately decided by the Supreme Court -- but by a majority seen by the left as a Republican political action. There is a mirroring complaint about the SCOTUS on the right.

How interesting, these competing lists of grievances.

UPDATE: By the way, how about using trespassing or the unlawful blocking of public highways to stop political foes from engaging in free speech?
[C]onfining politics to the polling station automatically excludes a huge portion of the population, from undocumented immigrants (a favorite target of Trump’s) to young people (like the Latino high schoolers who heard taunts of “Trump! Trump!” and “Build the wall!” at a recent basketball game in Iowa) to the millions of American citizens, disproportionately African American, who have been stripped of the franchise because of felony convictions.
I'll give you young people, I guess, but the rest of that argument boils down to, 'If we confine politics to lawful means, illegal immigrants and convicted felons won't be able to participate.' So, lawlessness is or is not a concern?

Defeating ISIS by Calling it Arab

Kathryn Hillegass, writing at the Georgetown Security Studies Review, argues that ISIS has a seam that can be exploited.
Countering the spread of ISIS’s narrative outside of Greater Syria and the Middle East should be focused on this juxtaposition of nationalism versus Islamism. Thus far, responding to the threat of ISIS in an Islamic context has challenged America’s sense of political correctness which so desperately seeks to avoid the perception of a religious war. Countering violent extremism through narratives emphasizing how ISIS is inconsistent with Quranic teachings has been ineffective and has alienated the Muslim community at home and abroad. Instead, counter-narratives should highlight that supporting ISIS is more likely to contribute to the establishment of a new Arab state in Syria rather than a Muslim caliphate, ideally creating skepticism amongst potential ISIS followers outside of the Middle East.

Dr. Dan Byman recommends focusing on ISIS’s affiliates who have answered the call for global jihad and continually undermine regional security outside of the Middle East. Byman suggests weakening the affiliates “by portraying the core group as out of touch with local grievances.”[iv] One way to do so is to expose how ISIS spends its money. Although precise numbers are elusive, ISIS spends considerable amounts supporting the millions of people living within their territory.[v] Governing, no matter how brutally, is expensive. Contradictory to their global message, the majority of the money is staying in the Middle East. The money flowing to fledgling ISIS affiliates in Nigeria, Somalia, Southeast Asia, and elsewhere is only directly funding violence. The West ought to recognize and exploit that seam.

That said, characterizing ISIS as a nationalist movement does not make it any less dangerous.
Emphasis added.

So we're not getting anywhere by saying that ISIS is not Islamic. That is failing to persuade Muslims, and in fact saying it alienates Muslims from us (perhaps because it is usually alienating when someone tells obvious lies and then insists that you agree with them).

The alternative proposed is to divide and conquer: instead of saying that they are not Muslims, we should say that they are Arabs. We can presumably follow that line down: once they are disaggregated from Muslims elsewhere, we can say that the leaders are not Arabs, but members of some faction or tribe that will further divide their support.

It's a strategy that has worked in the past, but it is counterbalanced by another seam of great importance that is in play right now. They are not only Muslims, but specifically Sunni Muslims and not Shi'a Muslims. That provides a centripetal force to counterbalance the forces that can pull them apart. You have also to provide an answer to that problem: if ISIS is not to defend the Sunnis against oppression, whom should Sunnis trust instead? A plausible alternative must exist if disaggregation is to work most effectively.


I guess the actual date was yesterday. Ironically, the weather here has been May-like until yesterday, when it suddenly turned chilly again. Still, the hour has come when the warmer weather is sure to come.

So you know about Stonehenge, but here are five sites -- not all "ancient," in spite of the headline, in fact the majority Medieval -- built to align with the spring equinox. One of them is the Basilica San Petronio, which contains a feature that was used to help construct our modern calendar:
In 1575, cosmographer Egnazio Danti arrived in Bologna to teach mathematics and astronomy. In order to continue his work on the commission charged by Pope Gregory XIII with the development of a new calendar, he constructed a meridian line in San Petronia. The meridian line—an astronomical instrument invented by Danti—consisted of a small hole high on the wall of the church; the position of the spotlight created when the sun shined through the hole allowed Danti to define and analyze the sun’s position and movements. This technique was later used by Giovanni Cassini to confirm the elliptical orbital model proposed by Johannes Kepler.

The Shape of Things to Come is Left-Wing

So argues Vox, whose function is to argue this to the exclusion of everything else. This piece is structured in such a way as to present a half-criticism of Clinton: sure, she is certainly "well-positioned to win both the primary and the general election," but she is too centrist for her position to be the long-term one for the Democratic party.

The analysis finds that Clinton relies on blacks, labor unions, and older voters for her support. But blacks favor politics well to the left of others, as do labor unions; and as do the young, whom future elections will have to rely upon because the older voters will die off.

The obvious problem with this analysis is that the immigration Vox often champions is diluting black as well as white percentages in the electorate. We hear all the time about how white voters are becoming less important, and white preferences less decisive. But that will be true for black voters as well, especially in the context of Democratic politics and especially if Vox is correct that Latino voters will continue to trend Democratic.

Union labor, meanwhile, is like all American labor being strangled by competition at home from mass immigration, and competition from abroad by globalization. They won't be as large a bloc either, and they may be up for grabs if the Republican party takes a long-term populist swing.

As for the young, well, the young are nearly always liberal while they are young. Remember the 'older, more conservative' Democratic cohort Clinton is leaning on are the Baby Boomers. If former hippies drift into economic centrism as they age, what confidence should anyone have that today's young will not?