Monday, May 29, 2017

President Trump Gives Memorial Day Address at Arlington National Cemetery

By Brooke Singman 

President Trump visited Arlington National Cemetery on Monday to perform one of the most solemn duties as commander-in-chief—laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

 The president gave his first Memorial Day address, after laying the wreath, like so many presidents before him, as part of the ceremony to remember, and honor, the men and women who died fighting for the United States of America.
“Thank you for joining us as we honor the brave warriors who gave their lives for ours--Spending their last moments on this earth in defense of this great country and its people,” Trump began. “We only hope that every day we can prove worthy, not only of their sacrifice and service, but of the sacrifice made by their families and loved ones they left behind—special, special people.”
Trump went on to honor Homeland Security Secretary Gen. John Kelly’s fallen son, Robert, and the Kelly family.
“I especially want to extend our gratitude to Gen. Kelly for joining us today—an incredible man—I always call him general,” Trump said. “He understands more than most ever could, or ever will, the wounds and burdens of war.”
Robert Kelly, 29, was killed in a roadside bomb blast in 2010 during a foot patrol in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province.
Trump added: “To the entire Kelly family, today, 300 million American hearts are joined together with you. We grieve with you. We honor you and we pledge to you that we will always remember Robert and what he did for us.”
Trump honored Gold Star families calling their fallen loved ones “angels sent to us by God,” in his first public address since returning from his first trip overseas as commander-in-chief.
“They all share one title in common—and that is the title of ‘hero’—real heroes,” Trump said. “Though they were only here for a brief time before God called them home, their legacy will endure forever.”
Trump went on to honor former Sen. Bob Dole and his wife, former Sen. Elizabeth Dole, and other Gold Star families and service men and women in the audience.
“While we cannot know the extent of your pain, what we do know is that our gratitude to them and to you is boundless and undying—will always be there, Thank you,” Trump said. “Their stories are now woven into the soul of our nation, into the stars and stripes on our flag, and into the beating hearts of our great, great people.”
Vice President Mike Pence attended the ceremony, along with Defense Secretary Gen. James Mattis, and Homeland Security Secretary Gen. John Kelly, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford.
Before the president began his remarks, Dunford thanked fallen military men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
“They were people who stood for something larger than themselves, people who understood what we have in our country is worth fighting for,” Dunford said, introducing Defense Secretary James Mattis.
“To the families of the fallen both here, and at home, no words will ease your pain, but I bet you, let it have meaning –unite your sorrow with their awesome purpose,” Mattis said.
Trump finished his first Memorial Day address by honoring the “unknown soldiers” who have lost their lives in service.
“Today we also hold a special vigil for heroes whose stories we cannot tell, because their names are known to God alone--the unknown soldiers,” Trump said. “We do not know where they came from, who they left behind, or what they hoped to be, but we do know what they did. They fought and they died in the great and noble act of loyalty and love to their families and to our country.”
What We Remember on Memorial Day

From the Civil War to Vietnam and beyond, Americans have struggled to reconcile the duty to honor the war dead with the need to pass historical judgment

By Victor Davis Hanson

A few years ago I was honored to serve briefly on the American Battle Monuments Commission, whose chief duty is the custodianship of American military cemeteries abroad. Over 125,000 American dead now rest in these serene parks, some 26 in 16 countries. Another 94,000 of the missing are commemorated by name only. The graves (mostly fatalities of World Wars I and II) are as perfectly maintained all over the world, from Tunisia to the Philippines, as those of the war dead who rest in the well-manicured acres of the U.S. military cemetery in Arlington, Va.

A world away from the white marble statuary, crosses, Stars of David, noble inscriptions and manicured greenery of these cemeteries is the stark 246-foot wall of polished igneous rock of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the mall in Washington. On its black surfaces are etched 58,307 names of American dead in Vietnam. They are listed in the chronological order of their deaths. The melancholy wall, birthed in bitter controversy at its inception in 1982, emphasizes tragedy more than American confidence in its transcendent values—as if to warn the nation that the agenda of Vietnam was not quite that of 1917 and 1941.

The Vietnam War may have reopened with special starkness the question of how to honor our fallen dead, but it is hardly a new problem in our history. As today’s disputes over the legacy of the Civil War and the Confederacy suggest, it has never been enough just to lament the sacrifice and carnage of our wars, whether successful or failed. We feel the need to honor the war dead but also to make distinctions among them, elevating those who served noble causes while passing judgment on their foes. This is not an exclusively American impulse. It has deep roots in the larger Western tradition of commemoration, and no era—certainly not our own—has managed to escape its complexities and paradoxes.

Our own idea of Memorial Day originated as “Decoration Day,” the post-Civil War tradition, in both the North and the South, of decorating the graves of the war dead. That rite grew out of the shock and trauma of the Civil War. In the conflict’s first major battle at Shiloh (April 6-7, 1862) there were likely more American casualties (about 24,000 dead, wounded and missing on both sides) than in all the nation’s prior wars combined since its founding.

The shared ordeal of the Civil War, with some 650,000 fatalities, would eventually demand a unified national day of remembrance. Memorial Day began as an effort to square the circle in honoring America’s dead—without privileging the victors or their cause. The approach of the summer holidays seemed the most appropriate moment to heal our civic wounds. The timing suggested renewal and continuity, whereas an autumn or winter date might add unduly to the grim lamentation of the day.

But could the distinctions so crucial to war itself really be suppressed? Consider the themes of the two greatest speeches in the history of Western oratory: Pericles’ long Funeral Oration for the Athenian dead of the first year of the Peloponnesian War, delivered in 431 B.C. and amounting to some 3,000 words in most translations; and nearly 2,300 years later, President Abraham Lincoln’s 272-word Gettysburg Address of 1863.

Both statesmen agree that the mere words of the present generation cannot do justice to the sacrifice of the fallen young. Lincoln sees the talking and the living as less authentic commemorators than the mute dead: “We can not consecrate—we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.”

Pericles argues that even a notable such as himself has almost no right to assess the sacrifices of the dead: “I could have wished that the reputations of many brave men were not to be imperiled in the mouth of a single individual, to stand or fall according as he spoke well or ill.”

By their ultimate sacrifice—what Lincoln calls “the last full measure of devotion”—the mute war dead argue that even heroic men are less important than the eternal values of freedom and democracy that “shall not perish from the earth.” Such chauvinism assumes that democracies are by nature superior to the alternatives. Thus to Pericles, Athens was the “school of Hellas” and for Lincoln America was “a new nation, conceived in Liberty.”

For both orators, the dead are the natural link between self-sacrificing forefathers and the present generation’s own progeny, who at some future date may be called upon to emulate those who have died to perpetuate the nation. In this view, we are not quite unique individuals but part of a larger generation whose values and accomplishments are to be judged collectively and in comparison to what came before and will follow.

‘Both Pericles and Lincoln see war and its evils as tragically innate to the human experience.’

Finally, both Pericles and Lincoln see war and its evils as tragically innate to the human experience. Conflict will demand sacrifices, in varying degrees, from each successive generation of free peoples. As the philosopher George Santayana more pessimistically put it, “Only the dead have seen the end of war.” Both orators suggest that democracies and republics will always be the natural targets of aggressors who see their freedom as weakness to be exploited rather than as magnanimity to be appreciated.

The Western tradition of commemoration also includes a unique idea of individual moral exemption. As first articulated by Pericles, we overlook any defects of character of the war dead, attributing to one brief moment of ultimate sacrifice the power to wash away all prior moral faults.

A noble death serves, in the words of Pericles, as “a cloak to cover a man’s other imperfections; since the good action has blotted out the bad, and his merit as a citizen more than outweighed his demerits as an individual.” The great playwright Aeschylus wanted his epitaph to read only that he was a veteran of the Athenian victory at Marathon—a battle where his brother fell.

These themes still resonate in our own habits and rites. This Memorial Day the flags on graves in American cemeteries set the dead apart, in a special moral category that discourages any discussion of the bothersome details of their short lives.

‘We now tend to see the Confederate dead as faceless emblems of larger causes.’

Pericles and Lincoln assume that the sacrifice of the war dead is enhanced by the nobility of their cause and the victories they have won. In the age of the Parthenon and Sophocles, democratic Athenians considered themselves superior to oligarchic Spartans, seeing vindication in their early successes (Athens would go on to lose the war 26 years after the great speech of Pericles). Similarly, the Union believed itself the moral better of the slaveholding South and would march to triumph under that banner two years after Gettysburg.

For democratic peoples, it is difficult to separate victory and nobility from commemorations of the fallen. This is especially true when it comes to events that directly engage our own moral imperatives. In the case of the Civil War, we now tend to see the Confederate dead as faceless emblems of larger causes, not as unique individuals who wrestled with their own moral paradoxes. Yet we seem to think that future generations will not do the same to us, applying their own—possibly quite different—standards to the collective sacrifices of our generation.

Herodotus, the Greek historian of the Persian Wars, saw armed conflict as a tragedy for all warring parties precisely because it was central to the human experience and thus endless. In obscene fashion, war inverted the natural order of peacetime by compelling fathers to bury sons. Pericles bluntly reminded us that the tragedy is not when we the middle-aged and old die but when the youth do, “to whom a fall, if it came, would be most tremendous in its consequences.”

Railing at the loss of the nation’s youth has thus long accompanied the tradition of praising noble sacrifice for a just cause. The historian Thucydides nearly wept over the young Athenians senselessly killed—in the wrong place, at the wrong time, on the wrong mission—by the tribes of wild Aetolia: “These were by far the best men in the city of Athens that fell during this war.” When Lincoln said of the dead that they “shall not have died in vain,” he implied that the sacrifices of the aggregate Union war dead by November 1863 would be for naught if the North lost the war.

The Roman lyric poet Horace in his Odes famously praised the ultimate contributions of Roman legionaries, declaring, “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori”: “It is a sweet and fitting thing to die on behalf of the fatherland.” Wilfred Owen, the English poet and veteran of the trenches of World War I (killed one week before the armistice), would have none of it. In the conclusion of his nightmarish signature poem, he bitterly channeled Horace:

My friend, you would not tell with such high zest

To children ardent for some desperate glory,

The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est

Pro patria mori.

After the Somme and Verdun, Owen no longer saw clear moral winners and losers, only endless carnage without hope of resolution: hence the “old Lie.” Similarly scornful was the poet and critic Randall Jarrell’s response to the contribution of Allied bombing to winning World War II. His poem “The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner” ends with the verse, “When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.”

‘We don’t mourn all war dead equally or find tragedy in every loss.’

Still, for all the carnage and senselessness in just and unjust wars alike, we don’t mourn all war dead equally or find tragedy in every loss. Certainly the SS officers who were buried at Bitburg, Germany—where President Ronald Reagan in 1985 caused a storm by visiting on the 40th anniversary of V-E Day—were connected to the horrors of Auschwitz. And while there is something understandable in solemn visits of Japanese officials to the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo to honor the 2,466,532 names of the dead found in the Shinto shrine’s “Book of Souls,” many of those men left a trail of 20 million dead throughout Asia and the Pacific from 1931 to 1945.

I grew up in a Swedish-American family in which the name “Okinawa” went unmentioned, a campaign that was tactically unimaginative and strategically incoherent—and yet aimed at finally stopping a murderous imperial regime. My uncle and namesake, Victor Hanson, a corporal in the 6th Marine Division, was killed in the last hours of the last day of battle for Sugar Loaf Hill.

I inherited both Vic’s college athletic equipment and a Periclean admonition from my father (who himself flew on 39 missions over Japan in a B-29) to “live up to Vic”—without much elaboration other than the implicit advice that the only thing worse than fighting a dirty war on Okinawa would have been to lose it.

I visit Victor Hanson’s grave each Memorial Day in the nearby small California Central Valley farming town of Kingsburg, still in astonishment that such a mythical person, whom I never met, gave up his youth (and a long life ahead) for what we have now collectively become. Pericles hoped that such sacrifices would move the living of subsequent generations to a deeper appreciation of the greatness of Athens: “feed your eyes upon her from day to day, until love of her fills your hearts.”

On Memorial Day we should remember that all commemoration is underpinned by ambiguities about the causes, conduct and aims of particular wars. No one has captured the heartbreak of the war dead more effectively than the Marine memorialist E.B. Sledge, who wrote “With the Old Breed,” a horrific account of his nightmare on Peleliu and Okinawa.

Sledge is sometimes simplistically described as an antiwar voice (“So many dead. So many maimed. So many bright futures consigned to the ashes of the past.”), but he did not end his gruesome story of combat with a universal denunciation of war. He finished instead with a solemn reminder—somewhere between Horace and Wilfred Owen—that circumstances count.

His words are worth recalling as we cast our eyes over the endless fields of tiny flags we will again see this Memorial Day on the graves of Americans who gave their all for us:

Until the millennium arrives and countries cease trying to enslave others, it will be necessary to accept one’s responsibilities and be willing to make sacrifices for one’s country—as my comrades did. As the troops used to say, “If the country is good enough to live in, it’s good enough to fight for.” With privilege goes responsibility.

Mr. Hanson is a senior fellow and classicist at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and the author of “The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won,” which will be published in October by Basic Books.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Has Anyone Ever Leaked So Much To So Little Effect?

By John Hinderaker

The number of anonymous leaks that have assailed President Trump since his inauguration is staggering. They have come from the intelligence agencies, the FBI, and all over the executive branch, including the White House. Gateway Pundit enumerates the leaks that liberal media have reported on breathlessly during just the last two and a half weeks: 17 of them, almost exactly one a day.

Most have something to do with Russia, but God only knows what. Each of the last three administrations has sought better relations with Russia. George W. Bush looked into Vladimir Putin’s eyes and thought he saw his soul. (He was mistaken.) Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton tried to “reset” relations with Russia, blaming the disillusioned W. for the hostility between the U.S. and Russia that then prevailed. And Donald Trump and his advisers have likewise reached out to Russia in hopes of developing a more constructive relationship.
Why? Because we share several vitally important interests with the Russians, notwithstanding our historic enmity. First, as the world’s leading nuclear powers, we have an interest in avoiding nuclear proliferation and catastrophic war. Second, Islamic terrorism poses a problem for both us and the Russians; it is actually worse for them. In principle, we should be able to work together, to some degree, on this issue. Third, China is aggressive and expansionist in the Far East. Russia shares our interest in containing Chinese ambitions.
So it is entirely appropriate that our leaders should seek common ground with the Russians, where possible, in pursuit of our national interests. George W. Bush did it, Barack Obama did it, and Donald Trump is doing it. The main difference between Obama and Trump is that Obama was a pushover for Putin, and Trump isn’t.
All of this is so obvious that I have stopped paying attention to the Left’s coverage of alleged “scandals” relating to Russia. The Democrats desperately hope that someone on Trump’s campaign team may have conspired with the Russians to phish the DNC’s email server, as well as the RNC’s. (Not sure how that works, but liberal conspiracy theories don’t have to make sense.) But we know there is no such evidence. If there were, Democrats in the intelligence agencies, who, it now appears, were violating the law to a massive extent in search of dirt on Donald Trump, would have leaked it before the election.
Absent evidence of collusion, the Left’s hysteria over Russia is going to fizzle out. In the end, it will look silly.
Meanwhile, everyone knows that the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, the Associated Press, etc., are using anonymous leaks in an effort to bring down the Trump administration on behalf of their party, the Democrats. I doubt that ten percent of the population could deny that proposition, and pass a lie detector test. So if nothing else, we have achieved clarity.
Trump’s triumphant foreign trip is a reminder, as Steve notes, that the antidote to the Left’s torrent of ineffective leaks is simple: govern. Here, the biggest concern, in my opinion, is Congress, not the president. Republican representatives and senators should get out of Washington and observe how little the people who voted for them are impressed by the Left’s assault on our president. Congress needs to pass the legislation the voters want–tax reform, Obamacare repeal, and the rest. And they need to do it soon.

Intelligence Leaks Endanger National Security
There was wide bipartisan consensus on the Sunday Shows  condemning illegal intelligence leaks and agreement that they are endangering national security.
·        Homeland Security Secretary Kelly said the leaks to the press are “outrageous” and put “people’s lives in jeopardy.”
·        Rep. Adam Schiff criticized continual intelligence leaks to the press, saying this weekend’s story is “another serious leak and that's a problem.”
·        Commenting on another anonymously sourced story about supposed Trump transition team Russia contacts, Sen. Graham stated on the reporting, “I don’t trust this story as far as I can throw it.”
·        Fox News’ Chris Wallace discussed the “torrent” of intelligence leaks saying, “Conservative talk about a deep state, that there are people embedded in law enforcement and embedded in the intelligence community that are trying to bring this President down. It sure seems like it's true.”

Secretary Kelly: Outrageous Leaks Are Putting People’s Lives In Danger:
Rep. Schiff Criticized Continual Intelligence Leaks To The Press, Saying This Weekend’s Story Is “Another Serious Leak And That's A Problem:”
Sen. Graham: “I Don’t Trust This Story As Far As I Can Throw It:”
Fox News’ Chris Wallace On Leaks: “Torrent Of Disclosures From Intelligence And Law Enforcement Officials:”
 Complied by the Republican National Committee

Trump’s first foreign trip was a huge success

By Michael Goodwin

Donald Trump shakes hands with French President Emmanuel Macron at NATO headquarters on May 25. Getty Images

He was clear, concise and disciplined. Those were the key ingredients that created a striking success for President Trump in his first foreign trip.
If he can bottle that recipe and start each day in the Oval Office with a big gulp of it, his presidency gets a renewed chance to live up to its promises.
Trump’s clarity on the global stage was a reminder of why he was elected. Much as he did in the campaign on his best days, he cut through the BS to get to the heart of contentious issues and offer forceful solutions.
Under enormous scrutiny, he acted in the best traditions of American leadership on two continents by helping create a Muslim NATO to combat radical Islamists and by pushing the original NATO to face terrorism and financial facts.
Throughout the weeklong trip, which also included a substantive, friendly meeting with the pope and tense negotiations over trade and climate change, Trump showed the message discipline too often missing in the White House. And he did it without sacrificing his core convictions or puckish personality.
One priceless moment came as he stood in the $1.4 billion new NATO building in Brussels and referred to American taxpayers running out of patience with the alliance’s deadbeats. The incident no doubt cheered his supporters at home as much as it rankled the European elites, most of whom regard taxpayers as suitable only for fleecing, especially when they are American.

The Best Budget Since Reagan

Obamanomics is being reversed
By Stephen Moore

I was honored to work in the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan. I’ve been waiting for 30 years to say this, but finally we have a federal budget proposal that would make the Gipper proud. This is the best budget since Reagan undoubtedly.
One way to know that’s true is to listen to the wailing and grinding of teeth on the left. When Hillary Clinton calls the budget “cruel” and “immoral,” you know you’re getting somewhere.
This is a fiscal plan that stresses the need for economic growth and advocates the tax and regulatory policies that would get us there.
It stresses federalism and allowing the states to play their constitutional role as laboratories of democracy. Let the states do it. The feds have struck out. Call it the new, New Federalism.
It puts government on a real diet. And it calls out liberal big government failures. Everything from broken education programs, to the National Endowment for the Arts, has been put on the chopping block.
Best of all is the call to overhaul the corrupt and corrupting welfare state — a $1 trillion a year system that pays people not to work.
How can we go forward with 42 million people on food stamps and 70 million on Medicaid? Can it be true that one in eight families needs the government and taxpayers to put food on the table?
Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said it so well: “If you are on food stamps and are able-bodied, we need you to work.”
Even better was his statement that “we will measure success based on how many people we take off of welfare, not how many sign up.” Obama measured economic success the opposite way: he spent hundreds of millions of tax dollars to encourage people to get food stamps and unemployment benefits.
There is dignity and self-worth in work and earning a paycheck, not being sent a welfare check. There are now many hundreds of communities where as many as half the citizens are on some form of government assistance. This is wrong and creates a culture of dependency that is difficult to break.
The White House’s big gamble here is that the Trump tax cuts will generate 3 to 4 percent growth. With 3 percent growth, over the next 20 years the debt as a share of GDP falls to about 50 percent of GDP. Conversely, as the Trump plan demonstrates, the 1.8 growth path Obama left Trump will cause a debt crisis over the next decade or two. With 3 to 4 percent growth millions of new jobs will be created and the need for welfare will start to disappear. The best way to help the poor is with a good paying job.
So why is this cruel?
‎This budget, in sum, reverses Obamanomics. Well done. Obama’s gave us the worst debt record ($9 trillion added in eight years) of any president by a country mile. The economy barely recovered from recession. Americans voted for a change in direction and this budget lays it all out.
Somewhere Reagan is smiling. 

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Brooks’ Firing Shows that the NAACP Doesn’t Have a Clue

By Raynard Jackson

Once again the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has proven why it is the Hillary Clinton of the Civil Rights Movement.
The NAACP used to be a storied organization, that was a major player in the historic fight for full equality for Blacks in America; that was before they got bought out by the Democratic Party in the early 1970s; before they bowed downed to the alter of the homosexual community; and before they sold themselves to the likes of radical liberal, George Soros and his open borders crowd who believe everyone has a right to be in the U.S., whether legally or illegally.
The equality that the NAACP once sought was not predicated on some “special” rights or entitlements that some groups wanted the courts to create out of thin air (gay rights). The NAACP and Blacks wanted the rights that the U.S. Constitution already said we were entitled to. In other words, the NAACP simply wanted the government to enforce the laws on the books, not create new ones.
Like Clinton, the NAACP can never seem to bring itself to accept responsibility for any of their own actions; and the plight of the Black community can always be blamed on others.
This Clintonian tick led them last Friday to fire their latest president and CEO, Cornell William Brooks.

Brooks should have never been hired for this post; the national board selected him three years ago, because they wanted someone that was easy to control.
Brooks was a horrible speaker and wasn’t as charismatic as some of their past leaders, but he was easily controlled.
Since the 1970s, the NAACP has only had two heads, who made any difference in America and the organization; those two people were Benjamin Hooks and Bruce Gordon.
Hooks was an icon of the Civil Rights Movement and a staunch Republican.
Richard Nixon appointed him to serve on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the early seventies. He was the first Black to ever serve on this commission and is singularly responsible for the diversity in media ownership that we see today. Without Hooks, networks like BET and TV One never would have existed.
But somehow, the NAACP rarely mentions Hooks’ Republican ties in any of the group’s written literature, but I digress.
Maybe Hook’s speech at the NAACP’s 1990 convention is why they sanitized his Republican linage.
During the speech, Hooks said that, “It’s time today… to bring it out of the closet: No longer can we proffer polite, explicable, reasons why Black America cannot do more for itself…I’m calling for a moratorium on excuses. I challenge black America today—all of us—to set aside our alibis.”
Bruce Gordon came from a family with deeps roots in the Civil Rights Movement, but he chose to make his mark on America by working his way up the ladder in corporate America. He became a high-ranking executive with telecom giant Verizon.

So, his appointment to lead the NAACP in 2005 shocked everyone, because they typically hired preachers or politicians. President George W. Bush had rightfully ignored the group and refused to attend their national convention until Gordon came on board. Gordon’s business background helped him to navigate the political battlefield and he was able to build a personal relationship with President Bush, to the dismay of his group’s board.
This friction led to his abrupt resignation in 2007. Gordon stated: “I did not step into the role to be a caretaker, to be dictated to…I stepped into the role to understand as best I could the needs of the African American community and then to propose strategies and policies and programs and practices that could improve conditions for African Americans…The things I had in mind were not consistent with what some—unfortunately, too many—on the board had in mind.”
The national board of the NAACP demands undying fealty and they love to micromanage their presidents; any attemps to cut their puppet strings and you become useless to them. God forbid a president makes a decision on his own or attempts to make the group more relevant to the 21st century.
I know many of their leaders from across the country and the tragedy is that most of them don’t even believe in the issues the national board has made a priority. Publically, many state NAACP leaders say one thing and privately they believe another.
How can the NAACP claim to represent the Black community when they are out of sync with what the Black community believes and wants?
Black community is very conservative. Blacks don’t support amnesty for illegals. Blacks are the largest voting block that supports school choice and vouchers! This, despite the NAACP passing a resolution last year at their national convention opposing school choice. And they wonder why they are no longer relevant to the Black community?
I dare the NAACP national board to choose someone like Condoleezza Rice, Shannon Reeves, or Jennifer Carroll as their next leader; if they are truly interested in regaining relevancy, that’s exactly what they’ll do.
Unfortunately, the NAACP national board is totally incapable of thinking outside the box or giving up control. The NAACP has become the retirement village for the Black bourgeoisie.

Friday, May 26, 2017

RACIAL PREFERENCE: The Supreme Court’s Useless Guidance

The Wall Street Journal

Racial preference has never achieved what proponents promised. Why would it this time?

By Jason L. Riley
The Supreme Court ruled Monday that race can be a factor, but not the predominant one, when states draw maps for legislative districts.
If that formulation sounds familiar, it’s because the same court has offered similarly useless guidance regarding affirmative action in college admissions. Both state officials and college administrators deserve better, as do the supposed beneficiaries of these policies.
Race-driven legislative districting is an outgrowth of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was intended to ensure that historically disenfranchised blacks had the ballot access guaranteed by the 15th Amendment.
The law’s passage was followed by a sharp increase in black voter registration, particularly in the Deep South. In 1964 black voter registration in Mississippi was less than 7%, but by 1966 it was 60%. In Georgia the figure climbed from 19% to 51% over the same period. It would seem that the law had worked as Congress intended.
As with so much civil-rights legislation, however, the goal posts moved over time. An effort to ensure ballot access became an effort to secure the election of black officials.
And despite decades of evidence that whites now regularly vote for nonwhite candidates—including Barack Obama, who in 2008 carried a majority of white voters in nearly a third of states—we continue to pretend that voters must be racially segregated in order for blacks to win office.
Besides being outdated, current interpretations and enforcement of the Voting Rights Act probably do more to hamper black candidates and facilitate racial polarization.
Running for office in a district drawn to guarantee a winner from a certain racial or ethnic group gives a candidate little incentive to appeal to voters outside that group. Insulated politicians are less accountable and more given to extreme positions held by few beyond their small base of supporters.
The Congressional Black Caucus has one of the most liberal voting records in Congress year after year, and black candidates from overstuffed minority districts struggle to win statewide.
Affirmative action has a similar record—to the detriment of the people it intends to help. In the decades immediately following implementation of racial preferences in the 1970s, the number of whites living in poverty fell while the number of impoverished blacks increased, and incomes for the poorest blacks declined at more than double the rate of comparable whites.
After the University of California system ended race-based admissions by referendum in 1996, black graduation rates increased.
A policy designed to help the black middle class had in practice hampered black economic progress.
The U.S. is not the only place where racial preferences haven’t achieved what proponents promised.
Last week’s Economist magazine includes a story with the headline, “Race-based affirmative action is failing poor Malaysians.”
Anyone familiar with the trajectory of affirmative action policies in America will recognize the similarities.
“Schemes favouring Malays were once deemed essential to improve the lot of Malaysia’s least wealthy racial group; these days they are widely thought to help mostly the well-off within that group, while failing the poor and aggravating ethnic tensions,” the magazine reports. “Yet affirmative action persists because it is a reliable vote-winner for the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), the Malay party that has dominated government since independence.”
After the British colonists left in the 1950s, Malaysia implemented racially discriminatory policies that favored the indigenous population over immigrant laborers and merchants from China and elsewhere.
Malays, who comprise the majority of the population, receive preferential treatment for government loans, jobs and public university admissions. Marketplaces in Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, reserve spaces for Malay shopkeepers and ban ethnic Chinese and Indian entrepreneurs from doing business there.
Policies that were supposed to be temporary—proponents said they would be needed for no longer than 20 years—have not only continued for more than twice as long but also expanded.
Just as preferences for blacks in the U.S. eventually spread to other groups, including Hispanics and women, Malaysia’s racial and ethnic spoils system has grown to include other indigenous populations deemed worthy of special consideration.
Racial preferences have lowered standards at public universities as non-Malay students and professors have fled to merit-based private institutions. And Malay students who know that their job prospects don’t depend on academic performance feel less pressure to study hard.
The Malay government is well aware that these policies have resulted in an “entitlement culture,” but the political imperative is to do what’s popular today, regardless of the consequences tomorrow. That, too, it seems, is a global feature of affirmative action policies in practice.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Manchester Suicide Bomber Traveled To Libya And Syria Before Attack, Refugee Father Was Part of Al Qaeda

By Katie Pavlich

The suicide bomber who killed 22 people and severely wounded dozens more at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchaster earlier this week traveled to Libya and back to the UK before carrying out the attack. He also reportedly made trips to Syria, where ISIS is headquartered. From Fox News:

The man British police say blew himself up as a packed concert was letting out in Manchester, England, Monday night is believed to have traveled to Syria and had "proven" links with the Islamic State terror network.
British and French intelligence have information that Salman Abedi, 22, had been to Syria, although it was unclear if he was part of a larger network of attackers, French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said Wednesday.
Abedi — who was born in Britain to Libyan parents — had traveled to the war-torn North African nation "three weeks ago and came back, like, days ago," a friend told The Times of London.
Now, investigators are attempting to learn whether the university dropout attended a terrorist training camp in Libya, where ISIS and Al Qaeda fighters are engaged in a bloody war against government forces.
Abedi was born in the UK, but is the son of refugees from Libya. According to a former Libyan government, his father was part of an Al Qaeda offshoot back in his home country.
The father of Manchester bomber Salman Abedi was purportedly a member of an Al Qaeda-backed group in Libya, a former Libyan security official said.
Abdel-Basit Haroun, a former security official in Libya, told the Associated Press Wednesday that he personally knew Ramadan Abedi, the father of Salman Abedi, and that the elder Abedi was a member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group in the 1990s. The group had links to Al Qaeda.
In the aftermath of the attack, Ramadan has argued his son was innocent and that his family is a peaceful one.
"We don't believe in killing innocents. This is not us," he told TIME from Tripoli Wednesday.
Authorities have since arrested him and Salman's younger brother in Libya. No word on whether they'll be sent to the UK for questioning.
UPDATE: The brother reportedly knew about the attack and has been cooperating with authorities. He was arrested on suspicions of working with ISIS.