PowerLine | Trump’s Philosopher? | Another Epic Greenfail

PowerLine | Trump’s Philosopher? | Another Epic Greenfail


Trump’s Philosopher?

Posted: 18 Mar 2016 02:30 PM PDT

(Steven Hayward)

I noted here a month ago about how some French intellectuals have been saying “enough!” to the multiculturalism and other degradations that have caused Europe to embark on collective suicide, but today’s New York Times has a fascinating story about Alain Finkielkraut, a prominent and best-selling philosopher who is giving France the kind of straight talk that would make him the suitable philosopher for Donald Trump. Like most public intellectuals in France, he comes from the left. Why can’t any American leftists (with one or two noble exceptions, such as Paul Berman) speak as clearly as the Times account conveys:

The national audience for Mr. Finkielkraut’s themes, returned to obsessively and buttressed by a seamless web of references, is now larger than ever in the wake of the terrorist attacks of 2015.

Before and after the attacks, those themes have not varied: Much of Islam is radically incompatible with French culture and society; Muslim immigrants represent a threat; French schools are crumbling under a mistaken multicultural outreach; the inherited corpus of French culture is in danger; and anti-Semitism is on the rise again, this time by way of Islam.

Many of the 2015 attackers were French. “Hatred of France is present in France,” Mr. Finkielkraut said in a recent interview. “What the attacks proved is that we have a redoubtable and determined enemy.”

He has caught a national mood, bridging unease over relations with the country’s Muslim minority with a nascent renewal of national pride after the November attacks. Its expression by Mr. Finkielkraut has been delivered, over many years, with all the fervor of the immigrants’ son who has succeeded. But in Mr. Finkielkraut’s pessimistic vision this fusion is dark-robed.

His last substantial book, “The Unhappy Identity,” was a best seller in France — a compact lament over declining standards in schools, the pernicious effects of multiculturalism, the oppression of women under Islam and France’s self-alienation from its own heritage.

The book’s protest over neighborhoods where “the French feel they have become strangers on their own turf” under the weight of Muslim immigration led critics to put him in the camp of the far-right National Front — a charge he rejects.

“France is on its way to disintegration,” Mr. Finkielkraut said in the interview in his Left Bank apartment, every book-lined inch underscoring his distrust of the Internet. The prosperous, pleasant and largely white-populated streets outside are far from the troubled multiracial suburbs that are his preoccupation.

Another Epic Greenfail

Posted: 18 Mar 2016 12:51 PM PDT

(Steven Hayward)

The number of people in the world who can be said in “energy poverty,” that is, with little or no modern energy available, is around 3 billion. About 1.5 billion people, according to some estimates, have no electricity at all, and most of the three billion rely on extremely low-tech or non-tech sources of energy for basic needs of cooking and warmth, meaning they burn, wood, straw, or dried animal dung. The smoke and air pollution from these low- and no-tech energy sources are terrible for human health, and for the local environment (especially if people are chopping down every tree in sight).

Naturally Western eco-imperialist do-gooders are horrified at the idea of building power plants, dams, and electricity grids for the world’s poor, and offered as their magic solution “Clean Cookstoves,” complete with a “public-private partnership” launched by Hillary Clinton! These mini-stoves were supposed to provide “clean and cheap” energy for very poor people in the developing world. Almost 30 million of these magic stoves have been distributed since 2010.

Here’s what the Washington Post reported about them last fall:

Of those 28 million cookstoves, only 8.2 million — the ones that run on electricity or burn liquid fuels including liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), ethanol and biogas — meet the health guidelines for indoor emissions set by the WHO. The vast majority of the stoves burn wood, charcoal, animal dung or agricultural waste — and aren’t, therefore, nearly as healthy as promised. Although these cookstoves produce fewer emissions than open fires, burning biomass fuels in them still releases plenty of toxins. “As yet, no biomass stove in the world is clean enough to be truly health protective in household use,” says Kirk Smith, a professor of global environmental health at the University of California at Berkeley and the leading health researcher on cookstoves.

That’s not the only problem with the stoves. Some perform well in the lab but not in the field. Others crack or break under constant heat. The best cookstoves burning clean fuels won’t protect poor families from disease if those who use them continue to cook over open fires as well — which many do. “They’re not the big solution, unfortunately, that we thought they were going to be,” says Rema Hanna, a Harvard economist who led “Up in Smoke,”the most extensive field study to date on this subject. . .

“We know what works,” says Kirk Smith, the Berkeley professor, who has worked on cookstoves for 35 years. “It’s gas or electricity or both. Why are we pushing these strange new gadgets that we never use here?”

There’s really no mystery here, is there?

Rabbis organize a misguided boycott of Trump’s speech to AIPAC

Posted: 18 Mar 2016 09:29 AM PDT

(Paul Mirengoff)

A group of rabbis is planning to boycott Donald Trump’s speech to AIPAC next week. The proposed boycott has nothing to do with Trump’s statement that, as president, he would be neutral as between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. One suspects that many of the irate rabbis have no objection to this approach, which (giving him the benefit of the doubt) has animated President Obama’s Middle East policy. Rather, the boycott is based on Trump’s illiberalism.

The rabbis’ move is hardly surprising. As Norman Podhoretz persuasively argued in Why are Jews Liberal?, for many non-Orthodox Jews, liberalism has replaced traditional Judaism as the true Jewish religion.

What does traditional Judaism teach us about boycotting unpleasant speech? Jeff Dunetz argues that it teaches us to listen to it.

The rabbis who intend to boycott Trump’s speech think they have heard enough. According to the Washington Post, they object to his “praise of authoritarian figures such as Russian President Vladi­mir Putin,” as well as his “call for a ban on Muslims entering the United States and his harsh rhetoric on illegal Mexican migrants,” which they claim “is reminiscent of the anti-immigrant sentiment that greeted European Jews in generations past.”

I object to these positions as well. But do they warrant an extraordinary call for a boycott against the likely Republican nominee? Not unless you have an ulterior, partisan motive, it seems to me.

Trump’s views on authoritarianism are a legitimate concern, and liberals aren’t the only people expressing them. However, President Obama’s flirtation with authoritarian figures, coupled with his disregard for the constitutional limits on his power, should be more concerning.

The Obama administration has empowered some of the worst authoritarians in the world, including the mullahs in Iran who are rabidly anti-Semitic and who aim to destroy Israel. To my knowledge, rabbis have never boycotted Obama.

As for immigration, there is no relationship between Trump’s misguided proposals to deport illegal immigrants and temporarily ban Muslim entry on the one hand, and the treatment of European Jewish immigrants 100 years ago on the other. Trump proposes to deport only those who are here illegally. (By right, they should be deported, though considerations of humanitarianism and practicality militate against mass deportation.) And the Jews who entered the U.S. did not belong to a religion many of whose members are waging a holy war against our country.

The boycotting rabbis have strong policy disagreements with Trump. But policy disagreements don’t justify a refusal to listen.

That’s why the rabbis couch their disgust with Trump in terms that invoke the Jewish experience with authoritarianism abroad and discrimination in the U.S. As noted above, however, this attempt requires distortion.

By engaging in distortion, the rabbis demonstrate that they are driven by a political, rather than a religious agenda. But what else can we expect from them? As Dunetz points out, and as non-liberal Jews know oh-so well, Reform and Conservative Judaism are dominated by leftism.

Indeed, some of us have at times felt like boycotting our religious services rather than enduring liberal rants posing as religious sermons. The impulse isn’t admirable, and neither is the proposed AIPAC boycott of Donald Trump.

How secret is it? (17)

Posted: 18 Mar 2016 07:44 AM PDT

(Scott Johnson)

A reader writes to comment on part 16 of this series. I think that his (lightly edited) message may advance the analysis for readers following the saga of the Clinton private email server used for her official business as Secretary of State:

I am a retired Foreign Service Specialist who served as an Information Management Specialist. I worked on all Department communications systems. This whole thing with Hillary is proof that the DNC has completely destroyed the integrity of every government agency and politicized everything. Remember too that numerous Obama appointees have been caught at DoJ, the IRS and in the White House using private emails as well – this is a systemic problem from the top down; the government headed by Obama tried to shield its activities from FOIA, official systems and the American people. Nixon was a piker compared to this crew.

So now Hillary was using “private” BlackBerry phones [instead of] the Department’s official BlackBerry phones…The BlackBerrys used by the DoS reside on commercial BlackBerry networks, although the Department has its own servers. Those servers are regionally located for each of the five bureaus and Washington, D.C. Regional Information Management Centers (RIMCs) are where these systems reside.

In the final leg of my long career in government service, spanning a career with the Army, jobs with the EPA, VA, USMC/Navy, DoD-Army and the Department of State, I was a BlackBerry admin for the Department in South America and was an actual foreign service specialist doing information management work on all the systems Hillary (her team included) used. Many of us in the Department questioned why HRC22 was showing up in emails from the Secretary of State. We were told to drop it. In the Department of State those in management or supervisory positions frequently flout the rules for the rank and file employees; that is life in the Foreign Service.

At the Department of State, anyone who even leaves a classified document on his desk overnight is given a security violation; two or more mean reassignment to Washington, D.C., without a chance of promotion for five years. In the Department of Defense if an officer has a security violation, he rarely ever sees a promotion ever again and is forced out. The standard for a violation is not actual or accidental disclosure, but rather MISHANDLING of Classified information. To top it all off, nothing at the Department of State is classified below S-E-N-S-I-T-I-V-E-B-U-T-U-N-C-L-A-S-S-I-F-I-E-D and therefore not allowed on private systems or Gmail, Yahoo, Live Email addresses.

Hillary should be in jail, not roaming free, along with her entire entourage. However, in today’s DNC controlled America Hillary is the presidential contender to increase our vulnerabilities well into the future.

Will the nation survive? Should the DNC even have her as a candidate is the question I keep asking myself, but then with the complicity of the RNC (why I now support Trump because he will prosecute her) she is not only free but possibly will be the next president.

How can anyone ever again be prosecuted for mishandling classified information?

We know that the rules don’t apply to the Clintons, but it’s not a bad question.

RELATED: Richard Pollock’s Daily Caller report “Hillary faces national security establishment ‘uprising’ over emails.”.

Dartmouth in 2025

Posted: 18 Mar 2016 07:42 AM PDT

(Paul Mirengoff)

Joe Asch gazes into a crystal ball and, assuming that what’s present is prologue, imagines the news that might well come from Dartmouth in the year 2025. Here are some of the items:

* President Hanlon proudly announced that starting next year each and every undergraduate student would have a dedicated Assistant Provost. “We are proud that we lead the nation in student support,” he said. “Whatever issues face our students can be dealt with by direct professional help.” The College now has 6,482 non-faculty staffers on the payroll, up from 3,503 in 2015.

* Dartmouth was shut down for this term’s third Day of Study after yet another nanoaggression took place. A female student of color reported to the College’s 842-person Bias Incident Response Team (BIRT) that a male undergraduate had tilted his head and squinted at her in a way that made her feel that he was thinking racist thoughts. “This unacceptable behavior must end,” said President Hanlon. All students have been offered counseling should they feel aggrieved by the deeply troubling event.

* In a drop that had some wags calling it “25 in 25,” the College’s U.S. News ranking slipped two places to #25. “Rankings mean little,” The D quoted Phil Hanlon as saying. “I am confident that Dartmouth has the finest undergraduate program in northern New England, and it is only going to get better.” However many commentators expressed the belief that in 2019, the institution’s 250th birthday, when the number of graduate students exceeded the number of undergrads in Hanover, our reputation took a hit.

* Psi U fraternity was derecognized last week after an empty bottle of Smirnoff was found in its trash. Although the bottle had been used for many years as a candleholder, Vice Provost for Student Affairs Inge-Lise Ameer said that she felt that Dartmouth’s no-tolerance policy regarding hard alcohol was paying dividends. “We’ve been able to use it to get rid of the frats. You can’t beat that,” she was quoted as saying to her personal staff during their weekly meeting in Spaulding Auditorium. Psi U was the College’s last remaining Greek House, save for Alpha Phi Alpha.

* In a protest that Dean Ameer called “yet another wonderful, beautiful thing,” over two hundred BLM activists burned down Sanborn Library for the second time in as many years. Fortunately only nine students, all of the College’s current English majors, were injured in the fire. Among the BLM group’s 6,666 demands was the insistence that as of next year all members of the faculty be “of color” in order to redress “millennia” of racism in American life. The Trustees met in emergency session and agreed to add another $400 million to the diversity and inclusiveness budget.

Read them all. And weep.



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