PowerLine – What is Donald Trump?

PowerLine – What is Donald Trump?

Academic Howler of the Week: How to Ruin Salsa

PowerLine Daily digest - Old Guard Audio.com

PowerLine Daily digest – Old Guard Audio.com

Posted: 09 May 2016 11:59 AM PDT

(Steven Hayward)It’s Monday, so it’s time for our Academic Absurdity of the Week, drawn as always from the service of Real Peer Review on Twitter. A few days ago Donald Trump got into his usual mischief over a taco bowl. He’s underachieving. He’s totally missing out on the trolling possibilities of  . . . salsa dancing! Because—wait for it now—salsa dancing is . . . racist, sexist, and imperialistic. Also “heteronormative.”

Here’s the abstract of a Ph.D dissertation accepted by the University of Leeds just last week:

Dancing salsa in post-thinking Europe: Gender and sexuality discourses among salsa dancers in Switzerland and England

Stefanie Claudine Boulila


In a discursive context where Europe is associated with modernity and ‘progress’, salsa dancing is often claimed to offer ‘difference’ in terms of the gender roles it propagates. The multi-million salsa industry sells the dance practice as ‘sexy’, ‘hot’ and as the epitome of heterosexuality. This thesis explores gender and sexuality discourses among salsa dancers in Switzerland and England. Drawing on unstructured in-depth interviews with heterosexual and lesbian/gay salsa dancers, it traces culturalist understandings of salsa genders that defer heteronormativity and ‘strict’ gender roles to ‘Latin American culture’. Based on queer-feminist, postcolonial and race critical theory, this thesis offers an analysis of how gendered and sexualised formations come into being on the salsa scene. It will do so by deconstructing Latin American gender stereotypes, narratives of passion and heterosexual romance as well as heteronormalising processes that inform the salsa dance studio. Overall, it will argue that claims to gender and sexuality on the salsa scene are racialised in the way that they reflect broader discourses of race in contemporary Europe. This thesis presents the first analysis of salsa dance practices in Europe that is led by postcolonial and queer-feminist theory. Beyond an analysis of salsa from this perspective, it aims to contribute to the study of postcolonial racisms in Switzerland and England. Additionally, it makes a case for the study of Latinidad in Europe and the gendered and sexualised stereotypes associated with it.

Now, don’t bother getting out your checkbook to get a complete copy of this masterpiece. There’s a note attached at the top: “Restricted until 1 May 2036. ” I can’t imagine why.

Follow up question: Why is the Left so obsessed with sex?

What is Donald Trump?

Posted: 09 May 2016 08:40 AM PDT

(Steven Hayward)Chasing after the multiple vectors of Donald Trump’s stream-of-consciousness and often circular remarks can occasionally be rewarding when he reveals the unique instinct or calculation he brought to this presidential contest. For example, the big question from the beginning was whether Trump might run as an independent if he failed to win the GOP nomination. Did anyone consider that he might run as both?

The lead story in the New York Times this morning, “Trump’s Warning to Paul Ryan Signals Further GOP Discord,” contains an important clue:

“I’m going to do what I have to do — I have millions of people that voted for me,” Mr. Trump said on ABC’s “This Week.” “So I have to stay true to my principles also. And I’m a conservative, but don’t forget, this is called the Republican Party. It’s not called the Conservative Party.”

Trump is on to something here. Nothing is more obvious of most Republican presidential candidates these days than to profess their allegiance to advancing “conservative principles,” just like Ronald Reagan. Except, if you go back and have a look, Reagan almost never used the word “conservative” in his speeches before general audiences. He would, of course, when speaking to CPAC, but not much otherwise. Instead he always spoke as if what he believed was the “common sense” that everyone believed.

Trump understands that lots of Americans aren’t ideological or “movement” conservatives, even if a plurality or possibly a majority have a preference for conservative governance in most areas. The rhetorical fealty to “conservative principles” of people like Cruz, Rubio, etc, likely puts off a lot of reachable voters—the kind Trump has harvested in large numbers.

So when you ask, “Is Donald Trump a Republican or a Democrat or an Independent?” or a “conservative, liberal, or moderate?”, the answer is—Yes. Trump’s comment, and much else from the way he’s come across over the last week, indicates that he plans to run with the Republican Party more than as part of it. Gives a whole new meaning to Republican In Name Only. Think of Trump as the world’s only Orange RINO.

Madam Hillary goes last

Posted: 09 May 2016 04:52 AM PDT

(Scott Johnson)On Face the Nation yesterday CBS’s John Dickerson asked Hillary Clinton about the FBI investigation into her private email arrangement for the official business she conducted as Secretary of State. The investigation has required the services of more than 100 FBI agents and extended over many months. Following the news last week, Dickerson asked whether the FBI had contacted her yet.

As always, Clinton characterized the investigation as a li’l old “security review.” See, nothing serious. She added: “No one has reached out to me yet but last summer, I think last August, I made it clear I’m more than ready to talk to anybody anytime, and I’ve encouraged all my assistants to be very forthcoming, and I hope this is close to being wrapped up.”

Dickerson treats Clinton with kid gloves, letting it go at that. The FBI appears to be saving Clinton for last, reserving its interview with the highest reaching object of an investigation until the time it has interviewed the others involved.

Say this for her. Clinton has chosen her media interviewers well. She hasn’t taken a tough question on the subject for a very long time. Perhaps her date with the FBI will be different.

Via Shoshanna Weissmann/Weekly Standard.

“Minnesota men” go to trial

Posted: 09 May 2016 04:18 AM PDT

(Scott Johnson)Over the past year the government has charged ten “Minnesota men” (i.e., Somali Minnesotans) with seeking to join ISIS. One of the ten is believed to have made it to Syria and is unavailable for trial. Six of the ten have pleaded guilty. This past October a grand jury added a charge of conspiracy to commit murder overseas to the original charge of lending material support to a foreign terrorist organization. Today the remaining three defendants — Hamza Ahmed, Mohamed Abdhamid Farah and Guled Ali Omar — are set for trial in federal court before Judge Michael Davis. I’ll be covering the trial for Power Line and the Weekly Standard.

I have written about the cases in the Weekly Standard articles “The threat from ‘Minnesota men’” and “Judging the ‘Minnesota men.” The second of the two articles reports on Judge Davis’s use of German social scientist Daniel Koehler to inform his sentencing of those who have pleaded guilty. Today’s Wall Street Journal attends to that aspect of the cases in “Judge tries new approach with terror defendants: Deradicalization” (the article should be accessible via Google here).

SheikhHassan These are important cases of national interest. They present case studies in the evolving terror threat we face at home. They open a window onto the local Somali community that is otherwise closed. They bring evidence of the local threat to the surface that is otherwise submerged in highly confidential law enforcement investigations. Courtesy of these cases, for example, we have already learned that there’s something about “community leader” Hassan “Jaamici” Mohamud, imam of the Minnesota Da’wah Institute in St. Paul (doing his thing in the photo at right).

Working as a legal assistant for one of the attorneys representing one of the defendants, Mohamud improperly meddled in the plea deal another of the defendants had worked out. He urged the defendants to stick together.

He is also discussed on one of the recordings of certain of the defendants’ discussions; his teaching of the battlefield prayer for jihad is cited. The prosecution’s intent to use this recording at trial prompted the withdrawal of the attorney and legal assistant/imam from the defense team. We’re going to want to keep an eye on this particular “community leader.”

Judge Davis anticipates a large turnout for the trial. In an order filed late last week, Judge Davis indicated that he has sought to arrange the use of an overflow courtroom each day to accommodate the crowd. Seating is first come, first serve. Official press credentials are required to take advantage of the space reserved for journalists covering the trial.

The proceedings in these cases attract a large number of Somali and other local supporters of the defendants. The proceedings also elicit the services of visibly well armed officers and bomb sniffing dogs of federal law enforcement agencies adding to the security that otherwise protects the court. You have to see it to believe. I’ll be seeing and believing it again early this morning.

Former Obama Adviser: Obama’s Weakness Driving Allies Toward Russia

Posted: 08 May 2016 06:08 PM PDT

(John Hinderaker)Dennis Ross is a respected, if thoroughly conventional, expert on the Middle East. A Democrat, he has served in both Republican and Democratic administrations as an adviser and envoy. Ross served in the State Department as Hillary Clinton’s Special Advisor for the Persian Gulf and Southwest Asia. Subsequently, he joined President Obama’s National Security Council staff as a Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for the Central Region, which includes the Middle East, the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, Pakistan and South Asia. So when Ross writes, in Politico, that Obama’s foreign policy weakness is hurting American interests, we should take notice.

Here are some excerpts:

The United States has significantly more military capability in the Middle East today than Russia—America has 35,000 troops and hundreds of aircraft; the Russians roughly 2,000 troops and, perhaps, 50 aircraft—and yet Middle Eastern leaders are making pilgrimages to Moscow to see Vladimir Putin these days, not rushing to Washington. Two weeks ago, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled to see the Russian president, his second trip to Russia since last fall, and King Salman of Saudi Arabia is planning a trip soon. Egypt’s president and other Middle Eastern leaders have also made the trek to see Putin.

Why is this happening, and why on my trips to the region am I hearing that Arabs and Israelis have pretty much given up on President Barack Obama? Because perceptions matter more than mere power: The Russians are seen as willing to use power to affect the balance of power in the region, and we are not. …

in the Middle East it is Putin’s views on the uses of coercion, including force to achieve political objectives, that appears to be the norm, not the exception—and that is true for our friends as well as adversaries. The Saudis acted in Yemen in no small part because they feared the United States would impose no limits on Iranian expansion in the area, and they felt the need to draw their own lines. In the aftermath of the nuclear deal, Iran’s behavior in the region has been more aggressive, not less so, with regular Iranian forces joining the Revolutionary Guard now deployed to Syria, wider use of Shiite militias, arms smuggling into Bahrain and the eastern province of Saudi Arabia, and ballistic missile tests. …

The Russian military intervention turned the tide in Syria and, contrary to Obama’s view, has put the Russians in a stronger position without imposing any meaningful costs on them. Not only are they not being penalized for their Syrian intervention, but the president himself is now calling Vladimir Putin and seeking his help to pressure Assad—effectively recognizing who has leverage. Middle Eastern leaders recognize it as well and realize they need to be talking to the Russians if they are to safeguard their interests. No doubt, it would be better if the rest of the world defined the nature of power the way Obama does. It would be better if, internationally, Putin were seen to be losing. But he is not. …

As I hear on my visits to the region, Arabs and Israelis alike are looking to the next administration.

There is much more. As they say, read it all.

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