Sunday, June 24, 2018

Left & Right June 20, 2018

We discuss "family separation" on the southern border which dominates media lately. We agree on most points, but Gino suggests that Guatemala, Honduras, etc. are suffering because of too many MS-13 members deported back there from the US.

I contend Democrats want open borders but won't say it outright. The "asylum" scam is widening and accelerating. Awesome display of media/Democrat, pro-illegal-immigration propaganda.

What is in Trump's core? Gino says he lacks one, that he's completely opportunistic.

I describe anti-white-men bias at Harvard Medical School, and in undergraduate university admission procedures. Lawsuit by Asians who have been discriminated against is proceeding.

Tariffs past and present -- good or bad? Trade war? I say Calvin Coolidge hands-off policies more effective than Hoover's or Roosevelt's federal control policies.

Gino compares the Great Depression to the financial collapse in 2008.  I contend the feds should have done nothing in both cases and let businesses collapse. Let other private firms pick up pieces after bankruptcies. That's what Coolidge did and it worked very well. Government intervention prolongs recessions/the depression with central control.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Understanding the OIG Report

Three years ago I agreed with the mainstream media I otherwise disdained, when they said it was a joke. Donald Trump had descended an escalator at his tower and announced his candidacy for president. He didn’t have a chance, I thought. His uncamouflaged narcissism would preclude a serious bid. No one who combed his hair like that could ever win, I thought. Then he won primary after primary and still I agreed with mainstream media: “His campaign is going to fall apart any day now. He’ll say something stupid; his poll numbers will plummet, and that’ll be it. He’ll drop out.”

And he did say stupid things, plenty of them — all joyfully trumpeted by media — but his numbers kept going up. Eventually Ted Cruz, his last serious opponent and my preferred candidate, dropped out. Trump won the Republican nomination. At that point I realized I was actually going to vote for him, but only because I could never vote for Hillary Clinton or the two minor candidates. I wasn’t comfortable with it, but I knew I would do it. As the campaign wore on, however, I found myself in agreement with virtually all his policy positions — and I really liked how he told Hillary to her face she would be in jail if he were president.

On election night I celebrated his victory. If he actually did half the things he said he would, I knew America would be much better off. At about 9:30 pm, I flipped around to NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, and MSNBC and enjoyed the extreme distress on the faces of their talking heads as they realized Trump would actually win. I savored schadenfreude for the rest of the evening and all through the next day.

I believed President Obama’s DOJ and FBI had helped Hillary to avoid indictment for gross negligence in her handling of classified documents on her private server. However, I didn’t realize at the time that, after exonerating her, the Obama Administration had then weaponized the FBI, DOJ, NSA, and CIA against first Donald Trump’s candidacy, and then against his presidency.

That process I’ve been closely following for more than a year and a half, and I eagerly anticipated last week’s report by the DOJ’s Office of Inspector General (OIG). Its accumulated evidence of FBI and DOJ corruption was extremely damning, but the conclusion in its executive summary was perplexing to say the least. CBS reported it this way: “…the [OIG] report found that political bias [of Obama officials] did not affect the [Hillary email] investigation and it gave support to the decision not to prosecute Clinton.”

So how can the OIG report be both damning and exonerating? Former US Attorney George Parry, writing in The American Spectator, illustrates it best by using a hypothetical:

It seems like a day doesn’t go by without some female high school teacher getting arrested for having sexual relations with an underage student. The story line is always the same. Ms. Hotpants either gets caught in the act or because her student paramour shares with the world the naked selfies that for some weird reason she just had to send to his cell phone. Invariably the teacher is quickly and unceremoniously condemned, fired from her job and arrested.

To illustrate this point, let me apply the OIG’s reserved and non-judgmental standards to the hypothetical case of Teacher 1 and Student A who have been caught naked in a car parked behind the local Piggly Wiggly. Herewith is an excerpt from the hypothetical report by the Pleasant Valley School District’s Office of Inspector General:

We asked Teacher 1 why she and Student A had been in her car at Midnight. She replied that he had been doing poorly in her class, and she was tutoring him. We acknowledge that such additional instruction would be a valid and proper pedagogical undertaking. Nevertheless, we asked why they were not wearing clothes. She explained that they had become hot and sweaty, and she believed that it was important that teacher and student should eliminate physical discomforts to maximize the learning experience.

We asked why they had an open bottle of vodka and a box of condoms. She explained that these items had been left in the car by her husband. Since her spouse is not an employee of the school district, we were unable to question him regarding this matter.

While we found Teacher 1’s answers to be unpersuasive, she made no direct declaration as to why she had engaged in this drunken, naked and nocturnal meeting with Student A. Consequently, we have no definitive proof that she was motivated by a desire to engage in sexual relations. Therefore, we make no finding regarding her motive or intent.

As a trial attorney might say at this juncture: “I rest my case.”

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Easy Questions Only

“Nothing is off the table. I don’t think you could possibly insult me,” said Robert Azzi. His June 7th talk: “Ask a Muslim Anything” at the Berwick [Maine] Public Library began at 6:00 pm and I arrived five minutes late. Before I could find a seat and unpack my camera and recorder, the Q&A had started. The first question was something about President Trump not inviting Muslims somewhere. I didn’t hear it exactly and Aziz gave an answer critical of Trump and many in the audience giggled appreciatively. It was a clue about the political leanings of speaker and audience.

The first questions were from women concerning Muslim women driving in Saudi Arabia and wearing head coverings. Aziz offered a short history of women in Islam going back to “The Prophet” as he referred to Muhammed, who lived 1400 years ago. He described a rising patriarchy a few centuries ago and strengthening in 20th century Saudi Arabia.

Up to this point, Azzi answered questions graciously. Then a man asked: “Doesn’t that mean that she’s being ‘sharia compliant’ when she wears the head scarf?”

Azzi’s demeanor changed abruptly. “No!” he said.

A woman asked him to repeat the question and he did, whereupon the questioner said: “…and by the way I have several references in the Koran to where it’s mandatory and also in Muhammed’s Sunna…”

Azzi talked over him saying: “Let’s just take one question at a time, shall we?”

“Well, I wanted to go back to the other question…”

“Well, let me — let me talk about sharia for a minute, all right?” said Azzi, clearly agitated.

“Sure, that would be good,” said the man.

“I think, for example, that a lot of Muslims can lead a more sharia-compliant life the United States than they can in most Muslim majority countries, and that is…” Then he stopped, and said testily to the questioner, “Don’t look so puzzled. Let me finish here.” I recalled his opening assertion that nothing would be off the table and he couldn’t possibly be insulted.

“Sharia is not a body of law,” he claimed.

“But it is a body of law,” the man said. “It was codified in ‘The Reliance of the Traveller’ back in the 14th century.”

Talking over him again and stuttering about Torquemada and the Spanish Inquisition, he raised his voice and said: “Now let me finish!”

“Go ahead,” said the man.

“Sharia in the Koran speaks to justice, and authority, and hospitality, and equity…” Then he stopped again. “I’m not finished!” he yelled, though no one had interrupted. “We have a lot of time here. I’m here for two hours.”

“Umm,” murmured the questioner.

“If you would kindly memorize your questions rather than looking at your tablet…” said Aziz scornfully. The man had an iPad in his lap.

Then he lectured us all, saying Americans’ views are affected by their “privilege” and that Middle Eastern countries were “exploited, marginalized, and colonized by Europeans they’re now trying to recover from.” He cited Ferguson, Baltimore, Denver, and Minneapolis/St. Paul as “our own colonies.”

A woman referred to Iran under the ayatollahs, and young people rising against the totalitarian regime. “I think you need to be very careful there,” said Azzi, then blamed everything on a CIA coup more than half a century ago. My suspicion that Azzi and the audience were left-of-center was strengthened. “…if the [western imposed] burdens were lifted off all these countries equally, Iran was probably the most pro-American country in the Middle East,” he claimed.

Another man said Muslims are encouraged to emulate Muhammed and compared him unfavorably with Jesus Christ citing the former’s multiple wives, sex slaves, and consummation of marriage to a nine-year-old. Then he asked how Aziz could leave Christianity and adopt Muhammed’s religion. Aziz seemed to have regained his composure and answered that difficult question fairly well. He said New Hampshire allowed 14-year-olds to marry until recently, that Muhammed’s life was in a different place in time with different mores, and made other points.

“Why are there so many suicide bombers in the Muslim religion?” asked a woman. 

He paused for several seconds. “[Because] we’ve entered an age of asymmetrical conflict where the marginalized and the disenfranchised don’t have the weapons and tools of resistance that their oppressors have,” he claimed.

It’s all our fault, I guess.

A woman who grew up in the Middle East suggested culture there valued life less than we do. Aziz said that was racist, that she disdained Muslims because they’re not white Jews, or Christians and privileged, and her statement was offensive. Another man who spent years in Afghanistan said he agreed with the woman. The rest of the audience started snapping at them both. Azzi let that go on a while before wrapping it up.

I left thinking the program might better have been called: “Ask a Muslim easy questions.”

Friday, June 08, 2018

Left and Right June 6, 2018

Gino Funicella is back and we discuss several issues:

Can President Trump pardon himself? Tom says probably he can and cites the Constitution which says the president may pardon anyone for anything except in cases of impeachment;

Attorney Micheal Cohen's difficulties; Rosenstein should recuse himself because he's a material witness in the Mueller investigation.

Gino claims Dinesh D'Souza is racist. Tom scoffs at that.

Trump threats about tariffs: Tom says it's an effective way to negotiate. Gino worries about trade war.

Gino asked me about my column on Tommy Robinson, but he wasn't informed on the case. I explain.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

We'll Do The Rest

After spitting in a tube my adult children sent me for Fathers’ Day last year, then mailing it out and waiting six weeks, sent me DNA results. My sputum — or 98% of it at least — matches that of people living today in three regions of Ireland: the Inishowen Peninsula in County Donegal; County Mayo in west/central Ireland; and the southwestern counties of Cork and Kerry.

None of this surprised me. Those DNA findings confirm forty years of research into family origins and three trips to various parts of Ireland, but one thing did puzzle me at first. The McLaughlins I met while traveling in Inishowen told me the Gaelic version of our name — MacLochlainn” translates to “Of the Vikings” so I expected to find DNA traces from Scandinavia. Viking raiders started raping and pillaging the Irish coast during the 9th century, then established settlements in many places over the next 400 years. They founded Dublin itself, so many Irish should have Scandinavian DNA after all that.

Further research into's site explained it. My DNA profile matches people living in those regions of Ireland now — many of whom would likely have Scandinavian ancestors, whereas people living in Denmark, Norway, or Sweden would not tend to have Celtic ancestors from Ireland. The Irish didn’t raid or settle in those colder regions, so my DNA would not match many people now living in those countries.

Most historians agree that Celtic people first settled in Ireland only 2500 years ago — around 500 BC. There were already people living there when the Celts arrived, but historians disagree about who they were or where they might have come from. Some claim they arrived from northern Iberia and I’ve read claims of migration from North Africa, the Fertile Crescent, and what is now Russia going back 5000-8000 years. Recent DNA research at Dublin’s Trinity College offers corroborating evidence for these claims.

After Vikings were assimilated, the British took over large parts of Ireland by the 14th century. Some Irish accepted British conquerors but most continued to resist and were banished westward to rocky hills and bogs “beyond the pale.” The “pale” was line of wooden stakes driven into the ground as a boundary. That now-familiar English phrase has come to mean “outside the bounds of acceptable behavior” and both meanings were applied to my ancestors by British conquerors.

When Oliver Cromwell began his depredations in Ireland around the 1640s, he further banished rebellious Irish “To hell or Connaught.” The latter is in western Ireland “beyond the pale” where most of my forebears lived before emigrating to America beginning in the early 1800s. Some, including the Haggertys and McDonalds, then settled around Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania and worked in the coal mines. They moved north to Boston in the early 20th century, intermarried with the Fitzgeralds and McLaughlins, and begat me.

While all that interests me and I’m still researching ancestors named Sullivan, McQuire, Harrington, Mahoney, Cassidy, and others, I think of myself as 100% American. That’s not an ethnicity; it’s an attitude. It’s an idea for organizing humans to the extent they wish to be organized. To be American is to believe the Constitution is the most brilliant governing document ever written, even if Supreme Court Justice Ruth Ginsburg disagrees.

As an Irishman who calls himself “Bono” said:

“America is an idea, isn’t it… That’s how we see you around the world: as one of the greatest ideas in history… The idea is that you and me are created equal… the idea that life is not meant to be endured but enjoyed, the idea that if we have dignity, if we have justice, then leave it to us; we’ll do the rest. This country [he was speaking at Georgetown University] was the first to claw its way out of darkness and put that on paper. And God love you for it…”

He was referring, of course, to the Declaration of Independence, but the ideas expressed there were soon after codified into our plan for government: the US Constitution. To the extent that we preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution, as so many of have sworn to do, we preserve the idea of America. The Constitution curtails government and confers “liberty and justice for all” — then leaves it to us to do the rest as we see fit.

It’s the idea of America that makes us great. It makes us the kind of country to which so many others want to come. We have many races and ethnicities in America. They’re all welcome so long as they endorse the idea. If not, they shouldn't be allowed in.