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March 2017

The witches’ cauldron of intersectionality : Ruthie Blum

If you’re not an American millennial or university professor, you might be confused by the concept of “intersectionality.” First coined in 1989 by race theorist Kimberle Williams Crenshaw, it has become a left-wing buzzword to define the lumping together of all self-described “oppressed” groups under a single umbrella.

According to proponents of this radical fad — which amounts to an elimination of independent critical thought — not only must a person toe a particular ideological line, but he may never slip, even accidentally, into the realm of nuance or distinction. Someone who supports gay marriage, for example, has to oppose Israeli policy, advocate for government-funded abortions and believe that the free market is evil and climate change is man-made.

Though intersectionality has been around since long before anyone other than a handful of academics had heard of it, it has gradually been infecting political discourse in the United States for decades. Given a huge boost during the Obama years, it moved from obscurity to fame — particularly on campus — to such an extent that it is bandied around by students who would be hard put to spell it. Spending more time on the quad waving placards than in the classroom will do that. And it gives new meaning to the adage, taken from Thomas Gray’s 1742 “Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College,” that ignorance is bliss.

On Wednesday this week, both intersectionality and blissful ignorance were on full display ahead of and during the International Women’s Strike. Ostensibly a cross-country happening for females to show the men who share their bedrooms and boardrooms what a day would be like in the absence of their (our) enormous contributions, the event was actually a mass whine-fest, organized by a Palestinian terrorist and a handful of other extremist feminists whose real goal was to attack the new U.S. president and the State of Israel.

Judging by the lack of aerial photographs illustrating the kind of crowds that had gathered after inauguration day, the public statement fell flat. Most women were too busy earning an honest living and tending to their children to waste a day on a demonstration that has no meaning in a country like America, where women are at liberty to do as they choose and please.

The truly oppressed women of the world would have been raped, stoned, tortured or executed for daring to whisper what their counterparts in the United States shout from the rooftops of Washington and New York. Indeed, had convicted Palestinian terrorist Rasmea Odeh or Palestinian-American, pro-Shariah and polygamy apologist Linda Sarsour — organizers of this week’s event — genuinely cared about their sisters, they would have been calling out the Palestinian Authority, not Israel, for its human rights violations and abuse of women.

But facts are of little interest to the intersectionalists; what matters to them is ideology — the kind they are able to express, promote and legislate in the land of the free and the brave that they love to denounce.

This is not to say that intersectionality enables smooth sailing for its adherents who — as my son says — long ago saw political correctness in their rear-view mirrors. On the contrary, they regularly run into snags when two or more of the ingredients in their witches’ cauldron clash.



Want to hear a joke? Here is the punchline: Bill Clinton gave a talk at the Brookings Institute ….
He went on to say, “…we have to find a way to bring simple, personal decency and trust back to our politics.”

Chelsea Clinton Is Not the Great Democratic Hope The media should stop making the former first daughter out to be more than she is. By Jim Geraghty

Chelsea Clinton is not fascinating. But the repeated insistence that Chelsea Clinton is fascinating . . . is actually rather fascinating. It’s like a giant social experiment, in which everyone who has spent decades building connections to the Clinton political dynasty attempts to make the world see the president’s daughter as someone she isn’t.

Witness the recent insistence that we’re seeing a new side of Chelsea Clinton . . . because she’s tweeting a lot of critical things about President Trump. This is not particularly unusual behavior for a Democrat with a Twitter account. Yet Politico declares that she “lets loose on Twitter” with “a spicy, sarcastic online personality.” CNN concurs that “Chelsea Clinton embraces her Twitter sass.”

Almost every time the younger Clinton opens her mouth, it is treated as inherently newsworthy. Neontaster notices that The Hill has tweeted about her 70 times since the beginning of the year.

Why is Chelsea Clinton news? She’s the scion of America’s most famous Democratic dynasty, sure, but her own accomplishments in public life are meager. When can we stop pretending that hers is a voice worth listening to?

In fact, she’s pretty much the worst possible person to be speaking on behalf of Democrats right now. At a time when one of the preeminent problems in American life is a sense of declining economic opportunity and social mobility, she’s the living embodiment of inherited privilege.

After a few years of attempting to work in consulting and at hedge funds, she concluded she “couldn’t care about money on a fundamental level.” Then, with no experience in television journalism, she had her people call up the networks and set up a bidding war for her services as a correspondent. She made $600,000 per year for part-time work at NBC, generating what the Baltimore Sun’s David Zurawik called “a handful of reports that no self-respecting affiliate in a top 20 market would air.”

She was named an “assistant vice provost” at NYU at age 30. She was picked to give the keynote address at South by Southwest, and honored as one of Glamour magazine’s “Women of the Year.” Now she makes $1,083 per minute speaking to public universities. And almost everything she does is decreed to be extraordinary by a pliant, pro-Clinton media. The New York Times even interviewed her about her favorite books.

U.S. Infrastructure Gets ‘D+’ Grade From Civil Engineers Getting roads, bridges and other structures to a safe, functioning level would cost $4.59 trillion over the next decade, American Society of Civil Engineers says By Cameron McWhirter

American infrastructure has barely maintained a below-standard grade of “D+” over the last four years, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers.

In its “Infrastructure Report Card” issued every four years, the engineering group forecast that it would cost about $4.590 trillion over the next decade to bring the country’s roads, bridges, public schools and ports up to a safe, functioning level, about $2.064 trillion more than what governments and the private sector are ready to spend.

The association, based in Reston, Va., called for infrastructure investment to increase from the current level of about 2.5% of U.S. gross domestic product to 3.5% by 2025.
“When it comes to your infrastructure you should be worried,” said Norma Jean Mattei, 2017 president of ASCE. “President Trump is onto something as he calls for a new program of national rebuilding.”
President Donald Trump has promised to increase infrastructure investment partly as a way to spur job growth. In his recent address to Congress, Mr. Trump said he would propose legislation aimed at generating a $1 trillion investment in U.S. infrastructure, financed through both public and private capital.

Aging infrastructure continues to create problems for communities around the country, from lead pipes contaminating the water supply in Flint, Mich., to U.S. ports struggling to handle larger volumes and a recent crisis at the Oroville Dam in northern California, where heavy rains almost caused a spillway to give way and about 200,000 people had to be evacuated.

The association’s infrastructure team looked at 16 infrastructure categories and found some areas grew worse in the last four years while other areas improved slightly. CONTINUE AT SITE

Trump to Nominate Scott Gottlieb to Lead FDA Doctor has promoted views that in some cases would mean less regulation from the agency By Thomas M. Burton See note please

We cannot have faster approval for new drugs unless we have serious tort reform….pharma companies have to contend with litigations, which, in some cases have no statute of limitations ….rsk
President Donald Trump plans to nominate Scott Gottlieb, a conservative thinker and medical doctor with previous government experience, to run the Food and Drug Administration, the White House said Friday.

Dr. Gottlieb, who has ties to the drug industry, previously served as deputy FDA commissioner under President George W. Bush.

Dr. Gottlieb also is a frequent contributor to The Wall Street Journal opinion pages and a prolific writer on FDA topics. He has promoted provocative views that in some cases would mean less regulation from the nation’s leading medical-products and food-supervisory agency.
His views appear aligned with those of the Trump administration, especially since Dr. Gottlieb generally favors faster product approvals. Mr. Trump has described the FDA product-approval process as “slow and burdensome.”

Dr. Gottlieb supports the core mission of the FDA, and he has long experience with the medical and legal principles he would deal with in the job, which likely would ease his path to Senate confirmation. He is a cancer survivor who is a 1994 graduate of Wesleyan University and holds a 1999 M.D. degree from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.

Dr. Gottlieb wins plaudits from people of different political backgrounds. Kavita Patel, a doctor and former Obama administration official now with the Brookings Institution, said, “I found that even when I would occasionally disagree with him on policy, I appreciated that he would take the time to listen.”

Dr. Gottlieb could bring significant changes to the FDA. He wrote in a recent piece in National Affairs that decisions on new drugs should ultimately be made not by the current group of drug reviewers but by a “central committee that is comprised of the agency’s most senior scientists.” CONTINUE AT SITE

Cuba: 60 Years Later by Alan M. Dershowitz see note please

Really? Did he visit the jails where dissidents are “housed” under appalling conditions? Raul Castro has a “soft spot” for Jews? He and his bro were great pals with Arafat also. Did Dersh, smart litigator that he is, not realize he was being propagandized? Yes another group of the Buena Vista Suckers Club. rsk

I finally made it to Cuba — nearly 60 years after first trying. It was Christmas Vacation during my senior year at Brooklyn College. Five members of Knight House – the poor folks version of a live at home fraternity at my commuter college –decided to visit Havana. Our motives were not entirely pure. Yes, we wanted to see the old City of Havana and its cultural gems. But we had also wanted to participate in its notorious nightlife. We were 20 years old and seeking post-adolescent adventures of the sort we couldn’t experience back in Brooklyn.

We never made it. When we got to the Miami airport for the half-hour, $50 flight, we were greeted by a State Department Travel advisory. It seems like another young man – just a dozen years older than we were – was also trying to get to Havana. He had been trying for several years and finally – on the very day we were departing Miami for Havana — Fidel Castro and his revolutionary army were at the outskirts of the city

Disappointed, we returned to Miami Beach where we had to be satisfied with Jai Alai and crowded beaches. Years later I learned that members of a rival house plan, undeterred by a mere “advisory,” had taken the flight to Havana and partaken of its vices – vices which were soon to end, or be driven underground by Castro’s revolution.

The disappointed young man who didn’t make it to Cuba in 1958 is now an old man, with different tastes and tamer vices, such as an occasional cigar and a Cuba Libra drink. Among my passions now are art and music, and Cuba excels at both. So my wife and I, with three other couples, set out on an age-appropriate adventure as part of a “people-to-people” cultural group. Travelers still need an acceptable “justification” to visit the long-boycotted destination. Mere tourism or the love of beaches won’t do. It has to be cultural, religious, educational or some other broad category of virtuous pursuit. You still can’t go there for the reasons we had in mind back when Castro had kept us involuntarily virtuous.

So we went to visit the studios and houses of Cuban artists — some established, others young and on the way to achieving international recognition. The visits were fascinating, as the artist regaled us with stories of their own experiences with increasing artistic freedom, as Cuban Artists became part of the international art market. This made some of them quite rich, at least as compared with average wages for other occupations including lawyers and doctors.

CNN Stumbles Across a Map of the Swamp Written by: Diana West

CNN has done something no other media have done. They actually found a connection between American Betrayal and Steve Bannon.

Not that this is hard to do. There is a massive queue of stories about American Betrayal at Breitbart under Bannon’s helmsmanship.

These include:

1) A “breaking history” series in five parts that I wrote for Bannon/Breitbart, drawing from American Betrayal’s discoveries.

2) Numerous pieces covering American Betrayal, the controversy (i.e., the disinformation campaign spearheaded by Horowitz and Radosh), as a continuous news beat amid a total news blackout at other conservative media.

3) Op-eds about American Betrayal by David “she should not have written this book” Horowitz, Frank Gaffney, myself, etc.

4) Two lengthy essays co-authored by Vladimir Bukovsky about the book and the controversy — “Why Academics Hate Diana West” and “West’s `American Betrayal’ Will Make History.”

5) My replies to hit pieces at National Review, American Thinker, which I published at Breitbart after these same conservative websites refused to run what I had written.

6) Breitbart also published Chapter 9 of American Betrayal in its entirety!

7) There were so many lies told by Radosh and Horowitz about my book and me, personally, that, on the advice of counsel, I wrote 20,000+ words rebutting all — and Breitbart ran every word in a three-part series, which I later brought out as a book, The Rebuttal: Defending American Betrayal Against the Book-Burners.

There are some related bonuses as well. As a follow-on to his second essay about American Betrayal, Bukovsky would publish the opening chapter of his book, Judgement in Moscow, for the first time in English at Breitbart.

The late M. Stanton Evans, a strong supporter of American Betrayal, would also publish an original essay at Breitbart. It was a project he conceived of during the attacks against my book, so many of which hinged on the continuing slander and belittlement of Joseph Raymond McCarthy, the subject of Stan Evans’ unrivaled expertise. (For instance, I was called “McCarthy on Steroids,” “McCarthy’s heiress” and other terms not meant as endearments.) Indeed, the exciting new kind of research I was able to do in American Betrayal was predicated on my first having read Evans’ trailblazing McCarthy book.

American Betrayal: The Full Interview with Stephen K. Bannon by: Diana West

As noted here, CNN recently “reported” the following:

“Steve Bannon in 2013: Joseph McCarthy was right in crusade against Communist infiltration.”

… Bannon made his comments in July 2013 while interviewing conservative pundit Diane [sic] West about her book “American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation’s Character.”

These statements of facts engender hisses, screams, fainting — but only among media and other fact-proof ideologues. Informed readers will just shake their heads over the hermetically-sealed mindset that kills curiosity and engenders such Pavlovian-prompt reporting.

As in — excerpted from American Betrayal, p. 72

McCarthy, bad.

Communists, good and/or nonexistent.

Anti-Communism, terrible.

Who cares what Venona says, outside of a few academics? Have you left no

sense of decency?

Or, to take a longer excerpt, from pp 229-230.

Left, Good; Right, Bad.

“The people,” good; We, the People, “imperialist.”

Individuals (especially businessmen), greedy.

Hollywood Blacklist, bad.

Hollywood Ten, martyrs (except “squealer” Dmytryk).

Elia Kazan, Judas.

Communists: persecuted freethinkers. Have you left no sense of decency?

McCarthyism: repression.

Mao, expensive decorative art.

Che Guevara, fashion statement.

Ho Chi Minh, agrarian.

Mommy, who’s Ho Chi Minh, and what’s an agrarian?

Khan Job? Khizr Khan claims his ‘travel privileges are being reviewed.’ Michael Cutler

Khizr Khan first rose to national prominence when he verbally attacked Donald Trump during the Democratic National Convention stating that Trump had sacrificed nothing and questioned whether Trump had ever read the Constitution. We will discuss the Constitution at the conclusion of my commentary.

Khan is a Harvard educated lawyer whose son Humayun Khan, a captain in the U.S. Army died in Iraq in 2004. He had graduated from the University of Virginia.

Khizr Khan has accused President Trump of discriminating against Muslims and once again, made headlines when Ramsay Talks, the speakers bureau who purportedly had arranged a speaking engagement in Toronto for Khan, posted a notice that a March 7 speaking event was cancelled blaming a purported notification that his “travel privileges are being reviewed”:

Khizr Khan Event Cancelation:

Late Sunday evening Khizr Khan, an American citizen for over 30 years, was notified that his travel privileges are being reviewed. As a consequence, Mr. Khan will not be traveling to Toronto on March 7th to speak about tolerance, understanding, unity and the rule of law. Very regretfully, Ramsay Talks must cancel its luncheon with Mr. Khan.

Guests will be given full refunds.

Mr. Khan offered his sincere apologies to all those who made plans to attend on March 7th. He said: “This turn of events is not just of deep concern to me but to all omg fellow Americans who cherish our freedom to travel abroad. I have not been given any reason as to why. I am grateful for your support and look forward to visiting Toronto in the near future.

Trump’s Revised Travel Ban is Just One of Many Good Developments in the War against Jihadists This administration is taking a much smarter, tougher approach to terror than the last one did. By David French

It’s hard to see through the thick fog of reckless tweeting and nonstop media outrage, but the good news is out there. The Trump administration is already making several fundamental, positive changes in the war against jihadists, of which its revised travel ban is arguably the least important. Consider these news items:

American forces have launched 40 strikes in the last week against al-Qaeda forces in Yemen. Under the Obama administration, our operational peak in Yemen was 41 strikes in an entire year.

Yesterday, Iraqi forces recaptured a key bridge in Mosul, as they continue to advance deeper into the last remaining ISIS-held areas. This progress comes on the heels of long-awaited and long-overdue changes in the rules of engagement governing American forces in Iraq, which placed American troops closer to the action and streamlined requests for American firepower.

At the same time, after Trump scrapped the Obama administration’s go-slow approach to taking Raqqa, ISIS’s de facto capital in Syria, the Pentagon appears set to recommend a plan that will call for significant American military participation, including special forces, artillery, and attack helicopters.

Finally, the revised travel ban is intelligently targeted, excludes our ally Iraq, and preserves the reasonable virtues of the first ban while eliminating the confusion that led to its arbitrary, cruel, and obviously incompetent implementation. In the wake of news that up to 300 refugees are reportedly under investigation for terror ties, it’s prudent to pause refugee entry for a few months to review our vetting processes. There is no reason for the Trump administration to simply trust that the Obama administration struck the right balance between security and compassion.

To understand the collective importance of these measures, it’s vital to understand the basics of how the terror threat actually manifests itself. All the recent talk of “lone wolves” in many ways exaggerates the threat of the individual while minimizing the importance of terrorist organizations.

There are a few terrorists who are truly self-radicalizing, but dig deeper into any given terror attack and the chances are you’ll find not just warning signs in the form of obvious inspiration from ISIS or other terror attacks, but also actual communication with terrorists abroad. In a brilliant piece of reporting last month, the New York Times’s Rukmini Callimachus detailed ISIS’s direction and enabling of terror attacks abroad from Syria, including attempted attacks on the United States.

In other words, while there might be some tiny number of terrorists who need no inspiration for terror beyond their own readings of the Koran and the Hadith (along with deep rage or a sense of grievance springing from contemporary events), for terrorism to be a significant threat, it needs not just a willing or potentially willing population but also a concrete source of inspiration and direction.