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January 2018

My Say: It is in the pronunciation

When my kids were admonished by my husband, the good cop in family discipline, for using vulgar terms they created their own vocabulary:

Shithole became Shi-thole pronounced like shoal

Ass hole became A-shole again pronounced like shoal

Shithead became Sh-thead pronounced like need.

The meaning of their invectives were the same but sounded better.

As for President Trump’s uncouth language, Roger Kimball- always witty and erudite…points out:

“…..the potency of taboo is still strong in our superficially rational culture. There are some things—quite a few, actually, and the list keeps growing—about which one cannot speak the truth or, in many cases, even raise as a subject for discussion without violating the unspoken pact of liberal sanctimoniousness…….”Uncouth. Crude. But was it untrue?We live in a surreal moment when it becomes ever harder to tell the truth about sensitive subjects. Donald Trump has strutted across our timid landscape like a wrecking ball, telling truths, putting noses out of joint. The toffs will never forgive him, but I suspect the American people have stronger stomachs and are up to the task.” rsk

Anatomy of a Farce Fusion GPS founder’s testimony shows how we got the collusion narrative . . . and why it won’t go away. By Andrew C. McCarthy

Someone with fourth-hand knowledge that the bank was robbed claims that Smith conspired — er, I mean, colluded — with the local organized-crime family to rob the bank. Jones figures it must be true because he heard it from a trusted friend, a former cop — and you know those guys have great sources. Yet, Jones has no concrete evidence that it’s true. In fact, he can’t even prove that the mobsters had anything to do with the robbery, much less that Smith did.

But Jones is an industrious investigative journalist. Long before the bank was robbed, he conducted months of in-depth research and came to a single, unalterable, unassailable conclusion: Smith is a really crappy guy. He is a grade-A louche with mafia business partners and a decades-long record of financial shenanigans that walk the razor’s edge of actionable fraud. Born into wealth, he puts on the airs of the self-made man. When he’s in town, hide the women away. If he says he’ll pay you for a job, get it in writing . . . and make sure he still needs you when it’s time to pay up. Better have a good lawyer on retainer, too, just in case. Smith’s books are undoubtedly cooked, but they’re better hidden than Jimmy Hoffa — and yeah, you can bet he knows something about that, too.

Here’s what totally infuriates Jones, though: Smith seems to skate from debacle to debacle not only unscathed but ever more audacious. If you knew what Jones knows, rather than what the public thinks it knows, you wouldn’t trust Smith to run a 7-Eleven — yet, Smith sees himself as White House material!

Do you feel the frustration, the indignation that Jones feels in our hypothetical? If you do, then you know what it’s like to be Glenn Simpson.

The former Wall Street Journal reporter is a superb investigative journalist. More notoriously these days, he is the founder of Fusion GPS. It was he, in cahoots with his friend and collaborator, former British spy Christopher Steele, who orchestrated the compilation and dissemination of the so-called Steele dossier — the fons et origo of the Trump–Russia collusion narrative. We now know the dossier was covertly commissioned by the Clinton campaign, which dealt with Fusion through a layer of lawyers.

Edward Cranswick The New Nationalist

Before he fell out with his president and was ejected from the White House, and after that from Breitbart News, Steve Bannon was the influence who crystalised and codified Donald Trump’s thinking. Gone he might be from the locus of power, but not, to date, the legacy of his prescription for US renewal.

Bannon: Always the Rebel
by Keith Koffler
Regnery, 2017, 256 pages, US$28.99

In the wake of Donald Trump’s surprise victory in 2016, and Steve Bannon’s subsequent appointment to the position of his chief strategist, media speculation reached a near-hysterical pitch regarding the degree to which Bannon was the puppet master pulling the strings of an apparently dirigible and clueless President. On Saturday Night Live, Bannon was portrayed as the grim reaper and actual President, and Time magazine featured him on its cover with the accompanying title “The Great Manipulator”.

In a matter of months, Bannon had gone from anonymity to political stardom—one of the most recognised (and reviled) figures in American politics.

Since leaving the White House and returning to his post as chairman of Breitbart News — a post he has only recently relenquished under pressure from the site’s financial backers after his dalliance with Fire and Fury author Michael Wolff – Bannon turned his attention back to grassroots political organising, attempting to galvanise (and, moreover, bring into being) the “economic nationalist” base that can support Trump-friendly candidates in the congressional elections of 2018.
This essay appears in the current edition of Quadrant.
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Despite having left his post at the White House, Bannon still exerts a tight grip on the imagination of the political media. He has been lambasted with every imaginable political epithet from the Left (“white nationalist”, “fascist”, “anti-Semite”) and until recently he rarely bothered to dispute any of these labels.

Like Trump, Bannon is a savvy media operator, who realises that notoriety confers its own form of power—something he noted to the Hollywood Reporter’s Wolff in a piece written shortly after he was appointed. Depictions of Bannon as the puppeteer behind Trump may have annoyed the President, and possibly damaged Bannon’s standing in the White House, but they also amplified his image beyond Trump—and outside the White House he is using his newfound celebrity to continue pushing his agenda for a comprehensive remake of US policy, domestically and abroad.

Keith Koffler’s Bannon: Always the Rebel is the first full-scale biography, tracing Bannon’s peripatetic career and elucidating the biographical and intellectual influences that underpin his political philosophy. While largely hagiographical (Koffler is clearly an admirer) the book offers a corrective to the many unhinged assessments of Bannon that have come to dominate the mainstream media. Koffler interviewed many people close to Bannon for the book, allowing for personal perspectives that illuminate his character through the different phases of his career. Koffler also interviewed the man himself for over ten hours, and the book does a fine job of discussing the intellectual influences of an notoriously non-bookish President’s bookish adviser.

Born in 1953 to a working-class family of Irish-Catholic provenance in Richmond, Virginia, Steve Bannon was raised amidst the turmoil of 1960s America, the civil rights movement, and a major realignment of political sympathies between traditional supporters of the Democrats and the Republicans. While the family were pro-Kennedy Democrats, Bannon’s sympathies later turned Republican after what he perceived to be Jimmy Carter’s craven response to the Iran hostage situation of 1979.

Of Home Truths and Shitholes By Roger Kimball

It is curious how close certain seemingly contrary emotions can be. Consider, to take just one example, the feelings of glee and outrage. At first blush, they seem very different. Glee occupies a positive register in the metabolism of human emotions. There is such thing as malicious glee, of course—the German word schadenfreude captures that perfectly. But by and large, I believe, glee is a sunny, allegro emotion.

Outrage, on the contrary, is a dour beast. It glowers. It fulminates. It glories in moral indignation, which it eagerly manufactures whenever it is in short supply.

And it is there, in the manufacture, affectation, the pretense, of moral indignation that that outrage shades in smarmy gleefulness. You can see this in operation right now, today, by the simple expedient of turning to CNN and watching commentator after commentator explode in gleeful outrage over Donald Trump’s alleged comments about the relative desirability of immigrants from countries like Norway, on the one hand, and countries like Haiti, El Salvador, and various apparently unnamed African countries on the other. (I say “alleged” not because I doubt the substance of the report, but simply because the president has disputed some details of the reporting.)

Two questions: Were all those commentators at CNN (and the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other purveyors of sanctimony)—were they more delighted or unhappy about the president’s comment? Think carefully before answering.

Sometimes, the experience of outrage, and its accompanying moral indignation, is essentially a feeling of displeasure—at a wrong done or suffered, an injustice or cruelty observed, etc.

But sometimes, outrage is but a patina of indignation whose chief motive is incontinent delight. Which is it for the talking heads at CNN? Are they genuinely morally offended by the president’s comments? Or are they really absolutely delighted by the opportunity he has given them to say “shithole” over and over again while also running endless chyrons reminding viewers that the president referred to (if he did refer to) Haiti, El Salvador, etc., as “shithole countries” from which we should not seek immigrants?

The Palestinian Terror Party: Celebrating Murder by Bassam Tawil

The Palestinians do not even feel the need to condemn terror attacks against Jews, because the international community is no longer demanding that they come out against terrorism.

Instead of condemning the murder, the Palestinian Authority has been condemning Israel for launching a manhunt for the terrorists…..

Why do the Palestinians not want anyone to call them out? Because they are planning … a new intifada.

What do the Palestinians think about the murder of a young rabbi and father of six? They “welcome” it with open arms.

So what if Rabbi Raziel Shevach was said to have maintained good relations with his Palestinian neighbors?

The Palestinians are still happy that he was gunned down last week as he was driving his car in the northern West Bank. They are happy because the victim was a Jew. They are happy because the victim held a religious position: Rabbi. They are happy because the victim was a “settler.”

The fact that Rabbi Shevach was the father of six children does not faze the Palestinians one bit.

For them, what is important is that another Jew has been murdered. This meant, for the Palestinians, that his presence in the West Bank also carried religious weight. A rabbi living in the West Bank is emblematic of Jews’ historic and religious attachment to the land. For all those reasons, the Palestinians are happy about the murder. Notably, the rabbi’s political affiliation is irrelevant. He could be from the most extreme left-wing or right-wing party in Israel – this still would not make any difference. Rabbi Shevach was not murdered because of his political views.

Germany’s Coalition of the Losing Angela Merkel clings to power with more policy concessions to the left.

Angela Merkel took a big step Friday toward forming a new government at long last, and it’s not a step forward. She’s paying a price for the stability that Germans are said to crave.

Mrs. Merkel has struggled to form a governing coalition since September’s murky election result left her Christian Democratic alliance (CDU/CSU) as the largest bloc in parliament but with a much-diminished plurality. She first tried and failed to form an odd-fellow deal with the free-market Free Democrats (FDP) and urban-leftist Greens. Now she has turned to the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) to form another unlikely Grand Coalition of the sort with which she’s governed for eight of her 12 years in power.

The SPD came reluctantly to the latest coalition talks. After suffering their worst electoral showing since 1949, they rightly concluded voters had punished them for cooperating with Mrs. Merkel instead of offering an alternative. Some had argued the party should enter a new Grand Coalition only if it could drag Mrs. Merkel much further to the left. The SPD rank and file could still tank the latest deal in a party vote later this month if they don’t think it goes far enough.

From that perspective, Friday’s preliminary deal could have been worse. Mrs. Merkel has won permission to offer €10 billion in income-tax relief by phasing out a “solidarity surcharge” originally imposed to rebuild the former East Germany. Both parties also admit Germany won’t meet its ruinously expensive goal of reducing CO2 emissions by 40% below 1990 levels by 2020. They now commit vaguely to hitting that target “as soon as possible.”

Yet most of the rest of the deal consists of bows to the SPD on economics. Rather than more aggressive tax relief, the outline agreement foresees €36 billion in public works and other spending. Mrs. Merkel also will make some pension benefits more generous and shift more of the cost of health insurance to employers from employees. This follows a coalition deal with the SPD four years ago that lowered the retirement age and introduced a minimum wage, among other sops to the left.

Studying Western Civilization in the South Bronx Hostos Community College overcomes students’ resistance to learning about ‘dead white dudes.’ By Jillian Kay Melchior

On her first day of English class at Hostos Community College during the fall 2017 semester, Maria Diaz glared at the reading handout, a Plato excerpt on the trial of Socrates. “I used to be like, ‘Prof, why are we reading this? It’s so boring and confusing,” she recalls. But only months later, Ms. Diaz would gush about the merits of the Western canon, quoting Socrates’ claim that “the unexamined life is not worth living.”

While much of academia continues its progressive and postmodern lurch, these courses at Hostos, first offered in 2016, represent a move in the opposite direction. One of the classes even was designed especially for students who score a “high fail” on their literacy tests. Profs. Andrea Fabrizio and Gregory Marks, along with their colleagues in the English Department, created the courses in collaboration with Columbia University. They borrowed heavily from the Ivy League school’s core curriculum for liberal-arts undergraduates.

So far about 1,300 students at Hostos, which is part of the City University of New York, have taken these Western Civ classes. “We’re trying to make them good writers, good thinkers and ultimately good citizens by talking about these deeply humane questions,” Mr. Marks says.

Studying the classics has become an anomaly on many campuses, as once-foundational texts have come under attack. The faculty at Oregon’s Reed College recently bumped up their decennial review of a required humanities course that student activists claimed was “Eurocentric,” “Caucasoid” and “oppressive.” Yale’s English Department voted in March to change its curriculum after more than 150 students signed a petition claiming “a year spent around a seminar table where the literary contributions of women, people of color and queer folk are absent actively harms all students.” It’s now fathomable that a student could get a Yale English degree without studying Chaucer, Shakespeare or Milton.

And in 2016, Seattle University students held a weekslong sit-in to protest the classical emphasis in the humanities college, ultimately prompting the dean’s departure. One student, Zeena Rivera, complained to reporters that “the only thing they’re teaching us is dead white dudes.”

Based on demographics alone, Hostos Community College might seem like a probable place for similar protests. Hostos is in the South Bronx, in a congressional district that has repeatedly ranked the poorest in the nation. People of color account for more than 98% of the student body. Many are immigrants. In one Western Civ class, the 25 students spoke 10 foreign languages.

Like their counterparts at other colleges, Hostos students are focused on oppression and injustice. During a recent class I sat in on, slavery came up several times, and one student suggested that because of economic disparities and discrimination, “we’re still not really free.” Several students talked about how they suffered from racism and sexism.

“These students’ interest in rights and equality is just burning,” Mr. Marks says. He and Ms. Fabrizio draw on that interest with readings like the Declaration of Independence and excerpts from the Federalist Papers. Students also are given Frederick Douglass’s 1852 Fourth of July oration, which venerates America’s founding principles but notes that they are “flagrantly inconsistent” with slavery. CONTINUE AT SITE

Black Protest Has Lost Its Power Have whites finally found the courage to judge African-Americans fairly by universal standards?By Shelby Steele

The recent protests by black players in the National Football League were rather sad for their fruitlessness. They may point to the end of an era for black America, and for the country generally—an era in which protest has been the primary means of black advancement in American life.

There was a forced and unconvincing solemnity on the faces of these players as they refused to stand for the national anthem. They seemed more dutiful than passionate, as if they were mimicking the courage of earlier black athletes who had protested: Tommie Smith and John Carlos, fists in the air at the 1968 Olympics; Muhammad Ali, fearlessly raging against the Vietnam War; Jackie Robinson, defiantly running the bases in the face of racist taunts. The NFL protesters seemed to hope for a little ennoblement by association.

And protest has long been an ennobling tradition in black American life. From the Montgomery bus boycott to the march on Selma, from lunch-counter sit-ins and Freedom Rides to the 1963 March on Washington, only protest could open the way to freedom and the acknowledgment of full humanity. So it was a high calling in black life. It required great sacrifice and entailed great risk. Martin Luther King Jr. , the archetypal black protester, made his sacrifices, ennobled all of America, and was then shot dead.

For the NFL players there was no real sacrifice, no risk and no achievement. Still, in black America there remains a great reverence for protest. Through protest—especially in the 1950s and ’60s—we, as a people, touched greatness. Protest, not immigration, was our way into the American Dream. Freedom in this country had always been relative to race, and it was black protest that made freedom an absolute.

It is not surprising, then, that these black football players would don the mantle of protest. The surprise was that it didn’t work. They had misread the historic moment. They were not speaking truth to power. Rather, they were figures of pathos, mindlessly loyal to a black identity that had run its course.

What they missed is a simple truth that is both obvious and unutterable: The oppression of black people is over with. This is politically incorrect news, but it is true nonetheless. We blacks are, today, a free people. It is as if freedom sneaked up and caught us by surprise.

MARTHA McSALLY: Why American troops in Afghanistan shouldn’t have to wear headscarves

In 2001, I was an Air Force lieutenant colonel and A-10 fighter pilot stationed in Saudi Arabia, in charge of rescue operations for no-fly enforcement in Iraq and then in Afghanistan. Every time I went off base, I had to follow orders and put on a black Muslim abaya and head scarf. Military officials said this would show “cultural sensitivity” toward conservative Saudi leaders and guarantee “force protection” – this in a nation where women couldn’t drive, vote or dress as they pleased.

To me, the abaya directive, with its different rules for male and female troops and the requirement that I don the garb of a faith not my own, violated the the U.S. constitutional values I pledged to defend and degraded military order and cohesion.

I already had tried for years to get the policy changed. Late in 2001, I sued then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld over the policy. Congress stepped in and approved legislation that prohibited anyone in the military from requiring or encouraging servicewomen to put on abayas in Saudi Arabia or to use taxpayers’ money to buy them.

I remember a discussion with congressmen and staffers about whether the legislation should be broadened to cover military personnel serving in any country. We naively decided that Saudi Arabia posed the worst-case scenario; the military would get Congress’s intent and would not require servicewomen to wear Muslim attire in any mission elsewhere.

Sadly, we were mistaken. Nearly a decade later, some female soldiers serving in Afghanistan are being encouraged to wear headscarves. Some servicewomen have taken off the regulation helmet and worn just the scarf, even when on patrol outside, in their combat uniforms and body armor, M-4s slung over their shoulders.

The more common practice is to wear the scarf under one’s helmet or around the neck, pulling it on as the servicewoman removes her Kevlar helmet upon entering a village or building.

“Within Afghanistan, the donning of a scarf or other type of head covering by our female service members can be done as a sign of respect to the local culture and people they must necessarily interact with,” a senior U.S. military official told me via e-mail. “This can help promote greater trust and a fuller interaction with the local population as well as increased access to persons and places that contribute to mission accomplishment.”

Unlike in Saudi Arabia, this attire is considered optional and at the discretion of “leaders on the ground,” said the official.

However, when a superior tells a military subordinate any practice is optional, the very mention of the practice creates pressure to comply. This is especially true in combat settings, when subordinates must trust their commander’s direction to maximize mission effectiveness and protect lives.

Elections are Coming :McSally Launches Senate Campaign in Heated Arizona Contest By Steve Peoples & Bob Christie

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Arizona Republican Congresswoman Martha McSally called on the national GOP to “grow a pair of ovaries” as she launched her bid for the U.S. Senate on Friday, joining the race to replace retiring GOP Sen. Jeff Flake by embracing President Donald Trump and his outsider playbook in one of the nation’s premier Senate contests.

Like few others, the Arizona election is expected to showcase the feud between the Republican Party’s establishment and its fiery anti-immigration wing in particular — all in a border state that features one of the nation’s largest Hispanic populations.

McSally, a two-term congresswoman already backed by many GOP leaders in Arizona and Washington, described herself as anything but an establishment candidate in a fiery announcement video that touched on border security and Sharia law and featured Trump himself.

“Like our president, I’m tired of PC politicians and their BS excuses,” McSally charged in in the video. “I’m a fighter pilot and I talk like one.”

“That’s why I told Washington Republicans to grow a pair of ovaries and get the job done,” she added. “Now, I am running for the Senate to fight the fights that must be won — on national security, economic security and border security.”

Later in the day, McSally, a retired Air Force colonel and the first female fighter pilot to fly a combat mission, plans to fly herself across Arizona to announce her candidacy before voters in Tucson, Phoenix and Prescott.

The election will test the appeal of the Trump political playbook — which emphasizes the dangers of illegal immigration and demands border security above all else — in a state where nearly 1 in 3 residents is Hispanic and roughly 1 million are eligible to vote, according to the Pew Research Center. Trump won Arizona in 2016 by less than 4 points.

McSally, 51, enters a dynamic Republican primary field that features a nationally celebrated immigration hardliner, 85-year-old former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was pardoned by Trump himself last year after intentionally defying a judge’s order to stop traffic patrols that targeted immigrants. The primary also includes former state Sen. Kelli Ward, an outspoken Trump advocate who was an early favorite of now-disgraced former Trump adviser Steve Bannon.