American v British Left

This is a good paragraph from the Zman on the differences between the American and British political Left:

The quest for spiritual egalitarianism in America is a very different thing than the material egalitarianism of Europe. A Jeremy Corbyn has to kit himself out in the garb of the working man in order to be authentically Left. In America, a rich white woman like Elizabeth Warren can lecture us about the poor, from the steps of her mansion, as she is decked out in a designer outfit. The reason is she cares more for the spiritual well-being of the poor than their material condition. She fears the poor are being excluded.

It’s true that the Left in the UK have to conceal their wealth while weeping crocodile tears for the poor, whereas in the US they don’t even bother. France is a curious mix of the two, where multi-millionaire socialists express concerns about material inequality in society.

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Tucker Carlson

Via ZMan I came across this speech by Fox presenter Tucker Carlson which he gave to the International Association of Fire Fighters a few months ago. The first ten minutes are well worth your time, and he makes several points that I’ve made on this here blog over the last year or so.

I like Tucker Carlson, both his political views and presentation style. He is refreshingly honest about the sort of people who inhabit Washington DC and he freely admits that he is very much one of them. His career seems to be soaring – he took over the prime 8pm slot when Bill O’Reilly got the boot – and I hope that, when the ruling classes eventually turn on him and start looking for dirt, they can’t find anything.

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A Tragic Spiral Downwards

A few weeks ago a deranged lunatic murdered two people on a train in Oregon after they interrupted his verbal assault on a Muslim woman and her friend. One of the victims, Ricky Best, was stripped of his wedding ring and backpack as he lay dying by one George Tschaggeny in what was described as a “completely heartless” act by the Portland Police. Tschaggeny was seen stealing the items on CCTV and was later found in a homeless camp wearing the wedding ring.

This Tschaggeny sounds like the sort of man you’d want to drop into a deep hole and forget about, but Samantha Matsumoto, a journalist at The Oregonian, has done some splendid work and written an article which suggests we might want to pause for a moment:

Tschaggeny’s ex-wife remembers, they built a great life together.

[He] introduced her to Australian shepherds, and soon, they had four.

They spent their days hiking, mountain biking and lifting weights. At home, their TV was always tuned to the Western movie channel. Tschaggeny tended to the rose garden in their yard and, every day, he made his wife lunch for work and then dropped her off.

Tschaggeny was honored by police in June 2010 for stopping a bank robber a few months earlier, Portland police spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson said. The robber led police on a car chase, then crashed into a bus at Providence Hospital. The robber ran into a nearby neighborhood.

Tschaggeny, who was in his front yard of his home with another man, Scott Morales, saw the robber with a knife in his hand running from officers. They chased him down and took him to the ground, holding him there until police could arrest him.

The awards ceremony lauded the men’s “courageous and selfless” actions.

So what went wrong?

Tschaggeny started going to a clinic for knee pain he still had from injuries he’d gotten as a child. To help him deal with the pain, his ex-wife said, the clinic prescribed him pills.

“That’s how it all began,” she said.

The change happened slowly. Tschaggeny’s ex-wife noticed he was angry and not interested in their usual activities.

At some point, though his ex-wife isn’t exactly sure when, he began to use heroin.

From there it was all downhill: Tschaggeny became a different person, his marriage failed, and he started getting in trouble with the law. It’s easy to criticise people for getting hooked on drugs, but this guy didn’t set out to become a junkie, he was fighting what sounds like chronic knee pain. And as the article says:

Four in five new heroin users reported they started out abusing prescription pills, according to a 2016 report by the American Society of Addiction Medicine. Many say they turned to heroin because it’s cheaper and easier to obtain than prescription opioids, the report says.

I’ve had a bad back for years which has recently gotten worse (yes, I’ve been to a doctor), and I am trying everything I can to manage the pain without taking pills other than the occasional paracetamol. It’s not bad, easily manageable, but on the days when it flares up I can imagine what it must be like for somebody who must live with intense pain in their joints day in, day out, year after year.

I doubt the poor chap in the story above knew quite how badly heroin would destroy his life, but he obviously thought it worth the risk for few hours without pain. Yes, perhaps he was weak and had other flaws which lead him down this path more easily than others, but still…there but for the grace of God, and all that.

The whole thing is a tragic reminder of how easy it is to slip between the cracks of life, and how hard it is to climb back up. It’s hard to know what to do really, other keep an eye on those around you and help them where you can.

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If May is McClellan, we risk a Sherman

I was wholly unsurprised to see on French TV that another Islamist terror attack had taken place in London last Friday night. As I have said before, London’s mayor Sadiq Khan was absolutely correct when he said such attacks were simply part and parcel of living in a big city. Especially cities where people like Sadiq Khan are in charge.

Coming so soon after the attack in Manchester, in fact so soon that they’d not even managed to hold the pointless tribute concert for the first lot of dead before the second lot were being stacked up, I sense the British public are getting mighty fed up with this. A few attacks ago it was mainly right-wingers who were getting angry, with the lefties all toeing the government line about it being nothing to do with Islam and even if it is it’s our fault and we should light candles instead of do something meaningful. But I noticed after Manchester that the anger is now becoming universal, with even moderate middle class lefties starting to understand that these attacks will become weekly events unless something changes.

Theresa May has obviously gotten wind of this as well, and with an eye on an election which some polls suggest will be closer than she thought and it ever should be, she came out with this:

We cannot and must not pretend that things can continue as they are. Things need to change and they need to change in four important ways.

First, while the recent attacks are not connected by common networks, they are connected in one important sense. They are bound together by the single evil ideology of Islamist extremism that preaches hatred, sows division and promotes sectarianism.

Possibly taking Donald Trump’s lead, May actually used the words “Islamist extremism”. To my knowledge, this is about as close as any western leader bar Trump has come to actually naming the problem. Unfortunately, she then undoes her own statement by saying:

It is an ideology that claims our Western values of freedom, democracy and human rights are incompatible with the religion of Islam. It is an ideology that is a perversion of Islam and a perversion of the truth.

Either Theresa May is an authority on Islam or she is simply parroting the same line every politician wheels out after an Islamist terror attack in the hope she won’t be called racist or upset “moderate” Muslims.

It will only be defeated when we turn people’s minds away from this violence and make them understand that our values – pluralistic British values – are superior to anything offered by the preachers and supporters of hate.

And what values would they be, then? Freedom of speech? Freedom of association? Freedom to offend? Freedom from being totally fucked over by an incompetent state who considers itself infallible? If our own leaders – including Theresa May herself – work overtime to undermine these values, why would even moderate Muslims subscribe to them, let alone the headcases? As I said here:

If our leadership – and I use that term loosely – lacks the conviction to uphold the principles which supposedly define the West, why the hell should we expect Muslims to come out in support of them?

The ruling classes in the west have absolutely no confidence in their own culture, traditions, and institutions to the extent they are actively destroying them in the name of progress – yet they expect foreigners to abandon their own and adopt ours.

Second, we cannot allow this ideology the safe space it needs to breed. Yet that is precisely what the internet, and the big companies that provide internet-based services provide.

Ah right. This is where we get down to it. In order to get lunatic Islamists to adhere to British values we need to spy on the whole population. I expect a badly worded, draconian law will be rushed through parliament handing sweeping new powers to any state body that wants it on the grounds it will only be used in the most extreme cases, and within twelve months it’ll be used to jail a white man with tattoos for posting an offensive football chant on a fansite. If this is Theresa May’s answer to jihadist terror attacks, then she is very much part of the problem.

We need to work with allied democratic governments to reach international agreements that regulate cyberspace to prevent the spread of extremist and terrorism planning. And we need to do everything we can at home to reduce the risks of extremism online.

Cynics among us would say we’d be better off preventing jihadists from claiming asylum in Britain and allowing them to return to war zones to continue the fight.

Yes, that means taking military action to destroy Isis in Iraq and Syria.

Because military action has turned out so well in recent years, hasn’t it? How about we stop letting jihadists in, and deporting/jailing those we already have?

While we have made significant progress in recent years, there is – to be frank – far too much tolerance of extremism in our country. So we need to become far more robust in identifying it and stamping it out across the public sector and across society. That will require some difficult, and often embarrassing, conversations.

You could start by explaining why you did nothing about this as Home Secretary, and instead viewed the ordinary British population as the enemy to be contained. Or is that a bit too embarrassing? And stamping out extremism: that’ll mean more arrests for offensive tweets, then.

But the whole of our country needs to come together to take on this extremism, and we need to live our lives not in a series of separated, segregated communities, but as one truly United Kingdom.

Insofar as I can see a split in the country it is between the ruling elites and everybody else. I repeat: May and her ilk are very much part of the problem.

So in light of what we are learning about the changing threat, we need to review Britain’s counter-terrorism strategy to make sure the police and security services have all the powers they need.

Which will be immediately used to keep ordinary people in line when the next wave of terrorist attacks occur. Does this woman think we’re completely stupid?

And if we need to increase the length of custodial sentences for terrorist-related offences – even apparently less serious offences – that is what we will do.

And the decision to make something a terrorist-related offence will fall to plod. Expect ordinary people to be threatened with twenty years inside for failing to show enough deference to costumed thugs. Meanwhile the jihadists will continue on their merry way.

Everybody needs to go about their lives as they normally would.

Except the ruling classes, who will double their security detail at taxpayers’ expense.

We must come together, we must pull together, and united we will take on and defeat our enemies.

Who’s we, paleface?

The ZMan had a good line on May’s speech:

What was revealed by this speech is that outside of the public eye, the people in charge of Britain have no emotional or moral attachment to the British people. As far as they are concerned, the people are just a burden, whether it is the hyper-violent oogily-boogily people that arrive over the channel or the native Brits.

The whole post is worth a read and, as is often the case with ZMan’s posts, there were several paragraphs I could have chosen to quote.

The bottom line is that, as I have been saying for a while now, the political classes might not be on the side of the jihadists exactly, but they are not on our side either. For all the talk about how we should be grateful to the police for responding to the attacks within 8 minutes and shooting the terrorists dead – and that is impressive – let’s not forget that they’d be just as enthusiastic in doing the same to us if our ruling classes demanded it. These are, after all, the same sort of people who sent a helicopter to a house where a song about Osama bin Laden was being played over a karaoke machine and arrested the occupants. Anyone who thinks police officers, or at least those who pay them, are on the side of the British public will delude themselves only until they step outside the guidelines of approved behaviour.

Theresa May reminds me in a way of George McClellan. The firm favourite of the ruling classes to lead the Union Army in the early stages of the American Civil War, he proved himself to be utterly useless except when it came to dithering and making excuses. Meanwhile the Confederate generals, who both knew how to fight and actually wanted to, ran rings around him. It took more than a year’s worth of defeats, blunders, and missed opportunities before Lincoln had had enough and fired him. Eventually the Union got its act together and employed the likes of William Sherman to ensure the South was not only defeated but utterly crushed, but it took them a while to get there. The point is people like Sherman, and the methods they employed, would never have been considered while the ruling classes preferred people like McClellan. It was only when events forced their hand did they change their minds.

At some point, May and the ruling classes will have to be removed and replaced by somebody willing to do the job of ridding the country of jihadist terror. It would be nice if this could be avoided by May & Co. actually doing the job, but it would also have been nice if McClellan won the war for the Union so people like Sherman didn’t need to get involved. The trouble is, in the case of McClellan there was little doubt that Lincoln wanted to win the war and was on the side of the Union. If only there was such clarity of position among our own ruling classes.

Nevertheless, May’s position is fast becoming untenable. The reason why she will win the election this week is because the position of the alternative candidates – and indeed all the ruling classes – are becoming untenable. Once May is PM next week it is only a matter of time before there is another attack. Cracking down on the internet will not prevent it, and nor will anything else that the ruling classes are threatening the general population with. May will have to answer to an increasingly angry population, and things might get so bad that even Brexit takes a back seat to vans full of jihadists mowing down pedestrians on London’s bridges. I doubt she will have the faintest idea of what to do other than to repeat what she said the other day.

The Americans showed signs of losing faith in their ruling classes by electing Trump, a household name but nevertheless a political outsider who promised to do things differently. Another few terror attacks in the UK and we might see the same over there. I have an inkling that the next prime minister, or perhaps the one after that, will be somebody who few today have ever heard of but won’t be forgotten in a hurry. Eventually, the population is going to insist their own Sherman is handed the task of stopping these attacks, the consequences be damned.

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Wir gegen sie

The BBC has gone all-in for Angela Merkel as Germany prepares for an election in the autumn:

The German chancellor caused a storm this Sunday, particularly in the English-language press and Twittersphere, when she declared: “The era in which we could fully rely on others is over to some extent.”

That this comment should come immediately after the US asked Germany to cough up more for its defence obligations was, if the liberal press is to be believed, purely coincidental.

Mrs Merkel is now on the campaign trail and not at all above injecting some populism into her politics.

President Trump is hugely unpopular among German voters and his failure to commit to the Paris climate accord, at the G7, and to Nato’s Article Five last week angered many Europeans.

I think it speaks volumes about the state of German politics that Trump-bashing is a central platform of all potential candidates. When is Germany going to address some of its own problems, instead of complaining about the US president? Or don’t they think they have any?

Mrs Merkel’s pointed comments about no longer being able to rely fully on allies were delivered to rapturous applause while on the campaign trail in the (conservatively) pumped arena of a Munich beer hall.

If not being able to rely fully on allies is something to cheer, then why the insistence on these alliances and agreements in the first place? If Germany wants to go it alone, nobody is stopping her. Indeed, the issue seems to be Germany’s insistence that the US commits to doing what Europeans want – with them picking up the bill.

Campaign Trail Merkel, as we’ll call her for the moment, is also aware that German voters aren’t just partial to a bit of Trump-thumping – but also to a full-on promotion of Europe.

Liberal Europeans have felt immensely frustrated at the constant Brussels bashing by nationalist politicians over the past couple of years.

Or, put another way, Liberal Europeans are looking to German leaders to promote something an awful lot of their own countrymen don’t like. Apparently this is a healthy state of affairs.

Resentment has built up, too, over Russia seemingly being able to do whatever it wants in Crimea, Syria and the cyber-sphere despite supposed international norms.

Like the shooting down of MA-17? What was the German reaction, again? A barely-audible squeak. Did the likes of BASF and Siemens have anything to do with that, perchance? If Europeans are hoping Germany will confront Putin more than Trump will, they are seriously deluded.

And there’s real anger and fear about Donald Trump the Unpredictable, a man many in Europe judge to be ignorant about world politics, diplomacy and the workings of a democracy.

They said the same about Bush, Jnr. too. Yes, we get it: Europeans prefer Democrat presidents and they think all Republicans are thick rednecks. Americans know this, and are getting a little fed up with it. Hence they are only too delighted to hear Germany isn’t going to be relying on them any more. If I were Trump, the American troops based in Germany would be on their way home already. Bush should have pulled them out years ago.

Germans believe more than ever now that Europe needs be assertive; to stick together and be strong together.

They are feeling more confident, too, with pro-EU, pro-Merkel Emmanuel Macron as French president.

Good for them! Now what does this have to do with Trump?

Enter Chancellor Merkel’s emotive language à la “take back control’, except what she says is “Europe needs to take its fate into its own hands”.

The Bavarian beer hall loved it, as do many Germans, giving Mrs Merkel that edge over her political rivals.

When Brits do this they are deluded Little Englanders. When Germans start bashing foreigners and making assertive, nationalist remarks in Munich beer halls, progressives go all giddy with delight. Perhaps Germany doesn’t have such a chequered history in this area as Britain, or something?

She believes Europe must co-operate more on defence: pooling resources, spending military budgets more intelligently and bolstering itself as much as it can.

But not increasing military budgets to meet Nato commitments.

Britain leaving the EU means the bloc only has one military power left – the French one – and one seat on the UN Security Council.

The French military power? Bwahahahahahahaha!

Nato is now more important than ever for EU safety.

How best to safeguard the alliance than by insulting the American president and those who voted for him?

Chancellor Merkel has been around the political block more than a few times, and she is not now biting the hand that feeds

No? Well, let’s see, shall we?

Donald Trump may not be so sure about Nato, but the US vice-president and the defence secretary say they are fully committed.

Was this before or after Merkel threw her toys out of the pram when the Americans asked her to cough up a bit more?

When Angela Merkel says Europe needs to be take its fate in its own hands, she means keeping transatlantic links open and strong, but being politically, emotionally and – if possible – militarily prepared if it all falls apart.

Presumably this nuance got lost in the original German.

Rather than closing the door on the US, she hopes very much the US isn’t turning its back on Europe.

And with articles like this appearing in Der Spiegel, I’m sure the Americans feel so very appreciated in Germany and are keen to stick around.

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Two decades and still they don’t get it

It’s been twenty years since the US senate effectively rejected the demands of the Kyoto Protocol by the slim margin of 95-0. Amid the wailing and insults that followed, nobody stopped to consider that the proposals “would seriously harm the economy of the United States” and that getting the Americans on board ought to have been a top priority for anyone interested in getting it ratified. Alas, back then everyone thought they could shame and bully the Americans into hobbling their own economy in order to virtue-signal in front of third-world kleptocrats. Turned out they couldn’t.

It seems the lesson is taking some time to learn:

Six world leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the Paris accord, the world’s first comprehensive deal aimed at reducing greenhouse emissions.

However, the US has refused to recommit to the agreement, saying it will make a decision next week.

As I said back in 2005 on my old blog:

In a democracy such as the US, it is not possible to browbeat a president into doing something which is deeply unpopoular with the general population. In tin-pot countries such as Azerbaijan, Congo, Djibouti, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Russia, and Syria, the president can ratify anything he likes, because if he bothers with elections at all, they are mere formalities which simply prove that the incumbent should be in office for life. In short, if the world wants the US to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, they are going to have to make a decent case and sell it to the general population of the United States. (In Europe this has not been necessary, as thanks to the EU, sweeping decisions are made at a lofty and detached level guarded by a phalanx of bureaucratic jargon and overpaid consultants, meaning there is no longer a requirement to gain approval from the ignorant masses.) And in so far as the world has tried to sell Kyoto to the US population, they have failed miserably. Beyond repeating the mantra that the US is the “biggest polluter” and is responsible for the impending armageddon – and hence they must sacrifice their standard of living for the good of mankind – not the world, the UN, or anybody else has made a case at all. When the Yanks question the presented evidence, be it of the problem itself or the suitability of the Kyoto Protocol to address it, they are met not with reasoned argument but by howls of derision, insult, and abuse. This tactic of trying to browbeat the American public into sacrificing anything, as history would have told them, has not worked despite four years of the world’s great and good trying.

Tell me, dear readers, what has changed?

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the discussion on climate change had been “very unsatisfactory”, adding “we have a situation of six against one”.

Poor old Merkel is used to strutting around Europe bullying lesser countries into doing Germany’s bidding, but now she’s come across a country that can’t be shoved around her powers of diplomacy and persuasion are found wanting. The very fact that she’s talking about numerical advantages shows she doesn’t quite understand the power dynamic at play here, and that America’s economic interests are not subject to majority votes cast by a bunch of foreigners who largely detest them.

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The British Retweeting Corporation

Trump ‘shared classified information with Russia’

screams the BBC headline of their main story of the day.

President Donald Trump revealed highly classified information about so-called Islamic State (IS) to Russia’s foreign minister, US media report.

The information, related to the use of laptops on aircraft, came from a partner of the US which had not given permission for it to be shared with Russia, says the Washington Post.

Mr Trump received Sergei Lavrov in the Oval Office last week.

Note that this is all being presented as fact. Not until the sixth paragraph are we told:

But the president has dismissed such allegations as “fake news”.

Which is all we get before the BBC’s expert analyst weighs in with:

The fallout from this story could be enormous and not just because there is a boundless trove of Republican quotes over the past year – directed at Mrs Clinton – about the utmost importance of protecting top-secret information.

There is the Russian connection, of course.

The FBI is currently investigating the Trump campaign for possible ties to Russian interests.

This continues for another four paragraphs. Because rehashing unsubstantiated rumours about Trump’s Russia ties is far more important than telling us what actually happened at the meeting, who was there, and what was supposed to have been said. That comes later:

National Security Adviser HR McMaster told reporters that the story, “as reported”, was “false”.

Some weasel words there for sure, but nonetheless perhaps this could have been given to us earlier?

“The president and foreign minister reviewed a range of common threats to our two countries, including threats to civil aviation,” he said.

“At no time – at no time – were intelligence sources or methods discussed. And the president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known. ”

In a statement, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson echoed the point that “the nature of specific threats were discussed, but they did not discuss sources, methods or military operations”.

In other words, the BBC’s headline – presenting one side of the story as fact – is deliberately misleading.

The Washington Post, which first broke the story, said this did not amount to a denial.

And the spin cycle continues.

The point of this post is not to highlight any anti-Trump bias at the BBC, nor even speculate as to why such endless ‘scandals’ are of interest to British licence-fee payers: I’ve gone over this ground before. It is more to say that, since I’ve been on Twitter, I have noticed that the BBC’s anti-Trumps stories are simply lifted directly from social media, reformatted, and presented as their own reporting. There is absolutely nothing in this latest BBC article which I did not glean from browsing Twitter over my cornflakes this morning. They have offered no added value whatsoever in their headline story.

There is an argument that they are bringing the story to a wider audience who might not use Twitter, but this will rapidly weaken as time goes by and the young folk shun traditional media sources altogether. And also, as I’ve said, why are the British interested in this – especially as headline news?

The credibility of the Washington Post was in tatters long before it broke this ‘story’, and most people on Twitter see this as one lot of bumbling bullshitters making an accusation against another and normal people wishing both sides would stop acting like fucking children and start doing their actual jobs. I find myself wishing the BBC would do the same. Fat chance.

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Four Stories for a Saturday

Four completely unrelated stories caught my attention today.

The first:

Michelle Obama has launched a fierce defence of the healthy eating initiatives she championed as first lady.

In thinly-veiled criticism of the policies of the new administration, Mrs Obama told the audience: “This is where you really have to look at motives, you know.

“You have to stop and think, why don’t you want our kids to have good food at school? What is wrong with you? And why is that a partisan issue? Why would that be political? What is going on?”

You know, perhaps American parents don’t want to be told what to feed their children, adopting the rather old-fashioned view that maybe they are best placed to decide? And perhaps they don’t like being lectured by a woman whose sole reason for anyone knowing her name is that she happened to be the wife of a president whose policies were soundly rejected at the last election. Would it have been too much to ask that she maintain a dignified silence once her husband left office?

While in the White House, Mrs Obama championed the “Let’s Move” campaign, which encourages exercise and healthy eating among young people.

She being uniquely positioned to decide what constitutes healthy eating for millions of people, of course.

The second:

At least 20 people have died after a tourist bus fell from a cliff near the southern Turkey seaside resort of Marmaris.

Another 11 were injured when the driver lost control of the minibus and ploughed through a crash barrier.

Local media said no foreign tourists were among the passengers.

About 40 people were on board, according to Amric Cicek, governor of Mugla province, who suggested the brakes may have stopped working.

But the mayor of Marmaris, Ali Acar, told Turkish newspaper Hurriyet: “I think that the accident was a result of driver error.”

This is a reminder that, for all of Turkey’s recent economic growth and the emergence of a decent airline, its roads remain dangerous places. The government really ought to do something about this, if it can find time.

The third:

Prime Minister of Canada and internet darling Justin Trudeau has shown the rest of the world’s leaders how to do publicity once again – by bringing his three-year-old to the office.

Of course, it’s not the first time the 45-year-old internet-savvy politician has caught global attention.

The liberal politician has been applauded by his supporters for supporting Syrian refugees, marching at a gay pride parade, and openly declaring himself a feminist.

Naturally, the BBC fails to realise that these antics are precisely why much of the world think him a laughing stock.

“So precious … I’m old enough to remember seeing photos released of you and your dad [former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau] when you were little,” one Facebook commenter volunteered.

Would that be the one where he’s being held by family hero Fidel Castro?

If only we were able to get the view on Trudeau from Cuban Facebook commenters.

The fourth:

A Mexican businesswoman who headed a group of 600 families searching for their disappeared relatives has been killed.

Miriam Rodríguez Martínez was shot in her home in the town of San Fernando in Tamaulipas state.

She was known for successfully investigating the kidnap and murder of her daughter by a local drug cartel, the Zetas.

The information she gave the police ensured the gang members were jailed.

A brave, brave woman indeed.

The group she established was part of a wider trend which mushroomed after the October 2014 disappearance of 43 students from Ayotzinapa in the southwestern state of Guerrero.

Frustrated by a lack of government help, groups of families began their own searches for people who had disappeared in their areas, taking courses in forensic anthropology, archaeology, law, buying caving equipment and becoming experts in identifying graves and bones.

There are now at least 13 of these groups across the country.

One of the points overlooked by those who oppose Trump’s immigration policies is that the current practice of allowing Mexicans to move to the USA and remit monies back home is that it drastically reduces the pressure on the ruling elites to sort the place out. The USA acts as the safety valve for Mexican governmental fecklessness, and short of an incentive to do anything other than keep themselves wealthy and protected, the country is rapidly becoming a failed state. The fact that relatives of murdered citizens have had to form their own forensic teams because the police can’t or won’t do the job shows just how bad things have got. When the Mexican government started squawking about the wall, Trump should have slapped their president around the face with a strong right hand (or perhaps got Mattis to do it) and put these feckless parasites firmly in their place. Although there is the argument that American drug laws is what has created this situation, but if that’s the case then let’s hear the Mexicans make it.

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Trump is presiding over a complete mess

I confess I haven’t followed the stories closely enough to know what Comey said or didn’t say, why Flynn was fired by Obama and re-hired by Trump, who Sally Yates is and what Steve Bannon’s role really was. But what is abundantly clear is that the White House administration under Trump is an absolute clusterfuck.

With the sacking of Comey the screeching from the media and Democrats (but I repeat myself) is at a pitch which I fear may soon be only audible to dogs. Most of it is in relation to Trump’s supposed Russia connections, a story which won’t die because Trump’s opponents know it’s all they have. Yet nobody has produced any evidence of collusion between Trump’s lot and Putin’s lot, nobody has proof that it was the Russians (or indeed anybody) who hacked the DNC’s servers, and every new outrage on Twitter which renews calls for Trump’s impeachment disappears as quickly as it arrives.

It is somewhat annoying that even smart people like Ben Shapiro lend credence to the Russia thing: it is bollocks, and it always was. Putin, being Russian and therefore denied any hand in the victimhood poker game, is a useful bogeyman on which to blame everything from Trump to Brexit. Even the emergence of papers allegedly showing Macron to be less than squeaky clean was blamed on Trump, and there is no shortage of prominent figures – even those who should know better – who believe it.

But Trump has not helped himself, and if his opponents weren’t so busy shrieking about the End Of Days every time Trump so much as sneezes, they would have plenty to criticise. His “repeal” of Obamacare is a complete fudge which will do nothing to solve America’s healthcare problems. He’s flailing about on the Wall. He flipped on Middle East intervention by firing missiles at Syria, and now he’s arming Kurds. He seems to be dealing rather well with China, less so with Iran. His policies are all over the place, and the fact that he has no experience in politics is now painfully obvious. He isn’t playing 3D chess like some sort of Machiavellian  genius, he’s simply out of his depth.

But the worst part is his organisational skills. For somebody who carries a reputation as being a skilled businessman and negotiator, his administration seems to be lurching all over the place with all manner of intrigues and speculation as to who is really in charge of what. I don’t see any problem with Ivanka taking on the ceremonial role of first lady if Melania doesn’t want it, meeting the wives of other heads of state and chatting about kids, schools, and dresses. But to involve her in policy? Give her an office? What is this, Africa? And what the hell is Ivanka’s husband doing in the mix?

There seems to be no clear hierarchy, no discipline, no organisation. What is most depressing is the influence of James Mattis and Rex Tillerson – both of whom ought to impose precisely those attributes on the administration – is thus far non-existent. This petty infighting, squabbling, poorly executed sackings, and outbursts would never have been tolerated around Mattis or Tillerson in their previous roles.

Trump himself has to carry the blame for this. He should have learned by now to ignore the media and stop going on Twitter. It wouldn’t be so bad if he was actually saying things that were true, but taking to Twitter to praise the mess that is the AHCA just makes him look like the rank amateur that he is. Trump is making the same “overgaming” mistake Milo did, and I wrote about here: he’s used shock tactics to get where he wanted to, but now he’s there he needs to quit with the attention-seeking and knuckle down to the serious stuff. Trump needs to stop campaigning and start governing only, like Obama before him, he seems incapable of doing so. If things keep going like this we’re going to see the likes of Mattis and Tillerson resign in frustration to be replaced by compliant nobodies, and the entire administration turn into something resembling a reality TV show.

It is tempting to blame the media and unreasonable Democrats, and they do have a lot to answer for, but the man in charge is Donald Trump and he is clearly not up to the job. I suspect he will leave office having achieved only one thing of note, which in fairness is the most important of them all: he kept Hillary Clinton out of the White House.

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The US to arm the Kurds

From the BBC:

US President Donald Trump has approved supplying weapons to Kurdish forces fighting so-called Islamic State (IS) in Syria, the Pentagon says.

Well, why not? They seem to be the only bunch out there that don’t completely hate us. If we’re going to insist on giving people weapons, might as well be the Kurds.

The US was “keenly aware” of Turkey’s concerns about such a move, she said.

Turkey views the Kurdish rebels as terrorists and wants to stop them taking more territory in Syria.

Turkey? Presumably they mean the nation whose president recently said:

“If Europe continues this way, no European in any part of the world can walk safely on the streets.”

And whose interior minister said:

“If you want, we could open the way for 15,000 refugees that we don’t send each month and blow the mind of Europe”

And the same Turkey whose pro-government newspapers say things like this:

President Erdoğan is totally right to compare the situation to a struggle between the cross and the crescent. And so is Minister Çavuşoğlu arguing that holy wars will soon begin in Europe. The refusal by the West to accept the equality of Muslims and Muslim nations is the sign of a clash of civilizations.

If you have decided to clench your fists, you are getting ready for a fight; if you hit, you will be hit back.

President Erdoğan and other government officials are raising their voices since Western governments have aggrieved Turks and Muslims.

Turks are warning one last time. They are asking: “Are you aware that you are playing with fire? What on earth is going on? Are you insane?” The rest is up to the Western governments.

Turkey has chosen sides, nailing its colours firmly to the mast. And now the US is arming its enemies.

Pentagon sources told the BBC that the equipment would include ammunition, small arms, machine guns, heavy machine guns, construction equipment such as bulldozers and armoured vehicles.

And if the threats keep up, maybe a MANPAD or two. Over to you, President Erdoğan.

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