Please, don’t bring a “War on Terror” into the US

a10bb602-0249-4433-b7e8-ac55a0a3eef6New York Times reporter Campbell Robertson elicited one of many reactions to a trio of mass shootings when the journalist talked to a friend of one suspect and the 25-year old described the news as “just another one of those things, just a kick in the teeth.” In the days since a 21-year-old entered a Walmart in El Paso, Texas and killed 22 civilians the spectrum has covered every angle, from exasperation to anger, and inspired renewed calls for “common sense” gun control laws, the range of which deserve a post all their own. When federal authorities announced they are treating attacks on California’s Gilroy Garlic Festival, back-to-school shoppers in Texas and visitors to a Dayton, Ohio entertainment district as acts of terror or investigating the ‘violent ideologies’ of a perpetrator they validated a rising demand to treat white nationalism as domestic terrorism. The El Paso shooter paved the way with a manifesto that described a “Hispanic invasion of Texas” that would “take control of the local and state government” and lead to policy better suited to their presumably unique needs. Continue reading

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August 11, 2019 · 11:00 pm

Is there room between belligerence and guilt on race?

sub-buzz-26397-1553822388-1At the time President Trump launched his tweetstorm aimed at “The Squad” of freshman Democrats it seemed about as significant as a barking dog would be to someone living at the other end of the block. The noise was an unwelcome intrusion, but didn’t seem worth responding to after so many similar outbursts. Then House Democrats passed a resolution condemning the onetime real estate developer’s crude rant. It wasn’t enough that Speaker Nancy Pelosi showed a familiar disregard for protocol when she ignored House rules and launched a personal attack from the floor or that her team overruled a parliamentarian’s decision to keep Pelosi’s remarks on the record after GOP Rep. Doug Collins objected. The California Representative wanted a resolution that would denounce Trump as a racist and force Republicans to sign on or trigger a floor fight. Passing one effectively mapped out half of our bipolar relationship with race in the US and all but guaranteed what followed. Continue reading

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August 6, 2019 · 12:03 am

‘Election Security’ losing to indifferent & zealous

gettyimages-621807874-600x338There’s something about math as a means of communication that starts eyes spinning into a glassy state of incomprehension faster than language or symbols ever could. This disconnect between statistics and personalities that separated the Trump/Russia scandal from other elements of ‘election interference’ for over two years is most likely what prevented news that thousands of emails were stolen from Democrat apparatchiks and as many as 39 state agencies were probed by hackers from breaking through. A recently released report from the Senate Intelligence Committee could change that. The document is one of five volumes expected in the next 30 days and contains two important revelations — that hackers waged a three-year campaign aimed at election infrastructure in all 50 states — while containing no true bombshells. The panel delivered a minor victory to skeptics when it found no evidence hackers were able to change votes or alter data, though it did not suggest that the worst has passed. After reviewing the report Michael Daniel agreed. Continue reading

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August 3, 2019 · 12:32 am

Untold risks await as Democrats drive to impeach

Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) And Members Of The House Judiciary Committee Discuss The Mueller HearingLike much of the US Constitution the grounds for impeachment described in Article II, Section 4 — specifically “high crimes and misdemeanors” — are written in quasi-legal language that belies any future political risk associated with such a vote. It’s doubtful that California Rep. Maxine Waters was the first to lay bare a battle between law and politics when she said her colleagues in the House of Representatives would decide when a violation had occurred and how to proceed. This conflict broke out again when the Special Counsel’s testimony concluded without producing any defining moments, which led a bloc of Democrats supporting impeachment to decide the legal process Robert Mueller represented had run its course and somehow failed. Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler confirmed as much when the New York Representative announced his committee is already conducting an impeachment inquiry inspired by Mueller’s report with support from nearly 100 of his comrades. It’s the wrong move at the wrong time in the wrong place. Continue reading

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July 29, 2019 · 5:24 am

Words fail when they lead to one-sided action

pence-tour-of-migrant-center-shows-men-crowded-in-cagesThere aren’t many stranger birds in the sky than one resulting from the contact between politics and language that created a creature named “collateral damage.” President Trump has inspired a few of his own, including regular use of a clinical term like ‘narcissist’ and repeating “fake news” to the point that the phrase has lost all meaning. It’s no surprise then that continuing troubles at our southern border once described as an ’emergency’ via executive action by this President are brushed off when the flood of migrants doesn’t make the case for a wall. That doesn’t change what the Inspector General found at several detention centers in Texas, something uglier than simple “catch-and-release” migration. The facilities are home to more than 2,500 adolescents and are not providing showers, clean clothes or a hot meal. Adults are not faring any better and neither group is being transferred to the agencies responsible for long-term care. It would be easy to pin this one on a President who was ‘proud’ to shut down the government for ‘border security,’ but is at best an incomplete picture. Continue reading

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July 25, 2019 · 12:52 am

Walking a winding road on Notre Dame rebuild

french-businesses-donate-700m-to-rebuild-notre-dame-cathedralIt wasn’t clear on that night when Notre Dame burned how much the fire would effect witnesses, even when a group of them gathered outside the burning cathedral to sing hymns. News that a rooster resting atop the signature spire had been spared in “an absolute miracle” and the Crown of Thorns and tunic of Saint Louis were saved helped bring the story into some focus. Even as an amateur historian, there are some things I cannot relate to as a resident of a ‘New World’ whose identity is built around our separation from Europe. America’s oldest landmarks do not approach Notre Dame’s vintage and its western states treasures are younger than touchstones like the Statue of Liberty. Orange County Register columnist Doug McIntyre touched on this distance when he looked ahead at a “painstaking restoration” and referred to critics questioning whether money already pledged to restoring the cathedral would be better spent elsewhere. One line stands out now, McIntyre’s assertion that “the past can be the future with intelligent preservation.” Continue reading

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June 26, 2019 · 12:18 am

He quietly led “witch hunt,” walks away an enigma

208197_600William Barr spoke in measured tones when he told Congress that as Attorney General he would release as much of the Special Counsel’s report as allowed by law. That didn’t change when Barr held a press conference before releasing the report and told reporters the conduct Robert Mueller’s team discovered resulted from frustration and anger exacerbated by “relentless speculation in the news media.” Critics on Capitol Hill started attacking the Attorney General, saying he was acting like the President’s defense lawyer. Not quite. What Barr showed in an interview on CBS when he denied that President Trump is “shredding our institutions” and said Democrat’s efforts are “changing the norms” is that he’s a part-time pundit speaking in that same measured tone. Presumably after spending two years in near-total silence while investigating then claiming that the Attorney General’s summary “caused public confusion about critical aspects” of his work Mueller would have a lot to say at the hastily-arranged briefing he hosted on May 29. He didn’t. Continue reading

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June 7, 2019 · 4:51 am