Chapman’s News & Ideas | Page 14

Have a Hobbit Party for Thanksgiving

The Thanksgiving holiday is a perfect occasion for reading The Hobbit Party by Jonathan Witt and Jay Richards, both of them Discovery fellows. It’s an amusing and sage guide to Tolkien’s philosophy as applied to modern times–to economics, for example. The distinguished Catholic priest/cultural guide, Fr. C. John McCloskey does the book proud in Catholicity.com. .

Ferguson Hysteria

There is a difference between news and hyped-news. The murder charge against a white policeman in Ferguson, MO, like the O.J. trial, the Rodney King arrest and the Travon Martin case in Florida,is an examples of media-induced hysteria. They are the racial equivalent of the death of Princess Diana that for a while transfixed much of the world or the disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines jet. It’s of interest, but the total absorption of the media is owing to ratings, not significance. There are so many truly consequential developments in the world, including the world of American blacks–starting with stunted income and opportunity in a stagnating economy–that it is hard to credit the exaggerated emphasis on one highly equivocal death.

How Hillary Could Win

677px-Msc2012_20120204_408_Clinton_Hillary_Frank_PlittThere’s a widely accepted assumption in the media that Hillary Clinton has to move left in order to consolidate her claim to the 2016 Democratic Presidential nomination. She gave credence to that assumption recently when she burbled fulsome praise for Sen. Elizabeth Warren, probably he most threatening potential rival on the left, and then made some remark about corporations not being responsible for their success.

However, while the left wing of the Democratic Party was her natural home in her early days of Saul Alinsky, Vietnam and Watergate, her most sincere and winning base now is the center of her party. She will get most of the feminist vote, no matter what. Even another woman, like Warren, doesn’t have her unbreakable record.

Plus–labor. The unions are very frustrated with Obama and the way Republicans like Gov. Scott Walker have trounced public employee unions in the states, while the Obama Administration sides with environmentalists on major energy and other economic projects. Unions can make a huge difference in Democratic primaries.

She also will inherit the Obama base among blacks, largely because she had it to begin with in early 2008, until Barrack became a likely winner. She doesn’t need to move left to get their support. Elizabeth Warren or any other likely primary foe (including Joe Biden) lacks her appeal.

And she has huge support on Wall Street, where she is known as the “candidate from Goldman Sachs.” The immense power of Wall Street in the Democratic Party is slowly dawning on the middle class and working people generally (how times change!). Crony capitalism is a certain theme for Republicans. But until the summer of 2016, Clinton could benefit from the backing of Wall Street and Hollywood–and swamp her opponents in fundraising.

Meanwhile, the Republicans have damaged the Democratic brand in many states–such as Appalachia and much of the Middle West–by pro-growth economic policies and hostility to Obama’s hostility to energy development. So Democrats in those states will be looking for someone who can carry the ticket–and it won’t be Elizabeth Warren.

A “Clinton Democrat”, therefore, might well try to “triangulate” (in the old phrase) by advocating for pro-energy policies at the same time as she advocated for “real progress” on alternative fuels. She could argue persuasively (and please her big business/Wall Street friends) by calling for more infrastructure investments–roads and bridges, etc. Indeed, she could please the “builders” and the environmentalists at the same time by calling for a gas tax increase tied exclusively to transportation’s unmet needs. She could call for a buildup of the military, even while pledging to keep the country out of “new wars.” Read More ›

Jews Murdered, But “Extremists” Are on Both Sides?

It is terrible enough that the murder of four rabbis and a policeman at a synagogue in Jerusalem was welcomed with dancing in the streets of Gaza. But the strange coverage in the New York Times by Jodi Rudoren is so disappointing it borders on Orwellian.

We learn “That blood splattered the victims’ prayer shawls and holy books underscored growing indications that extremists on both sides are turning the stalemated battle over territory and identity into a full-throated religious war.” Really, both sides?

When Israelis murder a Palestinian, they are prosecuted. When Palestinians murder Israelis they are praised by Hamas and excused by other Palestinian leaders. Read More ›

Jihadists Linked to “Anonymous” Hacktivists

Intelligence services are connecting “Jihadi John”, the British-accented, black-masked jihadist shown in ISIS videos of beheadings, with Anonymous, the affiliation of hackers attacking Western businesses and government agencies.

The Unity Coalition for Israel has pulled together various strands of a story that at least two prominent Jihadis appearing in ISIS videos are likely known rappers/activists from Britain with a record of provocative hacks into government and personal files, which it then publishes. Their names have not surfaced officially, but UCI provides two of them.

One is Adel-Majed Abdel Bari, probably the “Jihadi John” of the videos who jokes as he cuts off heads of Western captives. Another is Junaid Hussain. Writes the UCI, “Under the alias ‘TriCk,’ Hussain claimed responsibility in 2011 for hacking, among other targets, the Facebook accounts of company cofounder Mark Zuckerberg and former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and for publishing the personal information of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. He was arrested for the computer crimes as a minor, and last year skipped bail over allegations of violent disorder, announcing his plans to flee into the Syrian conflict zone. Read More ›

Canada’s Understandable Slam of Putin

Many diplomats’ eyebrows at the G-20 Summit held in Brisbane probably went up slightly when mild-mannered Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was leader to tell Russia’s Vladimir Putin bluntly to “get out of Ukraine.”

However, it might bear noting that Canada is home to the third largest population of Ukrainians (1.200,000) outside Ukraine itself and Russia. Harper’s slam probably was appreciated by those citizens back home. Read More ›

Hospice: A Place for Compromise

“Do you want a solution or do you want an issue?” That is an old political challenge to the ideologue. Our Sr. Fellow Wesley J. Smith, who coined the term “human exceptionalism”, is a pronounced opponent of assisted suicide. There are proponents who seem to want the “issue” more than any compromise that fails to provide easy access to suicide–which is to say, a choice made under duress.

However, there are people on the side of allowing assisted suicide who are willing to recognize that most ill and hurting people in what may be the end of life mainly want surcease from pain. That is where hospice often comes in. The trouble is, the economic choice is often to continue fighting a disease OR to enter hospice. It is a Hobson’s choice, as Wesley Smith says–with Arthur Caplan of NYU –in this USA Today column. Read More ›

Mia Love: Symbol for GOP’s Challenge in 2016

Mia_Love_by_Gage_Skidmore“Miracles happen,” said venerable Sen. Oren Hatch of Utah, speaking of Republican gains in the Senate Tuesday night, but he might as well have been speaking of the victory of Mia Love as the first black Republican woman to Congress, maybe ever. From lily white Utah, no less.

Love’s win came late in a day full of political news, so its significance may have been lost to mainstream media and even the conservative press. Love, a former small town mayor, is an outspoken conservative, the sort that have to start showing up more often in Republican ranks if that party is to have a chance in elections going forward.

Read More ›