Stop this foolish war on meat! Eating it could help save the planet
Last night, I ate a steak. Very good it was too. A plump, exquisitely marbled slab of sirloin, beautifully seasoned and cooked blushing pink. It had come from Martin Player, a proper Cardiff butcher, who takes his meat, as well as the animal’s welfare, very seriously indeed. Just like any other decent butcher.
Grass-fed, fully traceable and properly hung, it was a paean to not just fine flavour, but first- class farming practice too. Sensible, sustainable agriculture, where the welfare of the animal is every bit as important as its impact upon the environment.
Yet this magnificent piece of beef is no longer mere dinner. Instead it has become a pawn in the gathering war on meat: a hysterical, ill-informed, one-size-fits-all assault that demonises farmers, butchers and consumers alike. A weapon, if you like, of grass destruction.
Take the decision made by the University of Cambridge catering service to remove beef and lamb from its menus to cut food-related carbon emissions. The head of the service, Nick White, claimed this was because ‘sustainability is extremely important to our students and staff’ and scientists have claimed beef and lamb produce most farm greenhouse gasses.
A few weeks back, beef was also banned from the cafeteria of Goldsmiths College in London for the same reason, to ‘drastically’ cut its carbon footprint.
But the concerns are not only environmental. I have little time for witless attacks on vegans or vegetarians but there is undoubtedly a creeping spread of anti-meat militancy. This week it emerged the vice-chairman of the RSPCA – a vegan and co-founder of Animal Rebellion, an offshoot of the Extinction Rebellion environmental movement – was forced to step down after calling on animal rights protesters to shut down Smithfield meat market in London.
Jane Tredgett, 52, was in charge of training activists in ‘non-violent direct action’, while the group has compared its efforts to the struggles faced by Martin Luther King and the Suffragettes. Seriously.
Each week seems to bring a new threat or outrage, with meat-eaters being turned into social pariahs. Michael Mansfield, QC, a man who should know better, last week suggested that eating meat should be made illegal, with offenders thrown into jail. And he’s not alone in his extreme (and publicity-seeking) views.
Christiana Figueres, former Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, declared that meat-eaters should be treated like smokers and be made to sit outside restaurants. Because meat is ‘bad for the planet and our health’.
What next? Could meat become illegal, butchers forced to deal black pudding and chipolatas in back alleys and pub loos? Custodial sentences for eating chops? Life for a leg of lamb? Should we be eating meat at all?
The arguments against meat are so widespread, it’s no wonder they seem overwhelming. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has declared that we must drastically cut our meat consumption to save the planet. We must shift towards ‘healthy and sustainable’ diets ‘based on coarse grains, pulses and vegetables, and nuts and seeds’. The EAT-Lancet Commission, set up to look at how the world’s growing population can eat healthy, sustainable food, goes further still. Over three years, 37 scientists came up with the ultimate ‘plant-focused’ diet ‘for planetary health’. They argue this diet, which contains virtually no meat, would ‘transform’ the planet’s future. Under it we’re ‘allowed’ no more than one serving of red meat, a couple of servings of fish and an egg or two. Per week.
It’s an argument that meat is bad, plants are good. But not everything is quite so black and white. Far from it.
Many of the militants’ reasons for ditching meat are, in fact, completely misleading. Because properly farmed meat is not only entirely sustainable, but good for the environment and economy too. We should be celebrating good farming practice, not condemning it. There’s no doubt that there are some completely legitimate concerns about food production. Not all chickens, for example, are raised equally. On the one hand, you have an old-fashioned free-range chicken, allowed to scratch and peck outside. Slow growing, traditional breeds, bred for flavour. On the other, the wretched intensively farmed bird, which is crammed into vast, stinking sheds, with no more space than an A4 sheet of paper. Profit, not welfare, is its producer’s only concern.
The same goes for intensively farmed pigs, raised in cruelly confined squalor. We should be saving our ire and ammunition to rail against this factory farming. The long-term cost of intensively farmed meat is ruinously expensive, both for our health and for the environment. It follows, then, that the best quality meat will always be more expensive than the cheap, imported stuff. British farming standards are among the highest in the world, yet another reason to buy British meat.
And it’s important to recognise that, despite all the hand-wringing about carbon emissions, livestock production can actually be good for the environment.
Grassland absorbs carbon dioxide, reducing the amount of carbon that is released into the atmosphere. Two-thirds of the UK is still made up of grassland, and it is essential it remains that way to preserve the carbon in the soil. At the moment, traditional grass-fed cattle and sheep, kept at a low density, are helping to maintain that status quo. But if we reduce the demand for these animals in the food chain, then this delicate balance is bound to change.
We’re also reminded frequently about all the methane produced by cows and other ruminants. So doesn’t that damage the environment? There’s an immense difference between the emissions of the grain-fed cattle in American super lots and sustainably farmed, grass-fed British cattle. Patrick Holden, CEO of The Sustainable Food Trust, explains: ‘The methane emissions from those ruminants are offset by the carbon gain in the soil.’
He also points out that, to be useful for agriculture, arable land must go through a ‘fertility building phase’ lasting three or four years which involves it – by necessity – being grazed with animals such as cows and sheep. Lose those animals, the message is, and we lose that ability to keep our farmland versatile and healthy.
Also – and more controversially – does that mean you should eat MORE beef to save the planet?
‘Yes!’ comes the emphatic response from Holden. ‘Traditional grass-fed beef and lamb can help maintain the soil carbon bank.’
For years, I’ve believed the mantra of eat less meat, but eat better. It’s certainly a good starting point. There have already been huge changes to our diets in the past 100 years. At the start of the 20th Century, Holden points out, 80 per cent of our dietary fats came from animal sources, and only 20 per cent from plants. Today, it’s the other way around.
The surprising – and often overlooked – fact is this: the production of many of those plant fats can be just as environmentally unsound as those vast US intensive farming lots. According to Frédéric Leroy, a professor in food science and biotechnology at the VUB university in Brussels, a shift from animal products to ‘plant-based’ scenarios could make things worse.
They may have vast implications that will generate their own sets of serious concerns, including limiting the land’s ability to grow more than one crop, depleting top soil, using more fertilisers, the potential for nutritional deficiencies and the disturbance of ecosystems,’ Prof Leroy argues.
As far as methane emissions are concerned, he continues, they are real but need to be put in perspective. ‘If a Westerner goes vegetarian or vegan, this leads to only about a two to six per cent drop in their carbon footprint, which is far from being the best thing one can do for the planet.’
There are other, far more effective, ways to reduce carbon emissions – by reducing our reliance on air travel, for example.
Farmer and butcher Peter Hannan agrees. ‘Compared to our appetite for air travel alone, my beef farming pales into insignificance.’
What about the rest of us, then; the responsible meat lovers, caught in the scientific and moral crossfire? Is it really necessary for vegan activists to spray fake blood around McDonald’s? Or harangue and bully butchers and farmers – even Waitrose – in real life and on social media?
Of course not. Whatever happened to decency, common sense, and the ability to listen to both sides of a debate? It is possible to eat meat and have the utmost respect for vegans and vegetarians too. In fact, a couple of meat-free days a week is eminently sensible. So buy British, and the best you can afford. Trust in your butcher. And experiment with more unusual cuts too. Eat good meat and save the planet. Now THAT really is a radical idea.
California shocked to find bill decriminalizing retail theft resulted in… more retail theft
This is typical Leftist refusal to look ahead
A few years ago, California passed one in a series of bills aimed at emptying the jails and prisons. Proposition 47 carried the disingenuous name of “the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act and its stated purpose was to keep non-violent offenders out of jail. To achieve this goal, the state decriminalized a number of lesser offenses, including retail theft. The law raised the value of the amount of merchandise someone could steal while still only being charged with a misdemeanor to nearly one thousand dollars.
To the great surprise of the government, people noticed this change and began taking advantage of it. They have now recorded multiple years of steadily increasing, organized robbery. These plots are known as “mass grab and dash” thefts and they generally involve large numbers of young people all entering a store at the same time, grabbing armfuls of merchandise and dashing back out to their vehicles and hitting the highway. Not only are robberies on the rise, but arrests and prosecutions are down. Who could possibly have predicted this? (CBS Sacramento)
After searching police reports and arrest records, CBS13 found that while the rate of these grab and dash crimes is on the rise, the rate of arrest is down. We turned to law enforcement and the retail industry for answers. Both blame a California law intended to make “neighborhoods safe.”
“It’s a boldness like we’re seeing never before and just a disregard for fellow human beings,” said Lieutenant Mark Donaldson, Vacaville PD.
He explained these crimes have evolved into more than just shoplifting. It’s organized retail theft and he says it’s happening across the state. Cities like Vacaville, with outlets and shopping centers located near major freeways, tend to be a target for these organized retail crime rings.
Nobody is seriously contesting the numbers. The local and state police organizations blame prop 47. FBI crime data supports the contention. Retail sales organizations have tracked this trend and agree.
This is a trend that’s been building in a number of blue states and now it seems that the petty crime chickens are coming home to roost. The fact is that there are always going to be a certain number of people who will be willing to break the law if they don’t feel the risk of significant punishment is too high. An understanding of this fundamental principle is why the “broken windows” policies enacted in New York City and other municipalities in the 90s were so effective. If you crack down on even smaller crimes, you lower crime rates overall.
Sadly, liberal elected officials paint a picture of racism and inequity behind effective law enforcement initiatives. The people committing these thefts frequently end up being young black and Hispanic robbers because they are more likely to come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. This leads to laws like prop 47 hoping to keep more of them out of the “school to prison pipeline.”
But when you make it easier and less risky to steal larger amounts of goods, people will steal more merchandise. Did it really take a rocket scientist to figure this out? California basically incentivized crime and potential criminals answered the call. And since many of them were only getting the equivalent of a parking ticket for stealing 900 dollars worth of goods, police frequently didn’t expend much energy trying to catch them.
The ball’s in your court, California. Do you plan on doing something about this? Or will you essentially just legalize theft and tell the retailers that they’re on their own?
Once Again, Progressive Anti-Christian Bigotry Carries a Steep Legal Cost
Masterpiece Cakeshop continues to pay religious-liberty dividends.
Last summer, in the days after the Supreme Court decided Masterpiece Cakeshop on the narrow grounds that Colorado had violated Jack Phillips’s religious-liberty rights by specifically disparaging his religious beliefs, a bit of a skirmish broke out among conservative lawyers. How important was the ruling? Did it have any lasting precedential effect?
For those who don’t recall, the Supreme Court ruled for Phillips in large part because a commissioner of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission called Phillips’s claim that he enjoyed a religious-freedom right not to be forced to design a custom cake for a gay wedding a “despicable piece of rhetoric.” The commissioner also denigrated religious-liberty arguments as being used to justify slavery and the Holocaust.
While all agreed that it would have been preferable had the court simply ruled that creative professionals could not be required to produce art that conflicted with their sincerely held beliefs, the question was whether Justice Anthony Kennedy’s strong condemnation of anti-religious bigotry would resonate beyond the specific facts of the case. For example, what would happen if, in a different case, state officials called faithful Christians who seek to protect the religious freedom of Catholic adoption agencies “hate-mongers”?
In the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan, it turns out that such rhetoric has cost the state a crucial court ruling, granted a Catholic adoption agency a vital victory, and demonstrated — once again — that anti-religious bigotry can (and should) carry substantial legal costs.
The case is called Buck v. Gordon. My friends at Becket represent St. Vincent Catholic Charities, a former foster child, and the adoptive parents of five special-needs kids. The facts are relatively complicated, but here’s the short version: St. Vincent upholds Catholic teaching by referring same-sex and unmarried families who seek foster and adoption recommendations and endorsements to agencies that have no objection to providing those services. There is no evidence that St. Vincent has prevented any legally qualified family from adopting or fostering a child. In fact, same-sex couples “certified through different agencies” have been able to adopt children in St. Vincent’s care.
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In 2015 the state of Michigan passed a statute specifically designed to protect the religious liberty of private, religious adoption agencies. In 2018, however, Dana Nessel, a Democratic attorney general, took office. During her campaign, she declared that she would not defend the 2015 law in court, stating that its “only purpose” was “discriminatory animus.” She also described proponents of the law as “hate-mongers,” and the court noted that she believed proponents of the law “disliked gay people more than they cared about the constitution.”
Then, in 2019, the attorney general reached a legal settlement in pending litigation with the ACLU that essentially gutted the Michigan law, implementing a definitive requirement that religious agencies provide recommendations and endorsement to same-sex couples and banning referrals. The plaintiffs sued, seeking to enjoin the relevant terms of the settlement, and yesterday Judge Robert Jonker (a Bush appointee) granted their motion for a preliminary injunction.
His reasoning was simple. There was ample evidence from the record that the state of Michigan reversed its policy protecting religious freedom because it was motivated by hostility to the plaintiffs’ faith. Because Michigan’s targeted St. Vincent’s faith, its 2019 settlement agreement couldn’t be truly considered a “neutral” law of “general applicability” that would grant the state a high degree of deference in enforcement.
Instead, the state’s targeting led to strict scrutiny. Here’s Judge Jonker:
Defendant Nessel made St. Vincent’s belief and practice a campaign issue by calling it hate. She made the 2015 statute a campaign issue by contending that the only purpose of the statute is discriminatory animus. After Defendant Nessel took office, the State pivoted 180 degrees. . . . The State also threatened to terminate its contracts with St. Vincent. The Summary Statement’s conclusion – that if an agency accepts even one MDHHS child referral for case management or adoption services, the agency forfeits completely the right to refer new parental applicants to other agencies based on its sincerely held religious beliefs – is at odds with the language of the contracts, with the 2015 law, and with established State practice. Moreover, it actually undermines the State’s stated goals of preventing discriminatory conduct and maximizing available placements for children.
The last point is key. As stated above, there was no evidence that St. Vincent prevented any qualified couple from adopting. In fact, if the state forced St. Vincent’s to choose between upholding the teachings of its faith or maintaining its contractual relationship with the state, then it risked shrinking the available foster or adoption options in the state of Michigan. The state demonstrated that it was more interested in taking punitive action against people of faith than it was in maintaining broader access to foster and adoption services for its most vulnerable citizens.
The judge rightly called the state’s actions a “targeted attack on a sincerely held religious belief.” Once again, Masterpiece Cakeshop pays religious-liberty dividends. Once again, a court declares — in no uncertain terms — that in the conflict between private faith and public bigotry, religious liberty will prevail.
That seems to be the Queensland Labor government's position
FOR almost 60 years, the State Government's shark control program has been making Queensland beaches safer. The program has been one of very few public policies to have endured for such a time while remaining blessedly free from the foibles of partisan politics.
The reason for this has been simple. Who would dare argue with the results? From 1915 to 1962 there were 36 recorded cases of shark attacks in Queensland. These resulted in 19 deaths. But since the dragnet of baited drumlines was introduced in 1962, there's been only one fatal shark attack at a protected Queensland beach.
Little wonder the program has been gradually expanded. However, the program finally found a naysayer in the shape of fringe environmental group, the Humane Society. And inexplicably, the Federal Court has agreed with the group's view that the drumlines do little to protect swimmers.
How the court came to such a view simply beggars belief. Surely, they only had to look at the statistics of recent attacks in northern NSW where there are no permanent drumlines to realise how effective the Queensland program is? What was required here was a bipartisan approach and a plan to ensure swimmers were protected
The court's decision was clearly out of step with public sentiment and requires the politicians who've supported the program to fix it. Given the long history of bipartisan support, not to mention the implications for. Queensland's tourism industry, you'd like to think it would be a relatively quick fix.
However, what has ensued instead has been an unedifying display of pointless political point scoring that has done nothing but advertise to the world that some of the Sunshine State's most famous northern beaches are less safe now than they were a few weeks ago.
Much of the controversy has centred around the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries' decision to remove 160 drumlines from within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The court's decision only related to the marine park zone and that's why the department only removed drumlines in this area.
Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley has been particularly vocal. She's accused the Palaszczuk Government of choosing "public alarm over personal safety" by removing the drumlines when the court only said caught sharks should not be killed.
"Queensland should reinstate the existing drum lines, while increasing surveillance and exploring modern complementary technologies such as drones, smart drum lines and tags," she said.
There's ample reason for Ley to be sceptical about the Palaszczuk Government's motives in ordering the removal of the drumlines within hours of the court ruling. After all, the administration isn't exactly known for doing anything at pace.
And the States handling of last year's Cid Harbour shark attacks —when it first said drumlines were the answer but then recanted and claimed all it could do was erect signs instead — hardly inspired confidence.
However, what on Earth is Ley suggesting when she says the State Government should just drop the drumlines back in and increase surveillance? Is she saying to hell with what the court has ordered? Or does Ley reckon fisheries officers should just harden up and start arming themselves with a decent set of pliers so they can simply release the sharks?
It might be news to the minister but these officers are dealing with marine life a bit bigger than the cod they catch in the Murray River in her electorate. In fact, cutting a cranky 4m tiger shark loose from a hook is nearly as dangerous as getting between Ley and a bargain Gold Coast apartment buy, something she's somewhat famed for.
Yet, while Ley is happily ordering fisheries officers back into the water, the Morrison Government hasn't come up with a timeline for a legislative fix to what the court has ordered.
The LNP Opposition might be right when they say SMART drumlines, where sharks are caught and released,should be considered as temporary solution. However, it would take time to train officers and whether that's worthwhile depends primarily on how long it's going to take their federal colleagues to come up with a legislative answer.
Dropping in new drumlines at 17 locations just outside the marine park was a prudent move by the State but that still leaves 27 beaches no longer with protection.
However, what wasn't needed was State Fisheries Minister Mark Furner's ham-fisted suggestion that Ley would be blamed if there was an attack.
While the politicians squabble, the reputation of Queensland beaches is taking a further battering, the last thing the tourism industry needs after those terrible Cid Harbour attacks.
From the start, what was required here was a bipartisan approach and a plan to ensure swimmers were protected by drumlines again as soon as practical. Instead what happened was the political sharks began circling as soon as they saw an opportunity for a cheap feed.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
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The apparent suicide attempt of a judge in southern Thailand highlights the need for urgent reform of the judiciary to improve its independence from political interference, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) said today.
Judge Khanakorn Pianchana, Vice Presiding Judge of the Yala Provincial Court in Thailand’s restive southern region, reportedly shot himself in the chest following his delivery of a verdict on 4 October in a case in which he alleged political interference in his judicial functions. Judge Khanakorn is currently hospitalized in critical condition.
“This unfortunate incident again shows the need for sustained reforms of law enforcement and particularly of the independence of the judiciary in Thailand,” said Frederick Rawski, ICJ’s Asia director.
Judge Khanakorn had alleged in a 25-page note that he was ordered in confidence to rewrite his ruling exonerating five suspects of murder charges - a decision he had allegedly reached on the basis of lack of sufficient evidence. The five have had been detained and interrogated under special security laws in force in the Southern Border Provinces of Thailand.
Under Thai law, if a superior judicial officer disagrees with a ruling of any judge, he or she must express such disagreement in writing and is forbidden from speaking to a judge in confidence to reverse the ruling.
“The ICJ has worked for years with the judiciary in southern Thailand to improve the administration of justice in southern Thailand, especially by addressing problems such as the improper admission of evidence and problematic evidence-gathering by security forces countering armed groups,” Rawski said. “This case again shows how misuse of emergency decrees in southern Thailand has aggravated the political pressure exerted on judges.”
Today, the case was submitted to the Office of the Judicial Commission for its consideration. The Commission, chaired by the President of the Supreme Court, comprises of qualified members who are judicial officers of each level of the Court. Consequently, the Commission passed a resolution to set up a Sub-Committee comprises three of its members to investigate into the allegations.
Particularly because Judge Khanakorn’s claim involves several senior judges in active services, the Sub-Committee set up by the Commission to investigate the allegations must therefore be independent institutionally and functionally, at all stages of the investigation. Their mandate should be broadened to look into whether there is wider pattern and practice of interference beyond this case.
Judge Khanakorn presided over a trial involving the alleged murder of five people in Yala province in 2018. Following the killing, authorities arrested five suspects who were charged with murder, secret association, conspiracy and gun-related offences. If convicted, three out of five defendants could be sentenced to death.
The five suspects were reportedly detained and interrogated under much-criticized special security laws which remain in force in the Southern Border Provinces of Thailand – i.e Martial Law and Emergency Decree. The ICJ has repeatedly criticized how the Martial Law confers upon military authorities the powers to arrest and detain any person without a warrant for up to seven days for interrogation and questioning and does not require detainees to be brought before a court at any stage of their detention. The ICJ has also repeatedly analyzed and criticized the Emergency Decree, which breaches international law and standards, by allowing authorities to detain suspects, with the leave of the Court, for up to 30 days. The law does not require a detainee to be physically brought before the Court during this period.
Information submitted to the court as evidence in this case had reportedly been obtained from the suspects during detention periods prescribed under Martial Law and the Emergency Decree. Judge Khanakorn noted in his statement that he was of the view that any information obtained during this period should not be admissible because rights protections had not been afforded to the suspects who had been detained under security laws, as they are provided to suspects in other criminal trials. This position had reportedly led to the disagreements between the judge and his supervisor over the case ruling.
The ICJ has repeatedly expressed concern on the use as evidence of information obtained during interrogation under emergency laws in criminal proceedings of security-related cases, in the form of witness statements or inquiry reports from interrogation officials. The ICJ has called on Thailand to review existing standards in all special security laws and relevant articles in the Criminal Procedure Code regarding the admissibility of evidence that are not compatible with international fair trial standards.
Judge Khanakorn also described in his statement that certain evidence needed to have been ruled inadmissible as it had not been collected by competent authorities but by volunteers who were not competent or specialized in evidence collection.
Judge Khanakorn further asserted that interference in his judicial functions had also occurred in 2018 when he had been under pressure to reduce the sentence of three military officers who had been found to have shot villagers to death.
The right to a fair hearing in judicial proceedings before an independent and impartial court or tribunal is guaranteed in several human rights instruments, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Thailand is a party. The right is also enshrined in section 188 of the 2017 Constitution of Thailand.
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Ambassador Gordon Sondland, one of the leading witnesses expected to testify in the Donald Trump-Ukraine scandal, has been ordered by the administration to not give testimony for the impeachment inquiry against the president.
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“Whether we are Christian, Jewish, or Muslim in heritage, we all believe that God is perfectly just and always merciful,” Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Washington preached. “And those of you engaged in the administration of justice can and must never completely remove those divine qualities from your service and your calling.”
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It has become pretty well known now among conservative commentators that Hitler was a socialist. The old Soviet disinformation that Hitler was a Rightist is slowly losing its grip. The plain fact is that the ideas Hitler is most famous for -- eugenics and antisemitism -- were mainstream Leftist ideas in the 1920s and 1930s. Leftism is a many-headed beast so not all Leftists subscribed to such ideas but many did. August Bebel summarized it well when he said that antisemitism is der Sozialismus des bloeden Mannes. Leftist intellectuals sometimes rejected it but it was popular among ordinary Leftists. Antisemitism was even a common belief among the Russian Communists of Lenin's day.
And there is of course online now a large number of articles furiously denying that Hitler was a Leftist, none of which is of any scholarly worth that I can see. A curious exception, however, is a temporary blog from 2011 which is genuinely well informed. It is anonymous and almost entirely devoted to going through my article on Hitler and questioning it detail by detail.
I must say that I am fascinated by by its anonymity. And how come that it is in such an obscure source? I was unaware of it and came across it only by chance a couple of days ago. And if I was unaware of it for 8 years, who else would be aware of it? The author has obviously put a lot of work into it. It took him several months to put it all up. What is the point of that if nobody knows of it? The fact that it is a blogspot blog means that Google knew of it but nobody else seems to. Google owns Blogspot and all Blogspot posts appear to be held on Google's main servers.
From the level of detailed historical knowledge displayed, it seems very likely that the writer is a historian of some standing so the best I can make of it is that he is aware that his opus is little more than a series of quibbles but wants to record his quibbles without anybody being able to hold him responsible for them. His modus operandi is to admit that I am right about something but then to expand the point so as to weaken it in his view. I suppose his admissions that I am right in various ways might be another reason why he wants to remain anonymous
To reply to each and every one of his quibbles would be a book-length enterprise and I have neither the time nor the energy to do that. At age 76 my energies are low so I have to reserve them for what I see as important things. So I will go straight to what I see as his central objection to my thesis. It is in his post of 5 June, 2011
I won't quote any of it as the link leads you straight to it but his objection is to the Nazis being called "brown Bolsheviks", an expression that was commonly applied to them in Germany in the pre-war era. I explained that expression by saying that "Marxism was class-based and Nazism was nationally based but otherwise they were very similar". That is of course the headline point of my article on Hitler: That the Nazis were socialists, nearly as Leftist as the Communists
How well our erudite author gets around that is surely central to his whole argument that Hitler was not a Leftist so he needs a very strong comeback to keep his argument afloat. His comeback is pathetic. He says that the Nazi party had "wings" and Hitler did not belong to the most extreme wing.
So what? All political parties have wings to my knowledge but they also have important things in common or they would not be one party. And the policies they fought elections on in the 1930s were very reminiscent of the U.S. Democratic party in the Soviet era: Slogans such as: "With Hitler against the armaments madness of the world" and "The Marshall and the corporal fight alongside us for peace and equal rights". Regardless of what Hitler personally believed, he campaigned as a strong socialist. The Nazi party won power as a Leftist party. It also had other appeals, such as its nationalism, but its Leftist identity was unmistakeable. How is equality not a Leftist shibboleth?
I can't resist quoting something further from our opinionated author:
First, a quote from what I wrote:
In German, not only the word "Socialism" (Sozialismus) but also the word "Victory" (Sieg) begins with an "S". So he said that the two letters "S" in the hooked-cross (swastika) also stood for the victory of Aryan man and the victory of the idea that the "worker" was a creative force: Nationalism plus socialism again, in other words.
Our erudite author's comment on that:
No evidence for this at all, The only SS one can find stood for "Schutzstaffel", Not "Sieg Sozialismus" or whatever.
Now that's a real lulu. I was quoting Hitler himself -- in Mein Kampf -- as to what the Swastika stood for and our author says: "no evidence for this at all." So Hitler himself didn't know what the swastika stood for???
I don't think I need to go on. That's the most egregious example but his accuracy of statement is at many points very poor.
A symphony of mindless hate
As the impeachment of President Trump begins, the battle lines are hardening. Sen. Lindsey Graham dismissed the allegations against the president as “a nothing burger.” Sen. Richard Blumenthal had a visceral reaction to Graham’s quip, saying:
Donald Trump is going to choke on this supposed nothing burger. He will go down with this supposed nothing burger in his throat because what it shows is repeated, concerted, premeditated criminal conduct.
I found Blumenthal’s statement very revealing. Like much of Hollywood’s “art” (here and here), it reveals the degree of hatred festering on the left toward Donald Trump.
My old friend Bill Bennett, commenting on this raw hatred, said it reminded him of the animosity Inspector Javert had for Jean Valjean in Les Miserables, which had tragic results.
Sadly, I suspect the left has given little thought as to how it might heal the wounds caused by impeachment or how it might begin to help reunite the country that has been so divided by its extreme policies and growing anti-Americanism.
But let me remind you, my friends, that the left’s hatred isn’t just about Donald Trump. It’s about you. It’s about me. It’s about all the 63 million “deplorable and irredeemable” people who voted for Donald Trump. They tell us that all the time.
The left’s rage didn’t begin with Donald Trump. It smeared Ronald Reagan, Robert Bork, Clarence Thomas, George W. Bush, John McCain, and even Mitt Romney. The left viciously attacked Brett Kavanaugh and it is still attacking him.
Friday was the anniversary of Christine Blasey Ford’s Senate hearing. And Kamala Harris is still demanding Kavanaugh’s impeachment.
Where We Stand
It is hard for anyone to keep up with all the nuances of this dispute and the developments that have taken place at such a rapid pace. Of course, that’s the left’s goal — to confuse and demoralize conservatives. But let me just summarize where we are:
An anonymous CIA employee, with an identified anti-Trump bias, has filed a complaint about a presidential phone call to another head of state.
The employee was not on the call.
His identity, and those of anyone he worked with, is being hidden.
What he alleged has been shown from the transcript to be false, and there are numerous inconsistencies in the complaint.
On this basis, we’re being told by virtually every Democrat and reporter in America that the president must be removed from office.
With USMCA, Japan, Brazil and South Korea trade deals, President Trump is very bad at being an isolationist
President Donald Trump is very bad at being an isolationist, in fact, he is probably one of the worse isolationists in American history.
Think about it. President Trump is pushing Congress to pass the USMCA, which tears up the 40 year old NAFTA agreement and replaces it with one which protects our national sovereignty while expanding trade between the three countries on a more favorable footing for U.S. workers.
President Trump has talked to India’s Prime Minister Modi about building a bi-lateral trade relationship between our two nations. He is similarly working with the President of Brazil along the same lines. He has already rewritten the South Korean trade deal to better accommodate U.S. interests, and has expanded trade relations with Japan creating a massive corn and technology purchase. He is also negotiating deals with the United Kingdom (post-Brexit), and the European Union.
And all the while, his trade team continues to hammer away at the China trade challenge.
Rather than being anti-trade, President Trump is probably the most trade focused U.S. leader in modern history. But his goal is different than many in the past.
The current world trading system was based upon a need to win the Cold War with the Soviet Union by spreading capitalism across the globe. At its core, it was a transfer of wealth from the United States to the rest of the world in the guise of allowing foreign products to be sold in the U.S. with relatively low tariffs, while leaving tariffs on U.S. exports to these developing countries high — the essence of non-reciprocity. This had the effect of allowing those countries to not face U.S. competition in their markets so their domestic economies could thrive from the trade imbalance cash infusion that followed.
For America’s part, we received less expensive items in our stores as major parts of industries like our domestic electronics manufacturing got outsourced to Asia. When China entered the world market in a big way and was granted Permanent National Trade Relations status by the U.S. in 2000 and entered the World Trade Organization in 2001, the entire world shifted.
U.S. and other foreign multi-national businesses took the certainty that Chinese goods would have inexpensive access to the U.S. markets and invested heavily in the Chinese economy, building factories knowing that they would benefit from cheap Chinese labor while exporting the once U.S.-made toys and other goods to American consumers.
What was a giant sucking sound of U.S. jobs heading south to Mexico from the Bill Clinton negotiated North American Free Trade Agreement became a tsunami as manufacturers flocked to make products in China with the promise of not only having access to U.S. markets but also being able to sell to Chinese consumers.
With China targeting key industries like steel, aluminum, rare earth mining, electronics, autos and high tech chip manufacturing, more and more blue collar jobs were exported around the globe.
A system originally designed to help get the post-World War II world back on its feet was now sucking the life blood out of America, while still delivering low cost electronics for its trouble. The ugly truth is that, as a result, the U.S. Gross Domestic Product has not exceeded 4 percent since 2000, with what used to be the expected normal growth rate of 3 percent beyond reach since 2005.
This is why President Trump is realigning our trade relationships around the world.
By emphasizing intellectual property protections, the President is ensuring that America’s ingenuity and problem solving is not stolen by foreign countries like China and then sold back to U.S. consumers at ten cents on the dollar.
By emphasizing ending currency manipulation, the President is ensuring that deliberate, foreign government created inflationary tariffs are not imposed on U.S. products. Currently, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the trade war with China has NOT resulted in increased costs to U.S. consumers or producers, while generating more than $30 billion in new tax revenue from the Chinese.
How is this possible? The Chinese have forced their wholesalers to eat some of the increased tariff costs while making the Yuan even less valuable than the dollar to keep the costs of Chinese products low.
But this only serves to emphasize the importance of the entirety of the Trump trade agenda. Passing the USMCA, and continuing to create new agreements built upon the inviolability of intellectual property rights puts up an economic wall around China, either trapping them in their anti-property Marxist doctrine or forcing them to accept private property rights for their own economic survival.
The USMCA is the first shoe to drop in this paradigm shifting strategy, and it is why it needs to be voted through the House and Senate. Yes, more, fantastic jobs are projected to be created in the United States, and quite frankly in Canada and Mexico as well. But the language of USMCA on private property and currency manipulation will serve as the models for the entirety of a series of bilateral trade deals.
Trade deals that will encompass the largest economies in the world, except China, and which will create a freedom economic noose around Beijing’s neck.
Isolationist? No, President Trump is an American President looking out for American economic interests while putting together a new international trade regime to replace the broken one that was crippling our nation’s economic future.
WHISTLEBLOWER ARRANGEMENTS: "House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff announced Sunday that the whistleblower who filed a complaint regarding President Donald Trump's call with Ukraine's president has agreed to testify before the committee, adding that it will likely happen 'very soon,'" The Daily Caller reports. News of the arrangement came two days after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was subpoenaed. Meanwhile, President Trump on Sunday fumed: "Like every American, I deserve to meet my accuser, especially when this accuser, the so-called 'Whistleblower,' represented a perfect conversation with a foreign leader in a totally inaccurate and fraudulent way." In the same vein as fraud, The Federalist's Sean Davis reveals, "Federal records show that the intelligence community secretly revised the formal whistleblower complaint form in August 2019 to eliminate the requirement of direct, first-hand knowledge of wrongdoing." No wonder Joe Biden's campaign is trying to coerce the Leftmedia into silencing Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, which sounds suspiciously like ... collusion.
CLINTON PROBE: "The Trump administration is investigating the email records of dozens of current and former senior State Department officials who sent messages to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's private email. ... Those targeted were notified that emails they sent years ago have been retroactively classified and now constitute potential security violations, according to letters reviewed by The Washington Post. In virtually all of the cases, potentially sensitive information, now recategorized as 'classified,' was sent to Clinton's unsecure inbox." (The Washington Post)
JUDICIAL OBSTRUCTION & ACTIVISM: "A federal judge in California ruled Friday against the Trump administration's plan to detain illegal immigrant families longer than 20 days, undercutting the president's attempt to close the chief 'loophole' that caused this year's border surge. Judge Dolly M. Gee, an Obama appointee, has long been a stumbling block for Homeland Security and its immigration plans, and the ruling was expected. The administration is likely to quickly appeal." (The Washington Times)
A 'MEDICARE FOR ALL' HARBINGER: "Federal authorities on Friday charged more than 30 individuals in connection with an alleged Medicare-fraud scheme that took as much as $2 billion out of the pockets of taxpayers before it was detected. The scheme revolved around tricking seniors into getting their cheeks swabbed for unnecessary DNA tests that would supposedly tell them whether they were genetically predisposed to serious diseases, including cancer. The defendants would then charge Medicare for the swabs. In total, they are alleged to have collected $2 billion in reimbursements, with the typical bill running between $7,000 and $12,000." (National Review)
NORTH CAROLINA GERRYMANDERING: "Democrats are headed back to court to challenge the validity of North Carolina's 13 congressional districts, just weeks after the state's highest court ruled that the Republican-controlled legislature unconstitutionally gerrymandered state-level maps. A new lawsuit filed Friday on behalf of 14 North Carolina voters challenges Republican-drawn maps that first went into effect ahead of the 2016 elections, after a court threw out a previous set of maps that were drawn after the 2010 census." (The Hill)
A TALE OF TWO SEASONS "One week after summer's end, a 'winter' storm began blasting parts of the West with up to 3 feet of snow, smashing records with low temperatures, heavy snow, strong winds and blizzard conditions forecast into Monday," USA Today reports. On the other hand, "Temperatures will soar to 10 to 25 degrees above average through much of this week across the Deep South and into the Ohio Valley, mid-Atlantic and Northeast," according to The Weather Channel. For those wondering about the implications of global warming, keep in mind that extreme weather — both of the hot and cold variety — has been and always will be Mother Nature's way of finding equilibrium.
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As two of the most prolific political donors in the Donald Trump era, billionaires Richard and Elizabeth Uihlein have supported the president’s “America First” agenda. Elizabeth, the president of their shipping supplies company, recently wrote to customers: “Personally, I am an American first. I care about American jobs.”
But when it comes to business, their company has sought special visas for foreign workers — going so far as to sue the government to secure one at the same time federal officials implemented the president’s more stringent immigration policies.
The suit, filed February in federal district court in Illinois, came after the administration rejected the company’s 2018 petition to hire a full-time software engineer from India, court records show. The company sought a type of visa, called an H-1B, that allows foreign workers with special skills to stay in the U.S. for temporary periods.
Uline Inc., a Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, company that competes with Staples, FedEx Office and OfficeMax, regularly seeks temporary work visas reserved for non-U.S. workers, the company said in a statement.
The Uihleins back conservative candidates and groups that have advocated not only for crackdowns on illegal immigration, but also for stemming legal migration to the U.S.
In court testimony last year in an unrelated case in Texas, Richard Uihlein, who is the company’s CEO, was asked if his contributions to a group that supports conservative representatives were meant to aid not just immigration reform but a tougher immigration policy. Uihlein responded: “I would say that’s correct, yep.”
During the 2018 cycle, federal campaign finance records show, Richard Uihlein gave more than $38 million to conservative candidates and groups and his wife, Elizabeth, gave more than $1.5 million. The only individual donor who gave more to support Republicans during the 2018 cycle than Richard Uihlein was Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Richard Uihlein’s recent political donations included $2.5 million to the failed Illinois gubernatorial campaign of Jeanne Ives, who ran an ad featuring an actor wearing a hoodie, his face covered, thanking her opponent for making the state a “sanctuary state for illegal immigrant criminals.” He also gave $100,000 to a super PAC supporting the failed senate campaign of Roy Moore, the Alabama judge who ran for office amid allegations that he’d sexually molested underage girls. Moore, a staunch supporter of aggressive policies to curb immigration, backed legislation that would’ve halved the number of green cards issued in the U.S.
In March, the Uihleins gave $500,000 each to America First Action Inc., a pro-Trump super PAC staffed with former administration officials, federal campaign records show. In addition, the couple attended Trump’s inaugural after each contributed $250,000 to his inaugural fund.
The worker on whose behalf the company sued appears to have been caught up in a Trump administration effort to scrutinize applications for H-1B work visas. In April 2017, Trump signed the “Buy Americanand Hire American” executive order that instructed immigration officials to propose new rules to “protect the interests of United States workers in the administration of our immigration system.”
That effort has been effective. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services denied 14% of H-1B petitions filed on behalf of H-1B holders seeking to continue working in the U.S. through the second quarter of this fiscal year, up from 3% of such petitions in fiscal year 2015, according to an analysis of government data by the National Foundation for American Policy, a nonprofit public policy group.
Lawyers for Uline, which the Uihleins started in 1980, withdrew their lawsuit months after filing it, telling the court that immigration authorities had approved a subsequent visa petition for the worker.
Uline boasts that it’s one of the biggest distributors of shipping, industrial and packing materials in North America. In its visa application, Uline told the government it employs 5,200 workers nationwide and brings in $3.6 billion in gross annual income.
The worker, Abhishek Nimdia, told ProPublica that he enjoyed working at Uline and questioned whether the Uihleins actually support the Trump administration’s tough immigration policies.
“I don’t think they are against immigration in any way, because if they were, why would they support me?” he said in an interview.
In a statement provided by an outside publicist, Uline said that the company’s visa “decisions are made without the visibility of or approval from Liz and Dick Uihlein to support our growing business.” No one from Uline discussed the visas of its current employees on H-1Bs with administration officials, the statement said.
Richard Uihlein said in a statement provided by his executive assistant that he’s always been in favor of legal immigration. “Highly skilled immigrants with H-1B visas help contribute to the growth of both Uline and the US economy as a whole,” he said.
Matthew Bourke, a spokesman for USCIS, said in a statement that the agency “does not consider political affiliations or political connections when adjudicating benefit requests.”
Nimdia’s experience navigating the H-1B visa process during the Trump administration isn’t unique, said Jonathan Wasden, a former government lawyer who specializes in visa cases.
Immigration officials wary of litigation will usually relent once sued over H-1B denials like Nimdia’s — but only deep-pocketed employers can afford to take on the fight, Wasden said. The administration’s enforcement approach is a “ploy to eliminate people and make it as miserable as possible for H-1Bs to stay in the country,” he said.
Nimdia was originally employed by a Uline contractor. Uline sought to hire him as a full-time employee last summer, telling USCIS he’d be working to “design, develop, and implement automated testing and tooling solutions” as a “Quality Assurance Automation Engineer” at a prevailing annual wage of about $71,400, according to a copy of his visa application. The company also sought to sponsor Nimdia’s wife.
USCIS challenged Uline’s assertion that Nimdia’s job was a “specialty occupation,” asking the company for more information because its prior description of his duties was written “in relatively generalized and abstract terms” that didn’t adequately detail his job duties.
Uline responded with more information, but immigration officials again denied the visa, reaffirming their earlier position. That’s when Uline sued.
Nimdia, emphasizing that he wasn’t speaking on behalf of his employer, said the job with Uline was the latest stage in an almost nine-year stint working in the U.S. on temporary visas.
“They hired me as a contractor, liked me very much and they wanted to sponsor me,” he said. “There was a little hurdle. That’s the short story.”
Frank words from Superintendent of Schools David Abbey drew admiring applause from parents — as well as some apologies from the Board of Education (BOE) Monday night — when he criticized its handling of the redistricting issue aimed at bringing balance to the two middle schools.
BOE Chairman Mark Mathias (l) listens to Superintendent of Schools David Abbey voice his frustration with having felt handcuffed by the board. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jarret Liotta for WestportNow.com
“In the best of times redistricting or rebalancing … is not an easy proposition,” he said. “If we’re going to do this in public and if we’re going to be transparent, we’re going to have bumps along the way.”
“I feel like you put handcuffs on the administration and then you asked us to play the violin,” he told the BOE, “and then you’re surprised that it’s not a beautiful sonata (and) then you ask us, ‘Why did you put on handcuffs?’”
Abbey then drew applause when he called a continued look at the most current redistricting scenarios “a fool’s errand” and said it would lead down a path “which is unsatisfactory educationally.”
• Recognized for delivering leading edge solutions that consistent meet complex business requirements.
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• Maintains organization's effectiveness and efficiency by defining, delivering, and supporting strategic plans for implementing information technologies.
• Directs technological research by studying organization goals, strategies and practices.
• Preserves assets by implementing disaster recovery and back-up procedures and information security and control structures.
• Install and configure computer hardware and software operating systems and applications
• Monitor and maintain computer systems and networks
• Communicate with staff and customers through a series of actions, either face-to-face or over the phone, to help set up systems or resolve issues
• Troubleshoot system and network problems
• Diagnose and solve hardware or software errors
• Replace parts as required with approval from Administration Manager/ BOD
• Provide IT-related operational support, including Procedural documentation and relevant reports
• Follow diagrams and written instructions to repair IT errors and set up systems
• Monitor and maintain schedules to update or upgrade all IT-related systems and applications
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• Create new users' accounts and profiles and solve IT related issues
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The White House will cooperate with the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump’s solicitation of foreign election assistance — as long as there is not an actual investigation, a senior administration official said on Tuesday. The demand came in a call “orchestrated” by the White House, Washington Post reporter Josh Dawsy reported. The administration is […]
On Tuesday, the impeachment battle escalated when Republican Senator Lindsey Graham invited the president's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to testify about allegations of corruption involving the Bidens. The administration blocked Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, from appearing before a House panel. Nancy Cordes reports.
A defiant White House sent House Democrats a letter saying it will not cooperate with the impeachment inquiry. On Tuesday, the administration blocked an ambassador from appearing before a house panel. Ben Tracy reports.