ISIS now controls ancient city of Palmyra in Syria

Palmyra was an ancient Semitic city, located in Homs Governorate, Syria. Dating back to the Neolithic, Palmyra was first attested in the early second millennium BC as a caravan stop for travelers crossing the Syrian Desert. Palmyra was a stop on the Silk Road.

I was there in 2002 and took this photo:

Palmyra ruins

Palmyra ruins


Some Christians believe this ancient Temple is the one in which Jesus turned out the money changers. No way to know if that’s true, but in the nearby village of today the residents speak Aramaic, the language said to have been spoken by Jesus.

With ISIS in control the ruins are in peril of being destroyed. Thanks, Obama.

“Why Does the Left Kowtow to Islam?”

The title to this post is taken from two other internet postings of the same title by and Robert Tracinski and Ed Driscoll, hereafter referred to as “Tracinski” to note the first one and “Driscoll”the second.  These two should be read in that order, Tracinski first then Driscoll.

One could ad Jonah Goldberg’s insightful book Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, from Mussolini to the Politics of Change to the reading list for anyone trying to understand the illogical, irrational, and sick-minded response of the Left to Islamic terrorism.

Since the Left hates its own culture the most of all things they despise I’ve always settled the question for myself with the aphoryism, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”  That actually might be a bit too rational. Tracinski and Driscoll show the Left mindset to be more complicated and crazier than the “enemy of my enemy” slogan can convey.

The Left finds Islam to be just dandy despite all that Islamic terrorism does to wreck everything in its path that is a product of Western culture. Islamic terrorists nevertheless love all the wonderful things Western culture has to offer them such as computers, cell phones, airplanes, automobiles, machine guns, materials to build IEDs, rocket launchers, and nuclear bombs. Except for cell phones the Left hates most of those things the Islamacists love but nevertheless kowtows to Muslims despite their persecution of homosexuals, demeaning treatment of women, rape of young girls in Rotherham, killing 3,000 people on 9/11, beheading of infidels, etc., etc., etc.  It is tempting to decide that the Left is kowtowing to Islam not despite what it does, but because of what it does.  The Left lacks the will to risk losing their own comfortable existence brought about by the very culture they despise, and are satisfied to see Islam do that dirty work for them.

This brings to mind what a Leftist friend said to me once while Ronald Reagan was president. When I said Fidel Castro was a ruthless dictator holding the Cuban people in an island prison he replied, “OK, but he sure knows how to stand up to Reagan.”  Yes, holding an entire country as political prisoners is “OK” if the dictator hates Western culture as much as the Left does.  The only dictator the Left has ever not liked was Augusto Pinochet of Chile.  He was a dictator who ousted Salvadore Allende, a socialist. So the Left hated him.

Read Tracisnki and Driscoll, in that order, for a deeper understanding of the Leftist mindset.

Data on voter support for gay marriage was faked

Data Faked in Study About Gay People Changing Voters’ MindsA researcher apparently made up the results of the much-publicized study, as revealed Tuesday by scientists trying to replicate it.

A study claiming that gay people advocating for same-sex marriage can change voters’ minds has been retracted due to fraud.

The study was published last December in Science, and received lots of media attention. It found that a 20-minute, one-on-one conversation with a gay political canvasser could steer voters in favor of same-sex marriage. Not only that, but these changed opinions lasted for at least a year and influenced other people in the voter’s household, the study found.

Donald Green, the lead author on the study, retracted it on Tuesday shortly after learning that his co-author, UCLA graduate student Michael LaCour, had faked the results.

“I am deeply embarrassed by this turn of events and apologize to the editors, reviewers, and readers of Science,” Green, a professor of political science at Columbia University, said in his retraction letter to the journal, as posted on the Retraction Watch blog.

LaCour confessed that he hadn’t used any of the study’s grant money to conduct any of the surveys. LaCour is scheduled to become an assistant professor at Princeton University in July.

It’s an excellent example of what F.A. Hayek called “scientism,” to distinguish it from honest science.

From the Wikipedia page on Science Magazine:

Science, also widely referred to as Science Magazine,[1] is the academic journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science[2][3] (AAAS) and is one of the world’s top scientific journals.[4] A peer-reviewed journal, it was first published in 1880, is currently circulated weekly and has a print subscriber base of around 130,000. Because institutional subscriptions and online access serve a larger audience, its estimated readership is 570,400 people.[5]

I guess it isn’t always peer reviewed, or “peer review” doesn’t mean anything.  Michael LaCour joins his reputation with Michael Mann, author of the hockey stick hoax to prove global warming.

Thoughts, words, actions, habits, character, destiny

“Watch your thoughts, they become words.
Watch your words, they become actions.
Watch your actions, they become habits.
Watch your habits, they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

— Attributed to Frank Outlaw, but just as likely Ralph Waldo Emerson. Frank Outlaw is an imaginary person to whom many quotes are attributed.

The connection between actions and character is true. Act bad for a while and you become bad. Act good and you will be good.

—  Simple advice from a father to a son

Democrats’ Identity Politics Turning Round on Them

Glenn Reynolds in USA TODAY:

In my experience, people argue identity when they don’t want to argue policy. And the reason they don’t want to argue policy, usually, is that they’re wrong. But in arguing that everyone who disagrees with them is a racist, or a sexist, or a tool of Big Money, or whatever, the Democrats run the risk of self-destruction. This is basically what happened to the the Labour Party in Britain: A reliance on easy tropes that please the base but alienate other voters.

As Daniel Hannan notes: “When leftists attack the Tories, they’re not just having a go at 300 MPs, or 100,000 party members: They’re scorning everyone who has contemplated supporting the party. … How do you think this sort of thing goes down, not only with anyone who has ever voted Conservative, but with moderate people who, though they haven’t voted Tory themselves, have friends and family who have? When you adopt a bullying tone, you find that 1) voters don’t like it; 2) you solidify the other side’s core support; and 3) some people hide their voting intentions.”

Likewise, to many prominent Democrats and supporters have spent the past six years calling everyone who doesn’t agree with Obama a racist. Now some of the same folks are gearing up to call everyone who doesn’t support Clinton (or, perhaps, Warren, the backup-Hillary) a sexist. For instance, one group of Hillary supporters makes the preposterous claim that saying she is “out of touch” or ‘insincere” reflects a sexist worldview. This technique worked pretty well so far for Obama’s presidency, but it now seems to be wearing thin, even within the Democratic Party.

The 2016 election is still more than a year a way. It’s not too late for the Democrats to start arguing policy. But if they want to stick with shouting about identity, well, the Republicans may be happy to let them.

Democrats have mastered the art of identity politics to shield themselves from having to respond substantively to legitimate criticism of their policies. The same old, same old cries of racism and sexism have worked so well for them they are now using it on each other. They risk becoming the sow that eats her piglets. Without the aid and comfort of a partisan media along with timorous lack of opposition from the Republicans they could not have made this sort of phony baloney work as long as it has.

What lies here is an opportunity for Republicans if they care to take advantage of it. I doubt they will because Republicans seem to never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity, even if handed to them on a silver platter.  One way the Democrats could revive the identity politics theme and keep it working will be if some lame-brain Republican candidate manages to fall for one of the usual tricks by a news reporter and stick his foot in his mouth with some idiotic comment that can be easily twisted into something deeply offensive on the basis of race or sex. With every danger comes new opportunities, and the other way around too.

Steven Hayward has a striking example of the Left eating another one of its own: Civil War on the Left: Part 19.  This one involves octogenarian Leftist Professor Jerry Hough of Duke University coming to his senses and writing a letter to the New York Times taking the editors to task for their treatment on the Baltimore riots. It’s a great letter that reads as if written by an articulate conservative. Prof. Hough makes several worthy points on the state of Democrat politics today. Predictably, it’s all hate speech to the Leftist establishment at Duke and they are gunning for him with tar and feathers, or perhaps something worse.

How the Clintons got rich

Mary Anastasia O’Grady in today’s Wall Street Journal, How the Clintons worked the Angles in Haiti, adds to Peter Schweizer’s new book Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich with one specific example of how they do it.

In this example in Haiti, as in many others, Bill Clinton claims to be helping the poor when he is really hurting the poor to help himself. Ms. O’Grady:

Mr. Clinton loves to paint himself as a third-world redeemer, as he did in an interview in Africa with an NBC reporter that aired last week. The reporter asked about charges that the Clinton Foundation’s practice of pulling in big money from governments and wealthy donors during Hillary’s tenure as secretary of state was a conflict of interest. Mr. Clinton countered that he’s helping the poor.

Yet peel back the veneer of “charity” and one finds that the Clinton way has inflicted egregious harm on the poor in developing nations because it has undermined respect for the rule of law that is so necessary for economic growth. If a former president of the U.S. flouts anticorruption protocols, why should the locals get hung up on them?

In Haiti Obama gave Bill Clinton carte blanche in handling hundreds of millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars flowing to Haiti for recovery and reconstruction after the earthquake in 2010. This translated into enormous political power making Clinton a de facto local political boss in a country where bosses rule with an iron hand. With a little crony capitalism Clinton got donations to the Clinton foundation from supplicant U.S. Corporations seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in no-bid construction contracts to rebuild Haiti.  Clinton got them the contracts, they donated to the Clinton foundation, that money finds its way into the Clintons own pockets, and most of the reconstruction of Haiti never got done.

“Helping the poor” is total BS, as usual .

One Strong Woman, Three Weak Men

Pope Francis Meets Raul Castro

Pope Francis Meets Raul Castro


Dan Henninger’s column this week in the Wall Street Journal recounts the details of recent separate meetings of Barack Obama, President François Hollande of France, and Pope Francis with Raul Castro, Fidel Castro’s brother. Hollande and Pope Francis were star struck. We haven’t seen it but there’s probably a photo somewhere showing Obama bowing to Raul and Fidel. All three men are obsequious suck-ups to the Castro brothers. After a one-hour meeting with the Fidel the Magnificent in Havana last week, the French president said, “I had before me a man who made history.”

Yeah, Fidel Castro is certainly a man who made history. Just like Adolph Hitler, Adolph Eichmann, Rudolf Hoess [Commandant of Auschwitz], Mao-Tse-Tung, Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Ho Chi Min, Pol Pot, Kim Il Sung, Saddam Hussein, and Hideki Tojo. I wonder if François Hollande is as giddy over the men on that list as he is for the Castro brothers. All of those men made history, all of them “made a difference.”

Henninger closed his column with one strong-willed woman who refuses to be a sycophant to dictators:

Last weekend German Chancellor Angela Merkel went to Russia to honor the Russian soldiers who died in World War II. But while in Moscow, Ms. Merkel, who grew up in East Germany, said directly to Vladimir Putin: “I would like also to recall that the end of World War II did not bring democracy and freedom for all of Europe.”

Would that one of these men of the world had the guts to say that to Fidel’s face in Havana.

I want to call them girly-men but it doesn’t seem appropriate.

I’ve written before here and here about weak men and strong women.

Prescription for Living

elephant_kittenThere comes a time in your life when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh. Forget the bad, and focus on the good. Love the people who treat you right. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is a part of life, getting back up is living.

—- José Harris from Mi Vida.

Sometimes you get a little help from friends.