Filed under: Bureaucracy, Capitalism, Domestic Policy, Education, Free Markets, Freedom, Immigration, Intelligence, Law, Media Bias, Politics, Progressivism, Russia, Syria, The Constitution, The United States | Tags: Identity Politics, Meaningless Abstractions, Standing Firm
The situation in Syria was not only an affront to international law, but a probe of sorts to test the new president of the United States. President Trump’s response was prompt and direct, but careful. It was not, as the Democrats try to claim, the start of a war, or a sign of the belligerence of an out-of-control administration. It was a very specific and limited missile strike against the specific airbase that had launched the Sarin Gas attack on Syrian rebels by their own administration. Because it was directed so specifically, it announced that poison gas attacks were simply not acceptable, and this strike was a clear warning that we are a powerful nation and we are capable of much more. There will be no more statements of “red lines” that are not observed.
America means business. It was not, as has been claimed, an attack on Assad. The Russians and Syrians were warned, so there would be little or no loss of life. These distinctions are important. The free world approved.
Democrats are not good at distinctions. They are more comfortable with generalities. Hillary was interviewed by the New York Times Nicholas Kristof at the “Women in the World” summit. Kristof asked Hillary:
I have to ask fundamentally, a man who bragged about sexual assault won the election and won 53 percent of the white women’s vote. What does that say about the challenges that one faces in women’s empowerment, that in effect misogyny won with a lot of women voters?
In the first place, Trump did not brag about sexual assault. He spoke of women and celebrity and said that when you are a celebrity, some women will let you do anything you want to them. He did not say that he had done anything.
Hillary immediately blamed everything on identity politics: misogyny—she lost because she is a woman. The country is just not ready for the first woman president. Fine distinctions: Hillary ran for the presidency because she wanted to be the first woman president, not because there were things she wanted to do to improve the country or help Americans. That’s why her brief career in the Senate was marked only by a bill to name a post office, and her career as Secretary of State resulted only in Benghazi and a record amount of air travel miles. There were no accomplishments. The change was her gender. She promised to continue all the accomplishments of the Obama administration but to do it as a woman.
Nikki Haley, a woman, has made a real difference in her brief time as Ambassador to the United Nations. People are already suggesting that she can be the first woman president. She has demonstrated over and over competence, authority, determination, and things have shifted because of it.
In this strange new universe, a real-estate developer and reality-TV celebrity with no political experience whatsoever, obviously won the election because he is a man. Identity politics is the controlling theme. You can be decide your identity and your gender by your feelings of the moment, which, making fine distinctions — is clearly nuts.
Insist on fine distinctions. Don’t let them get away with sloppy thinking. Insist on free speech. Hold college and university authorities to task for allowing bad behavior to destroy the educational process. Speak out.
Surely you have noticed that what the Left advocates are abstractions. Social justice —there is no such thing. We have laws and courts, and they don’t do social justice. Equality —you can have equality under the law, but you can’t make people equal, some are smarter, some are more beautiful, some are stronger, some are older. Diversity—to the Left refers only to skin color, certainly not to diversity of ideas. Our values —one of Obama’s favorites, “that’s not who we are as Americans.”
Filed under: European Union, Foreign Policy, Iran, Media Bias, Middle East, National Security, Russia, Syria, The United States | Tags: An Appropriate Response, Bashar Assad's War Crime, World Approval
Bashar Assad’s Sarin attack on the Ghowa agricultural region just outside Damascus, which has been held by rebels, was also an attack on International Law. The attacks came in early morning hours when many were still asleep. Initial estimates of the numbers of dead range upwards of 1,400, including way too many children.
Headlines in the media ranged from an irresponsible “TRUMP DECLARES WAR,” to less bellicose statements, but few recognized the very limited nature of the act. It would have been more accurately described as a direct response on the specific Syrian airfield from which the Sarin gas attacks were launched, to put that airfield out of business— and prevent further attacks. It was a correct and immediate response.
President Trump has received wide support from world leaders. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande in a joint statement said “President Assad bears sole responsibility for this development. His repeated use of chemical weapons and his crimes against his own population had to be sanctioned.” British Prime Minister Theresa May said the action was an “appropriate response.” Israel, Australia, Japan, Italy all expressed their support for American action and condemned the use of chemical weapons. Even Erdogan’s Turkey expressed support. The use of chemical weapons is an international war crime.
Russia predictably denounced the strike as an “act of aggression against a UN member,” and said they would demand an urgent UN Security Council meeting. Iran also condemned the US strike.
Hollywood celebrities chimed in with commentary on Twitter in about the manner you would expect. Perhaps someday they will learn that their commentary is not valued for its international expertise, but for the humor.
Barack Obama drew a Red Line in Syria, then failed to follow through and essentially told the world that they could act with impunity, and America would do nothing. Always a mistake. Russia moved in as a military patron and Iran has become Assad’s protector on the ground with arms supplies and Hezbollah.
The next step should be to establish safe zones in Syria, with protection from possible attacks. The Wall Street Journal said:
Every military operation carries risks but this one could also have major political and strategic benefits if Mr. Trump follows the air strike with some forceful diplomacy. The demonstration of renewed U.S. purpose in the region could have an electrifying impact across the Middle East. The Saudis, the Gulf Sunni states and Turkey would begin to rethink their accommodation to the Russia-Assad-Iran axis of dominance that none of them wants.
Mr. Trump also needs to make Russia and Iran begin to pay a price for their support for Mr. Assad’s depredations. They have had no incentive to negotiate an end to the civil war because they see themselves on the road to a relatively cost-free victory. That calculus may change if it looks like the costs of intervening are rising and Mr. Assad is no longer a sure winner.
The Journal added:
The larger point for Mr. Trump to recognize is that he is being tested. The world—friend and foe—is watching to see how he responds to Mr. Assad’s war crime. His quick air strike on the evening he was having dinner with Chinese President Xi Jinping makes clear that the Obama era is over. If he now follows with action to protect Syrian civilians and construct an anti-Assad coalition, he may find that new strategic possibilities open up to enhance U.S. interests and make the Middle East more stable.
ADDENDUM: The missile strikes were delivered while President Trump was having dinner at Mar -a-Lago with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Presumably the Chinese President took notice, as did the rest of the world. A bit of a wake-up call. New administration in town.
Filed under: Bureaucracy, Domestic Policy, Economics, Education, Freedom, History, Law, Media Bias, Politics, Progressivism, Regulation, The United States | Tags: Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Falling Behind, Our Public Schools
America’s new Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos gave her first big policy speech last Wednesday, and you probably didn’t hear about it. The media wasn’t interested and barely covered it. There is a lot of opposition to Secretary DeVos, largely from the teacher’s unions.
She spoke at the Brookings Institute, and said”We must change the way we think about funding education and instead invest in children, not in buildings.”
There is no perfect, one-size-fits-all system of education: A magnet school is not inherently better than a traditional school, nor is education at a private school inherently better than education at a charter school.
Similarly, there is no one delivery mechanism of education choice: Open enrollment, tax credits, home schools, magnets, charters, virtual schools, education savings accounts and choices not yet developed all have their place, but no single one of these is always the right delivery method for each child.
Policymakers at every level of government would do well to maintain a humble acknowledgement of these facts. Let’s put aside the politics of the adults and actually focus on what will best serve kids.
And that’s what brings us here today. Too much of the conversation on education loses sight of the thing that matters most: the individual child. This report sheds light on how districts are providing choices and information to parents and opportunities to students.
In the real world today, every problem with the schools is claimed to be the result of not enough money. Whether it’s your kid being bullied, not learning to read, the choice of textbooks, the quality of the teacher, the remedy is more money for the schools—which doesn’t seem to change anything.
The two school districts that score highest arrive at the high score by different paths. New Orleans provides a wide range of choices to parents —all of its schools are charters (and it’s important to note that charter schools are public schools) and there are vouchers available for a good supply of affordable private schools.
Denver scored well because they have a single application process for both charter and traditional public schools, and a website that allows parents to make side-by-side comparison of schools. The choices, however, are limited.
You can read the whole speech here, and if you are a parent of kids in school, you will want to, and the rest of us who pay the taxes that funds all this would be advised to pay attention too.
When my kids were growing up, we moved a lot, and the kids went to the school in the district where we lived. We didn’t have any real choice, and some teachers were good and some weren’t so good, and we tried to make up at home for whatever seemed to be missing.
If Secretary DeVos can get across her point that the purpose of this whole thing is not to enrich teacher’s unions and politicians, but to give kids an education that is right for them and makes the most of their abilities, we will have won a major battle. It’s no wonder the unions don’t appreciate her. The schools should not be run by politicians in Washington, but by parents and their children. There is no one-size-fits-all education, and what’s right for your kid many not be what was right for mine.