. . . to be forgiven by relatives of his victims?
. . . self-made woman, says Forbes magazine. She's Kathy Lehne, 53, worth $340 million. Says her blurb:
Founded wholesale fuel marketer and distributor Sun Coast Resources at age 23. Thirty years later it is apparently the largest woman-owned business in Texas, with $1.8 billion in sales and a fleet of more than 500 trucks. Her husband, Kyle, a VP of sales who joined 11 years after its founding, is one of 1,800 employees. Lehne reportedly plays high-stakes poker in her free time.
(_____, "America's Richest Self-Made Women," Forbes, June 15, 2015)
No other Houstonian is listed on this top-fifty list, though one former Houstonian -- don't tell the lovestruck Houston Chronicle editorial board she moved away -- is No. 49: Beyoncé Knowles, 33, $250 million.
No. 1 at $4.5 billion is Elizabeth Holmes, 31, of Palo Alto. She founded the blood-testing firm Theranos in 2003. Her test, says Forbes, is faster, cheaper, and less painful than other tests.
Some other notable rich women: No. 5, Oprah Winfry, $3 billion; No. 10, Meg Whitman, $2.1 billion; No. 28, Madonna, 56, $520 million; No. 31, Diane von Furstenberg, 68, $450 million; No. 33, Kathy Ireland, 52, $420 million; No. 34, Vera Wang, 65, $400 million; and No. 39, Nora Roberts, 64, $340 million.
IT'S CERTAINLY NO SECRET that American students are taught less and less about the canonical literary masterpieces of the past, and there is no shortage of people who believe that what little they're required to learn in school is too much.
. . . Ayaan Hirsi Ali refuses to shut up. Her latest:
We have a problem . . . . That problem is sometimes called radical, or fundamentalist, Islam, and the self-styled Islamic State is just its latest iteration. But no one really understands it.
In the summer of 2014, Major General Michael Nagata, the commander of U.S. special operations forces in the Middle East, admitted as much when talking about the Islamic State, or ISIS. "We do not understand the movement," he said. "And until we do, we are not going to defeat it."
Although Nagata's words are striking for their candor, there is nothing new about the state of affairs they describe. For years, U.S. policymakers have failed to grasp the nature of the threat posed by militant Islam and have almost entirely failed to mount an effective counteroffensive against it on the battlefield that matters most: the battlefield of ideas.
In the war of ideas, words matter. Last September, U.S. President Barack Obama insisted that the Islamic State "is not Islamic," and later that month, he told the UN General Assembly that "Islam teaches peace." In November, Obama condemned the beheading of the American aid worker Peter Kassig as "evil" but refused to use the term "radical Islam" to describe the ideology of his killers. The phrase is no longer heard in White House press briefings. The approved term is "violent extremism."
The decision not to call violence committed in the name of Islam by its true name -- jihad -- is a strange one. It would be as if Western leaders during the Cold War had gone around calling communism an ideology of peace or condemning the Baader Meinhof Gang, a West German militant group, for not being true Marxists. It is time to drop the euphemisms and verbal contortions.
A battle for the future of Islam is taking place between reformers and reactionaries, and its outcome matters. The United States needs to start helping the right side win.
How did the United States end up with a strategy based on Orwellian Newspeak? . . .
Ms. Hirsi Ali says the trouble started with the Bush administration, then got worse under President Obama. You can read her essay at Ayaan Hirsi Ali, "A Problem from Heaven: Why the United States Should Back Islam's Reformation," Foreign Affairs, July/August 2015.
[U.S. policy] implies that the United States is fine with people being extremists, so long as they do not resort to violence. Yet this line of reasoning fails to understand the crucial link between those who preach jihad and those who then carry it out.
. . . .
The United States cannot wish away the escalating violence by jihadist groups or the evidence that substantial proportions of many Muslim populations support at least some of their goals (such as imposition of sharia and punishing apostates and those who insult Islam with death).
. . . .
The nonstrategy . . . has failed.
. . . .
[An] estimated 3,400 Westerners, many of them young men and women with promising futures, have voluntarily chosen to leave behind the West's freedoms and prosperity in order to join the Islamic State. More British Muslims have volunteered for the Islamic State than the British military. . . . Already, more than 50 young American Muslims have tried to join the Islamic State, and around half of them have succeeded. It is time to change course.
. . . .
The first step is to recognize that the Muslim world is in the early stages of a religious reformation.
. . . .
[There] are two fundamental obstacles to a reform of Islam. The first is that those who advocate it, even in the mildest terms, are threatened with death as heretics or apostates. The second is that the majority of otherwise peaceful and law-abiding Muslims are unwilling to acknowledge, much less to repudiate, the theological warrants for intolerance and violence embedded in their own religious texts.
. . . .
Already, a growing number of ordinary citizens in the Muslim world, as well as in the West, are calling for reform.
. . . .
Such Islamic thinkers envision a version of their religion that no longer exalts holy war, martyrdom, and life in the hereafter. Abd al-Hamid al-Ansari, a former dean of Islamic law at Qatar University, has said that he "would like the religious scholars, through their religious discourse, to make our youth love life, and not death."
. . . .
[U.S.] officials need to stop publicly whitewashing unreformed Islam.
. . . .
The conventional wisdom today is that the Cold War was won on economics. But this is a misunderstanding of history. In fact, in the 1950s and again in the 1980s, the United States appealed to people living behind the Iron Curtain not only on the basis of Americans' higher standards of living but also -- and perhaps more importantly -- on the basis of individual freedom and the rule of law. Soviet dissidents such as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Andrei Sakharov, and Vaclav Havel did not condemn the Soviet system because its consumer good were shoddy and in short supply. They condemned it because it was lawless, lying, and corrupt.
. . . .
Imagine a [U.S.-supported] platform for Muslim dissidents that communicated their message through YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Imagine ten reformist magazines for every one issue of the Islamic State's Dabiq or al-Qaeda's Inspire. Imagine the argument for Islamic reform being available on radio and television in Arabic, Dari, Farsi, Pashto, and Urdu. Imagine grants and prizes for leading religious reformers. Imagine support for schools that act as anti-madrasahs.
. . . .
There have been many grants [from the Ford Foundation and other charitable foundations] for the study of Islam, but almost none to promote its reform. The same goes for the United States' leading universities, which are currently paralyzed by their fear of being accused of "cultural imperialism" or, worst of all, "Orientalism."
I am not an Orientalist. Nor am I a racist, although like most critics of Islam, I have been accused of that too. I do not believe in the innate backwardness of Arabs or Africans. I do not believe that the Middle East and North Africa are somehow doomed to a perpetual cycle of violence. I am a universalist. I believe that each human being possesses the power of reason, as well as a conscience.
That includes all Muslims. At present, some Muslims ignore both reason and conscience by joining groups such as Boko Haram or the Islamic State, citing textual prescriptions and religious dogma to justify murder and enslavement.
. . . .
Yes, the main responsibility for the Muslim Reformation falls on Muslims themselves. But it must be the duty of the Western world, as well as being in its self-interest, to provide assistance and, where necessary, security to those reformers who are carrying out this formidable task . . . .
FORBES Magazine ranks J.J. Watt as the world's 29th highest-paid athlete over the past twelve months at $27.9 million total -- $20.9 million in salary and $7.0 million in endorsements.
No. 1 highest-paid athlete, according to Forbes:
BEN STEIN, polymath, objects to a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed comparing Hillary Rodham Clinton to Richard Nixon.
Evan Thomas's "Hillary Milhous Clinton" (op-ed, June 10), which attempts to compare Hillary Clinton with Richard Nixon is quite mistaken. Yes, they are both human beings in politics. Yes she feels and he felt antipathy toward to the press.
But Richard Nixon had real accomplishments. He opened China. He brought the POWs home from North Vietnam. He arranged a peace deal that would have worked if Congress had not intervened. He saved Israel in the 1973 Yom Kippur War by sending in missile-jamming technology when it was a life or death matter. He made the first Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty with the U.S.S.R. He desegregated the last holdout school districts. He put into place major environmental law. He was the first president to send Congress a proposed law for universal health coverage.
His inauguration came at a turbulent time. He left in turbulent times. But his gifts to the nation were immense. He was the ultimate peacemaker.
Hillary Clinton's main achievements are a vast amount of air travel as secretary of state with nothing to show for it, a spectacular record of helping her husband bully and mistreat women, and breaking the law by erasing emails she was required by law to protect and preserve. As a senator, her achievements were nil.
To compare this self-obsessed, no-achievements woman with a man who genuinely gave us a generation of peace is deeply inappropriate.
Ben Stein, Malibu, California
(Ben Stein, Opinion: Letters: "Clinton Comparison Unfair to Nixon," The Wall Street Journal, June 19, 2015 (emphasis added))
. . . four W's right: who? what? where? and when?
From last Saturday's typically lamentable "Ups and Downs" editorial:
The rule of law no longer holds at the United States Supreme Court or in the White House or in the agencies.
Consent of the governed no longer holds at the United States Supreme Court or in the White House.
America, like Greece, borrows and spends more money than it can ever reasonably expect to repay. The difference, besides scale, is that America has not yet run out of other people's money. It will.
The only hope of getting a grip on spending is to set budgets through regular order in Congress. That means hearings, votes, amendments -- the hard stuff. Democrats detest regular order and will insist on stopping the budget process in the Senate. Why? To trigger yet another budget crisis, then set the budget the same way Democrats have set it so far in the Obama years: by continuing resolutions that say approximately this: everything we spent last year plus a whole bunch more. That's it.
Intellectual freedom is under furious assault in academia.
Perfervid mobs set our daily agenda.
The press has ceased to function as a guardian of truth, civilization, or the Republic. The press now howls with the mob.
Males are checking out of the culture and the economy.
Families are fading as carriers of culture and civilization. Forty-plus percent of all babies are born to single mothers. The left sees no problem with this.
America has, indeed, been fundamentally transformed.
. . . the goofy algorithms the online vendors use to tell us what we like:
Amazon tells me that people who like Lyle Lovett and Emmylou Harris also buy records by James Taylor. I would rather . . .
. . . you're going to find these angels who are going to organize society for us?"
Liberals and progressives believe they are these angels. They're not, of course.
Enjoy Milton Friedman's 1979 takedown of Phil Donohue:
BRET STEPHENS says Nancy Pelosi's Democratic Party is the 21st-century heir of the Know Nothing Party. In part, he's talking about Democrats' now almost-universal opposition to free trade. Mr. Stephens quotes a famous economist:
"Why do policy wonks who will happily watch hundreds of hours of talking heads droning on about the global economy refuse to sit still for the ten minutes or so it takes to explain [David] Ricardo?" So asked one famous economist in the mid-1990s, making fun of intellectuals who couldn't grasp the great English economist's concept of comparative advantage" with its implication that trade between two nations normally raises the real incomes of both."
To this economist, Ricardo's ideas were as self-evident as Darwin's -- beyond dispute except to quacks and creationists. The economist was Paul Krugman.
Now Mr. Krugman has become the kind of "pop internationalist" he once despised, and he leans against [the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal]. Try naming three prominent liberals or Democratic heavyweights who support the president on trade. Such is the state of a party in which Barack Obama is the extreme-right flank.
The Democratic turn against trade is part of the wider progressive march away from the centrist moorings that anchored it in the 1990s and made it a winner. But that march is also part of the liberal retreat from the world, and from the idea that the U.S. [read United States] should serve as an economic, political and security anchor for free nations everywhere.
(Bret Stephens, "The New Liberal Know Nothings," The Wall Street Journal, June 15, 2015)
A GREAT MYSTERY of our time is how the left has fundamentally transformed itself from passionate supporters of the state of Israel to even more passionate adversaries.
How passionate was support of Israel in olden days? Consider this unsigned piece -- essentially an editorial -- in the January 1976 issue of "Harper's." It was written after passage in the United Nations of the infamous Resolution 3379, declaring Zionism a form of racism. Harper's editor at the time, Lewis H. Lapham, was a classical liberal. Here's what his magazine had to say about the vote. I have set some of the text in boldface to call to your attention to it. Moynihan saw early evidence of the national self-loathing that defines the modern left.
On November in the General Assembly . . . by a vote of 72-35 with 32 abstentions, passed a resolution defining Zionism as a "form of racism and racial discrimination." Intended as an attack against Israel (and by extension against the ideas associated with democracy, civil liberties, and human rights), the resolution was introduced in the Social, Cultural, and Humanitarian Committee of the U.N. by the bloc of Arab nations. It encourages the member states to look upon support for Israel as a criminal act. If enforced by literal-minded governments (or by governments choosing to be literal-minded as a pretext for miscellaneous depredations) the resolution could transform anti-Semitism into a noble cause. The majority voting in favor of its passage consisted of the Communist counties making alliance with those nations of Africa, Asia, and Latin America that conceive of themselves as the vanguard of the revolution said to be reclaiming the Third World from ignorance and despair.
The furious and impotent rage that animates so much of their rhetoric suggests that their revolution has failed. The cheering that accompanied the counting of the votes . . . contained the mockery of self-defeat. Once conceived of as the last, best hope of peace in the world, the U.N. appeared to have changed itself into a headquarters tent convenient for plotting wars and demolitions, an assembly that reserved its warmest applause for Yasir Arafat with a gun under his coat.
When it was organized in San Francisco in 1945, the U.N. envisioned an entirely different kind of transformation. For a number of years, possibly as many as fifteen, the U.N. attempted to imbue the words of its charter with meaning and political structure. It do so with the customary failures and hypocrisies, but a surprising number of its members worked to extend the fragile lines of civil liberty across the old colonial frontiers. In the early 1960s a host of new nations clamored for admission into the U.N., all of them struggling to let fall what their orators invariably described as "the shackles of imperialism." As a correspondent assigned to the U.N. in those days, I remember their excitement with the spaciousness of their newfound freedom. They spoke in a sudden rush of words, as if unaccustomed to speaking to anybody of whom they were not afraid. Hoping to redress the balance of accumulated wrongs, they sought to form a coalition of the weak against the tyranny of the strong.
Within a decade, most of them had been killed or forced into exile. Their revolutions passed through brief periods of representative government and then subsided into the primitive lethargy of military despotism. Nothing was ever enough. The poor nations looked into the shop windows of the West and wanted more of everything -- more money, more guns, more medals, more of what they came to believe was owed to them for the years of breaking stones. If it was true (as the smiling enthusiasts in the West so often ans so easily said) that the imperialist nations had plundered the wealth of the subcontinents, then was it not also true that those nations would restore the value of everything that had been made into jewelry and automobiles? No, it was not true; neither was it convenient or possible. The promises of the 1960s expired (in New York as well as in Saigon and New Delhi), the currency of inflated expectations collapsed under the weight of bad debts. So much had been hoped for, and as little had come to pass as in the days of Caesar Augustus. If in 1961 the U.N. seemed to offer the means by which the strong might make the world a paradise for the weak, by 1971 it provided the armaments with which the weak might reduce the strong to an equality of misery.
MORE THAN ANYTHING else it is the impotence of the Third World that reveals itself in the Zionism resolution. Having failed in its attempt to vote Israel out of the U.N., the Arab bloc settled for the gesture of contempt and for the insult of inviting the Palestinian Liberation Organization to the Middle East peace talks in Geneva. Both actions presumably suited the policy of the Communist countries. If the U.N. can be discredited, if the cause of revolution can be seen to have been lost, then so much the better for the interests of the totalitarian state. The Arab nations no doubt believe themselves magically protected by their newly appropriated Alladin's lamp (witness the ease with which OPEC can raise the price of oil), and it is probably that they can buy as many votes as the need in the impoverished market of the Third World. Had the anticolonialist revolution succeeded the smaller nations might have had the strength to refuse the bribe. Because the revolution failed they could only express their weakness by performing the fantasy of omnipotence. Their revolutions have been put back in the cage. The keepers somehow acquired new uniforms, exchanging the muted gray of the imperialist civil service for the brightly colored epaulets of the indigenous dictator, but the old rules remain in force Of the seventy-two nations voting in favor of the Zionist resolution, the majority are tyrannies.
On the day after the vote, the United States Congress resolved to question the usefulness of continued U.S. support to the U.N.; elsewhere in the world the general opinion tended toward equally bleak prophecies. Among the people commissioned to maintain a level of reason in international affair the General Assembly has long since been recognized as a theater of the absurd. The trouble with the vote against Israel is the harm that it does to the good opinion of the U.N. still clung to by the world at large. The heaviest losses will be incurred by precisely those nations that have the most to gain from the continued existence of the U.N., not only as a place of business but also as an idea. As the wealthier states come to conduct their business in isolated luxury . . . . so also will the poor nations forfeit the dignity of being asked about the disposition of their geography and political aspirations.
(Unsigned, "Caged Revolution: Variations on a Modern Theme," Harper's, January 1976)
In the same issue Daniel P. Moynihan, the great liberal intellectual of our time, wrote of a national crisis of confidence in America, "the trouble we have in trusting ourselves." This was, remember, in the aftermath of Watergate and it coincided with the de facto bankruptcy of New York City, a harbinger of much that came later and much yet to come. Furthermore, the U.S. economy was in deep recession.
There are those in this country whose pleasure, or profit, it is to believe that our assailants are motivated by which is wrong about us. They are wrong. We are assailed because of what is right about us. We are assailed because we are a democracy.
A quarter-century ago the future looked good enough for democracy, at least in most parts of the world. The old democracies of Europe were reviving. Old autocracies, such as Japan, seem to be following the evolution that had given way to democracy in Western Europe, and would have done so in Eastern Europe had not the Bolsheviks seized power. One by one the colonies of Africa and Asia were becoming independent. And one by one they were establishing democratic regimes.
All this has changed. One by one the new democracies have disappeared, and even some of the old ones. In the United Nations today there are in the range of two dozen democracies left. Totalitarian Communist regimes and assorted ancient and modern despotisms make up all the rest. And nothing so unites these nations as the conviction that their success ultimately depends on our failure. . . .
It is no accident that His Excellency Field Marshal Al Hadji Ida Amin Dada, President of the Republic of Uganda -- to give him his U.N. title -- has called for "the extinction of Israel as a state." And it is no accident, I fear, that this "racist murderer" -- as one of our leading newspapers called him -- is head of the Organization of African Unity. For Israel is a democracy, and it is simply the fact that despotisms will seek whatever opportunities come to hand to destroy that which threatens them most, which is democracy.
. . . .
. . . . It seemed to me [last year] that many of the new countries of the world had inherited, mostly from Western Europe, a decent and honorable tradition of democratic socialism which, if it had a certain anti-American bias, was nonetheless a tradition that we could work with and respect. A year later I am not at all sure about that. Such as been the success of Communist arms, Communist intrigue, Communist treachery in Asia and Africa that the reputation of democracy in those regions has all but collapsed.
The United Nations, Moynihan said, "has done damn little for democracy."
All that talk of freedom gets frightenly close to the Orwellian inversion: War is Peace; Slavery is Liberty; Injustice is Justice. . . . [Most] of the new states and most of the old ones have ended up enemies of freedom as we know it and as we have tried to preserve it.
What is going on is a systematic effort to create an international society in which government is the one and only legitimate institution. The old dream of an international economic order in which one single nation dominated is being replaced by a not so different vision of the domination of a single idea, the idea of the all-encompassing state which has no provision for the liberties of individuals.
. . . .
[The] United Nations has become a locus of a general assault by the majority of the nations in the world on the principles of liberal democracy . . . . It was not Zionism that was condemned at the United Nations, it was Israel; and not the state of Israel nearly so much as the significance of Israel as one of the very few places, outside of Western Europe and North America and a few offshore islands, where Western democratic principles survive. . . .
. . . .
IT IS PRECISELY a concern for civilization, for civilized values that are or should be precious to all mankind, that arouses us at this moment to such special passion. . . . [At issue] is the integrity of that whole body of moral and legal precepts which we know as human rights.
. . . . The harm will arise first because it will strip from racism the precise and abhorrent meaning that it still precariously holds today. . . .
. . . . Today we have drained the word racism of its meaning. . . .
. . . . The idea of human rights as we know it today is not an idea that has always existed in human affairs. It is an idea which appeared at a specific time in the world, and under very specific circumstances. It appeared when European philosophers of the seventeenth century began to argue that man was a being whose existence was independent from that of the state, that he need join a political community only if he did not lose by that association more than he gained. From this very specific political philosophy stemmed the idea of political rights, of claims that the individual could justly make against the state; it was because the individual was seen as so separate from the state that he could make legitimate demands upon it
That was the idea from which the idea of domestic and international rights sprang. But most of the world does not hold with that philosophy now. Most of the world believes in newer modes of political thought, in philosophies that do not accept the individual as distinct from and prior to the state, in philosophies that therefore do not provide any justification for the idea of human rights and philosophies that have no words to explain their value. . . .
The United States of America declares that it does not acknowledge, it will not abide by, it will never acquiesce in this infamous act.
(Daniel P. Moynihan, "A Diplomat's Rhetoric," Harper's, January 1976.)
On which side of these questions of freedom and democracy does today's American left stand? How likely is it that the American president today privately agrees with Resolution 3379? Or that he would ever speak with passion about Israel's right to exist, its "significance," as Moynihan put it, or the Western ideal of individual freedom? How likely that he would unselfconsciously or unironically speak favorably of Western civilization? And how likely is it that he would negotiate, if that is the right word, with Israel's sworn adversaries to assist that adversary -- for that is what he is doing -- in acquiring nuclear weapons?
Today's heirs of Daniel Patrick Moynihan and classical liberalism are not today's Democrats. The true heirs are the folks we now call conservatives.
Want to read more of this sort of thing? Lucky you. A copy of this very magazine is now on offer at eBay. Join the bidding.
. . . said the United States is -- slowly but inexorably -- going broke. The response from the media: near total silence. The response from the left: ditto.
Do liberals and progressives think the CBO is wrong? If so, how? Or does the left . . .
IF PROFESSOR A in various fora -- before an academic senate, at the "free speech" area of the quad, during student advising, in a faculty meeting, or during class -- announced that on-campus, Christian student groups . . .
AMONG LIBERALS, it's almost universally assumed that of the two major parties, it's the Republicans who have become more extreme over the years. That's a self-flattering but . . .