Archive for July, 2016
28 Jul 2016

Peter Theil Was Wrong

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PittengerLetter

Rod Dreher has an excellent retort to Peter Theil’s claim, made during the RNC, that the Culture Wars were only “a distraction.”

Culturally speaking, to be born in many places in the US is to suffer an irreversible lifelong defeat. If you come from a culturally conservative region, or family, you understand that the people who make the decisions in this culture are on the other side. At best they regard you as irrelevant. At worst, they hate you, and want to grind your nose in the dirt. Whatever the case, the things you value, that are important to your identity, and your sense of how the world is supposed to work, are either fading away or being taken from you — and you can’t do anything about it.

Consider the bathroom debate that Thiel finds so irrelevant. Thiel lives in the San Francisco Bay area. Perhaps he genuinely cannot understand the sense of violation that many of his fellow Americans feel when they are told that men dressed like women must be allowed to use the women’s bathroom in public places. But it’s real. And maybe he doesn’t get the utter hypocrisy of corporate elites on this issue, captured by one North Carolina Congressman:

(see above)

Believe me, a lot of us notice. Ordinary people who have never had a thought about theory in their lives see the world they took as normal, as stable, as comprehensible, disappearing in front of their eyes, driven by forces they cannot understand, much less control.

Read the whole thing.

Hat tip to Vanderleun.

28 Jul 2016

Signs of War

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Grechka
Buckwheat groats and mushrooms

Jill Dougherty found alarming seasonal signs in Russia and in bordering regions.

Recently, I grabbed a taxi in Moscow. When the driver asked me where I was from, I told him the United States. “I went there once,” he said, “to Chicago. I really liked it.”

“But tell me something,” he added. “When are we going to war?”

The question, put so starkly, so honestly, shocked me. “Well, I hope never,” I replied. “No one wants war.”

At the office I ask a Russian employee about the mood in his working-class Moscow neighborhood. The old people are buying salt, matches and “gretchka,” (buckwheat) he tells me – the time-worn refuge for Russians stocking up on essentials in case of war.

In the past two months, I’ve traveled to the Baltic region, to Georgia, and to Russia. Talk of war is everywhere.

Hat tip to Vanderleun.

28 Jul 2016

On the Recent Normandy Terrorist Attack

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CarlosMaslaton1

From Carlos Maslatón, Buenos Aires:

(rough translation by someone who never studied Spanish in school:)

It is logical that this happens. It makes perfect sense that Islamic State terrorists kill the good Christians and not the evil that confronts them. I have tried to explain to Europeans and Yankees the best I can for 35 years without success because what I say is counterintuitive, and this is what I have been expressing in this forum since the beginning of Facebook. Just that the first to be liquidated by the jihadists will be those who want to be their friends or that send them messages asking to live in peace. Why does this happen? You have to understand the mentality of these people. For them every gesture of restraint is a sign of debility and if you transmit weakness that means that you will allow them to kill you, that you will not defend yourself, that you’re a very easy target. The second thing they recognize is that you do not believe in your own religion either, because alien evil could not propagate or organize in your midst, if there was opposition to them or to their wild preachings. On Facebook, since the beginning of the Arab Spring in 2011, there have been a collection of examples of instances in which the target was the good Westerner approaching the Arabs to provide them with “social aid,” trying to redeem them from what from Europeans or Americans considered to a be a “lower evolutionary state.” Thus they are naturally indignant and kidnap, violate and kill the young leftists going to the Middle East seeking peace and friendship with the Arabs, including these irresponsible girls with a completely anti-Jewish message, part of the Anti-Israel Movement. Such gestures to the Arabs did not work. They ended up as sex slaves and were then killed. Remember that the Arabs do not like to be treated as if they were American Indians in the times of the Jesuit missions. They do not need any Westerner to put them to work, to order their lives, and to tell them what it is they have to do. Any French or German during this European Civil War who shows himself to be a friend of Muslims, he is a candidate for the morgue. The prospects of surviving and conquering are open and complete for the Islamic enemy. Once again, note that Islamic State hardly ever operates against Israel, having found that at the moment it is lacking an operational capacity to overcome her. Let everyone draw his own conclusions. The warnings were duly presented.

27 Jul 2016

DNC Poll

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27 Jul 2016

About That Speech…

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27 Jul 2016

Are You Quite Sure About That?

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DNCWall

27 Jul 2016

And the Endorsements Keep Rolling In…

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trump-kim

Reuters:

North Korea has backed presumptive U.S. Republican nominee Donald Trump, with a propaganda website praising him as “a prescient presidential candidate” who can liberate Americans living under daily fear of nuclear attack by the North.

A column carried on Tuesday by DPRK Today, one of the reclusive and dynastic state’s mouthpieces, described Trump as a “wise politician” and the right choice for U.S. voters in the Nov. 8 U.S. presidential election.

It described his most likely Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, as “thick-headed Hillary” over her proposal to apply the Iran model of wide sanctions to resolve the nuclear weapons issue on the Korean peninsula.

Read the whole thing.

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But, hey! Kim Jong-Un was undoubtedly just reciprocating. After all, back in January, Donald Trump had kind words for North Korea’s insane and murderous dictator. In fact, he praised him specifically for his ruthlessness and brutality.

Telegraph:

Donald Trump has praised the leadership style of North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong-un, for the “amazing” way he murders political rivals.

During a Republican political rally in Iowa at the weekend, he repeated his assertion that Muslims should not be allowed to enter the US before turning his attention to the North Korean despot, who has carried out frequent purges of officials.

“You’ve got to give him credit. How many young guys – he was like 26 or 25 when his father died – take over these tough generals, and all of a sudden… he goes in, he takes over, he’s the boss,” said Mr Trump, known for his own less than subtle style of leadership in the American version of The Apprentice.

“It’s incredible. He wiped out the uncle, he wiped out this one, that one. This guy doesn’t play games.

27 Jul 2016

Not Everyone, Of Course, Is Quite So Positive

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27 Jul 2016

Best DNC Speech

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BillClintonDNC

My Yale classmate Charles Lipson (now teaching law at Chicago) admires the slickness of Slick Willie over at the Huffington Post.

Bill Clinton’s convention speech was a tour de force. He had a difficult task to accomplish, or rather, several difficult tasks, and he performed them as well as any politician could.

His overriding task was to humanize Hillary and reintroduce her to America, for the 37th time. He spent much of his speech doing that, sharing anecdotes of Hillary as a student, a loving daughter from a good Midwestern family, a young woman willing to take chances, and a new mother raising Chelsea—all while working on important policy issues in Arkansas. He subtly depicted her as the leader in their marriage, or at least an equal partner, suggesting he knew how to become a “First Husband” and was ready for the role. He spoke of their meeting in the Yale Law Library, falling in love, giving birth to Chelsea, raising her, and taking her to college, becoming empty nesters.

In short, Bill Clinton depicted a real person in a real marriage. It is widely assumed, of course, that their marriage is a sham, filled with his cheating and her cold fury, held together only by their political ambitions. As Dennis Miller once put it, “Bill and Hillary’s marriage couldn’t have been any more about convenience than if they’d installed a Slim Jim rack and Slurpee machine at the base of their bed.” Bill’s speech was a long, brilliantly-crafted and perfectly-delivered effort to paint over that image and present a new one. …

In sum, he painted a portrait of someone who deserves to be elected, if you believe the portrait. But do you?

Bill’s whole speech led up to that question, and he did not leave it hanging. Using the Tom Sawyer approach he has honed over decades, he asked it directly. He said that he had just described a person who was very different from the person Republicans described last week. That means one of them is real, one’s a cartoon. The question is, which picture is the real Hillary? He answered that question in his quietest, most sincere tones, biting his lip and inviting empathy.

It was the work of a master salesman. He brought the buyers into the showroom, showed them a “great buy, exactly what you need” and pointed out all the bells and whistles. But he cannot close the deal himself. He’s not running; Hillary is, and she lacks Bill’s rhetorical gifts and zest for campaigning. He loves to touch the flesh; she recoils from it. She is a grating, hectoring speaker and a far less effective campaigner than Bill Clinton (or Donald Trump). Now that Bill has primed the customers, the big question is “Can Hillary close the deal?”

Read the whole thing.

26 Jul 2016

OK, Two More

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26 Jul 2016

One More

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26 Jul 2016

Tweet of the Day

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26 Jul 2016

Who Hacked the DNC?

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APT29

Michael Isikoff reports that there are clues to the hackers’ identity.

Just weeks after she started preparing opposition research files on Donald Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort last spring, Democratic National Committee consultant Alexandra Chalupa got an alarming message when she logged into her personal Yahoo email account.

“Important action required,” read a pop-up box from a Yahoo security team that is informally known as “the Paranoids.” “We strongly suspect that your account has been the target of state-sponsored actors.”

Chalupa — who had been drafting memos and writing emails about Manafort’s connection to pro-Russian political leaders in Ukraine — quickly alerted top DNC officials. “Since I started digging into Manafort, these messages have been a daily oc­­­­currence on my Yahoo account despite changing my p­­a­ssword often,” she wrote in a May 3 email to Luis Miranda, the DNC’s communications director, which included an attached screengrab of the image of the Yahoo security warning.

“I was freaked out,” Chalupa, who serves as director of “ethnic engagement” for the DNC, told Yahoo News in an interview, noting that she had been in close touch with sources in Kiev, Ukraine, including a number of investigative journalists, who had been providing her with information about Manafort’s political and business dealings in that country and Russia.

“This is really scary,” she said.

Chalupa’s message is among nearly 20,000 hacked internal DNC emails that were posted over the weekend by WikiLeaks as the Democratic Party gathered for its national convention in Philadelphia. Those emails have already provoked a convulsion in Democratic Party ranks, leading to the resignation of DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz in the wake of posted messages in which she and other top DNC officials privately derided Bernie Sanders and plotted to undercut his insurgent campaign against Hillary Clinton.

But Chalupa’s message, which had not been previously reported, stands out: It is the first indication that the reach of the hackers who penetrated the DNC has extended beyond the official email accounts of committee officials to include their private email and potentially the content on their smartphones. After Chalupa sent the email to Miranda (which mentions that she had invited this reporter to a meeting with Ukrainian journalists in Washington), it triggered high-level concerns within the DNC, given the sensitive nature of her work. “That’s when we knew it was the Russians,” said a Democratic Party source who has knowledge of the internal probe into the hacked emails. In order to stem the damage, the source said, “we told her to stop her research.” …

In mid-June, Democratic Party suspicions about the hackers seemed to be confirmed when CrowdStrike, an outside security firm retained by the DNC, reported that it traced the hackers to two separate units linked to Russia’s security services: the FSB, Russia’s equivalent of the FBI, and GRU, the country’s military intelligence agency. The company noted strong similarities between the attack on the DNC by the suspected GRU hackers and previous cyberintrusions of unclassified systems at the White House, the State Department and the offices of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. (After discovering the data breach, a DNC security source said its cyberexperts noted that the hackers’ exfiltration of files took place “9 to 5, Moscow time.”)

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Patrick Tucker, at the Atlantic, has more details.

Considerable evidence shows that the Wikileaks dump was an orchestrated act by the Russian government, working through proxies, to undermine Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

“This has all the hallmarks of tradecraft. The only rationale to release such data from the Russian bulletproof host was to empower one candidate against another. The Cold War is alive and well,” Tom Kellermann, the CEO of Strategic Cyber Ventures said.

Here’s the timeline: On June 14, the cybersecurity company CrowdStrike, under contract with the DNC, announced in a blog post that two separate Russian intelligence groups had gained access to the DNC network. One group, FANCY BEAR or APT 28, gained access in April. The other, COZY BEAR, (also called Cozy Duke and APT 29) first breached the network in the summer of 2015.

The cybersecurity company FireEye first discovered APT 29 in 2014 and was quick to point out a clear Kremlin connection. “We suspect the Russian government sponsors the group because of the organizations it targets and the data it steals. Additionally, APT29 appeared to cease operations on Russian holidays, and their work hours seem to align with the UTC +3 time zone, which contains cities such as Moscow and St. Petersburg,” they wrote in their report on the group. Other U.S. officials have said that the group looks like it has sponsorship from the Russian government due in large part to the level of sophistication behind the group’s attacks.

26 Jul 2016

Last Night’s Democrat Convention

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DNC1

Watchdog.org:

The DNC list of “communities” — 14 in all — include African-Americans, Americans with Disabilities, European and Mediterranean Americans, a First Caucus and Faith Caucus, a gay and lesbian caucus and a Latino caucus, a caucus for youth, for seniors and for women.

All-inclusive, right? Of course, as long as you’re, uh, included.

The Pew Research Center — in a poll of 2,373 registered voters this spring — found women, in general, supported President Obama, 53 percent to 40 percent. Among 221 black people — it did not delineate between black men and black women — 95 percent favored Obama. The poll had a margin of error of 2.1 percentage points.

But the inclusion makes an important omission: white men, particularly those of working age, say between 30 and 64.

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Even former-Conservative now-Progressive, turncoat Andrew Sullivan, convention-blogging at New York Magazine, grew uncomfortable early on last night with all the identity-group pandering.

9:15 p.m. A reader is exactly where I am:

    I left the Republican party last week after 20 years of voting for, working for, and giving to its candidates. I forgot why I was for it. I heard nothing about the rule of law, limited government, or free enterprise. It has become a grotesque alternation between ambiguous bigotry and overt bigotry; I wanted nothing to do with it. I almost forgot why I am a conservative.

    Tonight it is all coming rushing back to me. Is there nowhere to go for someone who is pro-immigrant and pro-rule of law? Also, this parade of identity politics is condescending and embarrassing for everyone participating. Why can’t we just treat people like people? It would be nice if the Democrats had some African-Americans, Hispanics, gays, or women speak who did not think that their race/orientation/sex was the only interesting thing about themselves or even the most interesting thing about themselves. Couldn’t they have had a disabled girl who was not so entirely predictably and tediously just another flavor of victim?

    I remain politically homeless.

Me too.

Of course, this did not actually keep Andrew from instantly reversing himself and reaffirming his loyalty to leftism.

But we nonetheless have to back the Clintons this time. The survival of liberal democracy is in the balance.

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