Sunday, June 16, 2019

tidbits that caught my eye

Seen on Instapundit:

[Texas governor] Gregg Abbott Is Making It Fun To Watch Authoritarianism Die

It may be increasingly infested with blue voters, but Texas is still an example of what a state should look like, and it’s only getting increasingly better while Governor Greg Abbott is in charge.

Over the past few months, Republican legislators have been working with Abbott to take the government’s hands off the people. Superfluous laws and authoritarian actions are dying highly public deaths, and Abbott is making it all too entertaining to watch.

Abbott has a habit of taking to social media to allow you to watch the signing of bills that pry the government’s kung-fu grip off of the people. This includes red light cameras, looser liquor laws—including one that allows it to be delivered directly to your home like a pizza—a law protecting free speech on campus, and even a law that allows children to open up a lemonade stand without running into the law.

Hispanics Stick with Trump Despite Tough Border Stance

President Trump is poised to launch his 2020 reelection as popular with Hispanic voters as other Republicans, bucking predictions that provocative nationalist rhetoric and hard-line border policies would crater his support with this critical bloc.

When Trump, four years ago Saturday, descended the escalator to the lobby of his iconic New York skyscraper and announced his first campaign, he riffed that Mexicans "with lots of problems," including rapists, were crossing the southern border. Many Republicans, establishment and otherwise, were mortified. They fretted that nominating Trump, never mind electing him, would permanently doom the GOP with Hispanics.

It hasn’t worked out that way. Available polling consistently shows Hispanic support for the president at around 30% — about the same as it has been for many Republican politicians post-George W. Bush and pre-Trump. Indeed, [some] party insiders focused on improving Hispanic support for the GOP now contend that he has room to grow with this cohort in [the] next election.

“He starts in a much better place for reelection than when he launched his 2016 campaign,” said Daniel Garza, a Bush administration veteran who runs the Libre Initiative, a Koch network group that encourages Hispanics to embrace conservative policies. “One would think immigration would be a major anchor for him, but he’s turned it into at least a push,” he said, suggesting his policies would neither harm nor help the president.

That’s quite a turnabout for Garza. Here is what he told the Washington Examiner about Trump in August 2015: “His positions are indefensible. I would actually rise up against him.”

Unlike House, U.S. Senate Unanimously Condemns Anti-Semitism

When you write about anti-Semitism, there’s typically not much good news to report; the world’s oldest hatred has been making a comeback not only overseas, but also here in the US of A. So, it’s both good and important to pause and celebrate the U.S. Senate unanimously passing a resolution that unequivocally condemns anti-Semitism.

Where the House of Representatives fumbled, the Senate succeeded. And thank G-d for that.

In March, the House struggled to rebuke blatantly anti-Semitic remarks from freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar. Rather than forcefully denounce anti-Semitism within their own ranks, House members passed a watered-down resolution calling out out all hatred. While that message was unobjectionable, it was also totally non-responsive to the historical moment.

By contrast, Sens. Ted Cruz and Tim Kaine led the Senate in embracing a resolution yesterday that squarely condemns anti-Semitism in all of its forms. The Senate resolution offers a sweeping historical view of anti-Semitism across borders and millennia. It recognizes that the virus of anti-Semitism is different than other forms of hatred, has occurred both overseas and domestically, and that it requires a unique, targeted condemnation.

In addition to citing pogroms, forced conversions, and the Holocaust, the resolution mentions that Jews retain the dubious honor of being the most targeted religious group for hate crimes. While Omar isn’t named, the resolution alludes to her poisonous remarks, noting that “Jews have faced, and continue to face, false accusations of divided loyalty between the United States and Israel, [and] false claims that they purchase political power with money.” Given the struggle to pass [anti-boycott] legislation on the Hill this year, the resolution also crucially castigates those who would “boycott, confiscate[,] or destroy Jewish businesses.”


Contrast all of this with what’s happened in the United Kingdom. Joan Ryan, a British member of Parliament who left the Labour Party over anti-Semitism earlier this year, recently spoke about her experience at the American Jewish Committee’s 2019 Global Forum.

Asked what lessons she’d offer Americans about arresting (any or all) political parties’ slide toward anti-Semitism, Ryan replied, “It is important that others in different parts of the world look at what’s happened to us because it happened so fast and it’s gone so deep, that really it is quite unbelievable. So, I think you have to be ever vigilant.”

She advised, “You call out anti-Semitism wherever, whenever you come across it, and you do it right from the beginning. You don’t wait. It’s like a virus, and if you don’t do that right from day one, right from the first instance, then it will take [hold].”

Styx comments on that horrible bigot, Donald Trump, whose global initiative to decriminalize homosexuality, especially in countries where gays are thrown off the tops of buildings, seems to have had an effect. Styx observes that Trump will naturally receive no credit for this.

Styx has also been beating the drum regarding the Ebola crisis in Africa, which the West, disturbingly, has been ignoring. The epidemic has spread from one country to another (Congo to Uganda), but despite the increasing number of victims,

WHO unexpectedly declines, again, to call Ebola outbreak a global emergency

In a controversial decision, the World Health Organization (WHO) has again decided not to declare Africa’s latest Ebola outbreak, which has killed more than 1400 people and just crossed into a new country, a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). “It was the view of the committee that the outbreak is a health emergency in the Democratic Republic of Congo [DRC] and the region, but it does not meet all [the PHEIC] criteria,” Preben Aavitsland, acting chair of an expert committee convened by WHO, said at a press conference on Friday evening in Geneva, Switzerland.

The committee gathered for the third time after news emerged this week that the virus had spread from the DRC to neighboring Uganda, so far killing two people there—a 5-year-old boy and his grandmother—who had crossed the border. Many infectious disease experts and public officials had expected, and called for, WHO to declare a PHEIC when Ebola broke out of the DRC. “I’m baffled and deeply troubled by this decision,” Lawrence Gostin, director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., tells ScienceInsider. “The status quo is no longer tenable. It is time to sound a global alert.”

One comedian noted that a major effect of Ebola is that it instills the desire to get on a plane and go to a foreign country. And you still think strict border control is a racist idea?

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