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Surprise! Hispanic American Voters Are People Too



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A Washington Post report on the Coffman-Romanoff U.S. House race in the Denver suburbs (a toss-up, according to RCP) undermines amnesty-pushers’ insistence that our fellow citizens of Hispanic heritage are fixated on immigration policy:

Political observers in Washington constantly call immigration reform essential to the future of the Republican Party, especially in districts like Coffman’s and in states like Colorado, where Hispanics make up about 21 percent of the population.

But the reality on the ground has played out differently in this midterm cycle, even in a district where the issue might be expected to resonate: Both Coffman and Romanoff say their constituents, even in the Hispanic community, are much more likely to raise concerns about the economy or the cost of living than about immigration reform.

Imagine that. The point is reiterated further down the story:

“The border crisis has resonated more with Republicans than with others, and border security became a bigger priority,” said Mark Hugo Lopez, director of Hispanic Research at the Pew Research Center. Still, he said: “It is not the dominant issue” at the forefront of the electorate’s mind.

Even among Hispanics, other issues are more likely to take precedence. “I don’t think that immigration is the only issue that is important to the Latino community,” said Christine Alonzo, executive director of the Colorado Latino Leadership, Advocacy and Research Organization, which is helping register Hispanic voters in and around Aurora. “The economy and jobs and affordable housing are very important.”

In other words, a Republican message on jobs and the economy that connects with ordinary voters in general is likely to also resonate with a significant share of Hispanic voters in particular. This simply reinforces the prior polling showing that immigration is a relatively low priority for Hispanic voters.

This isn’t all good news for the GOP. The fact that most Hispanics vote Democrat regardless of immigration policy means most of them actually share that party’s big-government liberalism, despite all the condescending hokum about Hispanics’ “natural conservatism.” But the good news is that a GOP that is strong on immigration (though not disrespectful in tone toward immigrants) but also offers something to voters who don’t have car-elevators is one that can win a significant share of the votes of Hispanic Americans.

The solution to the GOP’s electoral woes, then, isn’t amnesty and increased immigration but rather policies focused on the concerns of ordinary workers, what Senator Sessions has called “a humble and honest populism.” The focus by GOP political operatives on immigration as the explanation for defeat is, in part, an attempt to avoid such needed reforms.

NBC’s Richard Engel: U.S. ‘Living in a Delusion’ with ISIS Strategy



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The United States and its allies’ strategy for combating the Islamic State faces “many contradictions,” namely taking action that will likely benefit Syrian president Bashar Assad, warned NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel.

“They’re living in a delusion,” he said on MSNBC on Monday.

He explained that even though the U.S. and others have no intention of aiding Assad, launching air strikes against the Islamic State will do exactly that and will strengthen his regime, as well as potentially Iran’s. “If the airstrikes happen, Assad is going to benefit — it is Assad’s forces and Iran’s forces that are going to move in and take that territory,” Engel said.

Ultimately, helping Assad regain ground in the country, while also refusing to work with the president is an inconsistent policy, he said.

“That’s a fundamental contradiction, one of many contradictions that will emerge the deeper they dig into this,” Engel said.

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The Ex-Im Bank’s War on Women



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As the Washingotn Examiner’s Tim Carney reported last week, the Chamber of Commerce’s blog channels the spirit of Betty Friedan in their latest offering in defense of Ex-Im – ”The Export-Import Bank: Fostering the Spirit of Enterprise for Women.” With as much passion and factual grounding as a standard KCNA article, the Chamber touts Ex-Im’s “important role” for women-owned businesses in an effort to convince Congress to continue propping up the profits of the biggest U.S. exporters. Carney writes:

It’s the “Life of Julia: Corporate Welfare Edition.” Defenders of the Export-Import Bank have found a new approach to promoting its existence – just tie opposition to the government financier to the “war on women” narrative.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the foremost lobbying force for Ex-Im, recently posted an article on how crucial the bank is to women-owned businesses. Citing the chamber’s own research on women entrepreneurs, writers Stefanie Holland and Roberta Phillips note that “women-owned firms have grown at one-and-a-half times the rate of other small enterprises in the last 15 years and now account for nearly 30 percent of all new businesses.” 

“Ex-Im provides loans, loan guarantees, and export credit insurance to help cover financing gaps for American exporters,” the chamber wrote. “Last year the Bank provided financing or loan guarantees for $34.7 billion in U.S. exports and supported more than 200,000 American jobs.”

And the chamber is happy to note that “nearly 90 percent of Ex-Im’s transactions support the exports of small and medium-size businesses.”

Even more importantly, the chamber wrote, “one in five of the Bank’s authorizations supported women- and minority-owned businesses.”

The Chamber of Commerce claims that 20 percent of Ex-Im’s authorizations support woman-owned (and minority-owned) firms.

Lest this faint praise begin to arouse your slight sympathies, I would like to remind you that – as I have noted before – the Ex-Im Bank’s data and interpretations should always be taken with a grain of salt.

Trust but verify, the saying goes, but Ex-Im is making it even harder to verify its own claims. The bank recently pulled down the public dataset that we had been using to examine its work. Luckily, my research assistant Andrea Castillo anticipated they might do this and saved a clean copy in June. (If anyone is looking for the data, please e-mail me and I would be more than happy to share it.)

Here’s what their data say. Ex-Im reports $154 billion in authorizations from 2007 to 2014. Of that, $1,565,363,877.82 was authorized for women-owned businesses. That’s a whopping 1.02 percent of all Ex-Im authorizations. 

Also, according to the data highlighted on www.exim.gov, between 2007 and 2014, the bank’s activities supported 8,499 exporters, 476 of which were “women-owned.” That’s 5.8 percent of firms supported by the bank. 

An institution that spares a meager 1.02 percent of its authorizations and 5.8 percent of all selected firms is a great friend to women? In reality, it looks like patriarchy is alive and well at the Export-Import Bank – a glance at their list of chairmen and presidents shows that only 3 of their 44 presidents and chairmen have been women — but it’s really cronyism that rules the roost.

According to the Small Business Administration, woman own roughly 30 percent of U.S. firms, 12 percent of businesses with employees, and 13 percent of minority businesses. That means that the bank’s support for women isn’t even on par with their involvement in the economy. Do Ex-Im supporters really think women are so stupid to fall for this obvious ploy?

Zach Carter at the Huffington Post concludes:

The Chamber of Commerce could have made its blog post correct by writing that it reached the 20 percent figure by excluding all of the bank’s subsidies to big businesses, with their multiple shareholders. But that wouldn’t have made reauthorizing the bank sound so beneficial to women and minorities.

Ex-Im needs women and minorities to serve as shields for their corporatism far more than women and minorities actually benefit from the bank’s work. Another one for the “Laughable Ex-Im Justifications” file.

Web Briefing: October 2, 2014

Where Fake Lincoln Quotes Come From



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Commenting on Salon’s intellectual standards is pointless, in that it does not have any intellectual standards to speak of, but I think this needs correcting, inasmuch as it is a reprint from a book written by a professor at Wake Forest and published by the University of Virginia Press, two institutions that presumably value their reputations.

Paul D. Escott writes:

As a young politician, Lincoln engaged in the race-baiting and racist rhetoric that was common among Illinois politicians. While his party’s newspaper, the Sangamo Journal, accused a Democratic presidential nominee of “love for free negroes,” the young Lincoln charged that his “very trail might be followed by scattered bunches of Nigger wool.” 

By any reasonable standard, Professor Escott here is communicating that words in quotation marks — “very trail,” etc. — are the words of Abraham Lincoln. They are not. They are the words of J. A. Chestnut, a lawyer who wrote up an account of one of Lincoln’s speeches in the very Sangamo Journal mentioned above, published 8 May 1840. Chestnut’s language is colorful and hyperbolic, to say the least. I sent Professor Escott an email over the weekend suggesting that he correct himself, and he replied that the quotation was taken from Michael Burlingame’s biography of Lincoln, which it is — and where it is attributed to J. A. Chestnut, not to Abraham Lincoln.

No doubt Lincoln said some nasty things over the course of his political career. But he did not say this nasty thing.

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‘We Don’t Want This to Look like an American War.’



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Per the New York Times, it’s leading-from-behind time again:

American officials have made it clear they do not want the airstrikes to get ahead of the ground action against ISIS, which they said would take time to mass. “This isn’t going to be ‘shock and awe’ with hundreds of airstrikes,” one official said, referring to the initial attack on Baghdad at the opening of the Iraq war in March 2003. “We don’t want this to look like an American war.”

And we’re carefully considering a request to hit the Islamic State in the border area:

Specifically, senior Iraqi and Kurdish officials asked the United States as recently as this weekend to take action along the Iraqi-Syrian border to deprive ISIS of the safe havens it enjoys in that area.

“The Iraqis have asked for assistance in the border regions, and that’s something we’re looking at,” one State Department official said.

And the plan to destroy the Islamic State isn’t really a plan to destroy the Islamic State:

The president’s chief of staff, Denis McDonough, provided the most current definition of White House thinking on Sunday during an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Using an alternative acronym for the extremist group, he said that “success looks like an ISIL that no longer threatens our friends in the region, no longer threatens the United States, an ISIL that can’t accumulate followers or threaten Muslims in Syria, Iraq or otherwise.”

That definition falls short of the classic understanding of what it means to destroy an opposing force. But the administration is betting that it has tailored the goals to appeal to the coalition of oftentimes reluctant partners it is trying to assemble, many of whom are deeply suspicious of each other.

More:

Tellingly, there are no plans, as of now, to increase the number of American attack planes in the region. The aircraft carrier Carl Vinson is scheduled to relieve the carrier George H. W. Bush in the Persian Gulf next month; if the Pentagon changed its plans and kept two carriers in the gulf, it could double carrier-based firepower over Iraq and Syria. But for now, there is no plan to do so, officials said. Nor are there any plans to increase American ground-based strike aircraft at facilities around the region, in hopes that Persian Gulf and European allies would make up the difference.

NR Seeks Full-Time Editor



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National Review is hiring a full-time editor. Applicants should have several years of experience and be familiar with, and enthusiastic about, National Review. If you are interested, please send a résumé and a cover letter to editorial.applications (at) nationalreview.com.

Brown, Shaheen All Tied Up in New Hampshire



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Two months ago, Scott Brown trailed incumbent Jeanne Shaheen (D., N.H.) by double digits. But ever since then, the Republican candidate has been steadily closing the gap and now, according to at least one poll, has eliminated it entirely: A new CNN/ORC International poll has Shaheen and Brown tied at 48 percent among likely voters.

The poll shows Brown gaining ground against Shaheen after a WMUR/University of New Hampshire survey found him trailing her by two percentage points last month. In July, the same polling group had Brown down 12 points.

Brown’s bump in the polls comes after he secured the Republican nomination in last week’s primary, which he won handily with more than 50 percent of the vote.

Sixty percent of respondents in the CNN/ORC poll disapproved of President Obama’s handling of his job as president, highlighting the difficult political climate for Democrats this election cycle.

Urban Outfitters Sells ‘Vintage’ Kent State Massacre Sweatshirt



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Clothing retailer Urban Outfitters has never let good taste affect its brand, so its latest offering is little surprise:

“Washed soft and perfectly broken in, this vintage Kent State sweatshirt is cut in a loose, slouchy fit,” read the online ad for the product, which has been removed from the store’s site following social-media backlash. “Excellent vintage condition. We only have one, so get it or regret it!”

The faded blood spatter is supposed to hearken back to the Kent State shootings of May 4, 1970, in which Ohio National Guardsmen shot and killed four university students and wounded nine others. Students at Kent State had been protesting the Cambodian Campaign in the Vietnam War, announced days earlier by President Nixon. The exact circumstances of the “Kent State Massacre” remain contentious.

According to Asawin Suebsaeng, deputy social-media editor at the Daily Beast, Urban Outfitters is denying that the sweatshirt was supposed to recall the incident. Suebsaeng posted to his Twitter account a statement from a company spokesperson:

The retailer has brooked controversy in the past. In 2010, the company put on sale a shirt that read “Eat Less.” Earlier this year, Urban Outfitters removed from its store a T-shirt with the word “depression” written repeatedly.

Via International Business Times.

Why Sweden’s Election Matters for American Conservatives



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Sweden yesterday elected the biggest center-right majority in its history. It’s problem is that it doesn’t know it.

While the three main left-wing parties won more votes than the four main center-right parties, they also received their lowest share of the vote in Swedish history. Even if you add in the very left-wing Feminist Initiative, which did not win enough votes to get into their Parliament, the Swedish Left still got only 46.8 percent. That means the Left failed to get a majority of the vote for the third straight election, the first time that has happened since universal suffrage was introduced.

The center-right won’t form the new government, however, because the anti-immigration, working-class populist party, the Sweden Democrats, more than doubled their share of the vote to 12.9 percent. The traditional center-right parties, whose bases come from the educated and rural farming classes, have refused to deal with the SDs, thereby depriving themselves of a potential majority.

This matters for America because the rise of working-class populism is the defining feature of politics worldwide. Working-class populist parties or movements draw votes away from center-left parties and align them in nationalist, pro-market parties that also support social-safety-net programs and oppose immigration. Center-right parties that are, like Sweden’s, unwilling to work with this new force either find themselves out of power or forced into left-right alliances that favor “grand bargains” over real reform. Neither option should appeal to American conservatives.

American conservatives would recognize a lot in their European working-class kin. Working-class populist party voters typically distrust government and established leaders a lot. In yesterday’s election, 64 percent of Swedes said they trusted politicians “very much” or “a lot.” But only 26 percent of Sweden Democrat voters said that. Polls in Britain show that people who support that nation’s working-class populist party, UKIP, have similar disdain for the political class.

Keep reading this post . . .

In Defense of Christians



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Andrew Doran is executive director of In Defense of Christians (IDC), an organization that made news headlines last week when Texas senator Ted Cruz’s keynote speech at a conference held by the group took some unexpected turns. Doran, a former State Department official, talks with National Review Online about the Cruz incident but more so about the meeting of Arab Christians last week in Washington, D.C., why it was important, what came of it, and what might be to come.

Kathryn Jean Lopez: We have to start with the elephant in the room: What happened with Ted Cruz the other night?  

Andrew Doran: It’s unfortunate that Senator Cruz was booed. But what’s more unfortunate is that he chose to make a summit of and for Middle Eastern Christians about something other than a summit about Middle Eastern Christians. The summit to that point, from the National Press Club to Capitol Hill, had been replete with positive references to “our Muslim and Jewish brothers and sisters.” When Mr. Cruz mentioned solidarity with Jews at the beginning of the speech, he was applauded. (This was omitted from the video footage circulating but may be found here.) But what is more unfortunate is that he chose to politicize a highly complicated and volatile subject while Christians are being systematically eradicated. The sense of nearly every person in the room, no matter what their background or affiliation, was that it was designed to bait the audience; sadly, some attendees took the bait. Many of those present had come out of the Middle East at great personal risk to their flocks and families. Any statesman (or decent human being) would’ve appreciated this. A true statesman would meet with religious leaders and hear what they had to say. As Bishop Angaelos said on Fox News after the summit, Cruz seemed to lack empathy for those in the room whose loved ones suffer persecution. 

Over the last several years, I’ve had many conversations with Christians from the Middle East about Israel and their views land anywhere on a broad spectrum of opinion. Some are sympathetic but can’t say so because to do so would put their lives at risk; it should be sufficient to say that minorities tend to be sympathetic to other minorities. Others remember being forced to leave their villages in Palestine never to return. And still others are proud citizens of Israel. So there must be more options for Middle Eastern Christians than outspoken support for Israel and anti-Semitism. The Middle East is complicated and nuanced, whether politicians want it that way or not. That’s why serious statesmen are measured in their remarks: When they’re not, it puts lives at risk. 
 

Lopez: What had been your goal for the night?

Doran: Cruz’s talk was supposed to have been, “Religious Freedom and Human Dignity: Religious Persecution of Christians, Unity with the Persecuted Church.” Obviously, he went off script. Our goal for the summit was to achieve a sense of unity among the many hundreds of Middle Eastern Christians who attended. In an unexpected way, Cruz helped the summit to achieve this, but it would’ve been better had he not spoken — especially for those who had to return to the Middle East. Still, the outpouring from our Middle Eastern Christian brothers and sisters has been overwhelmingly positive. The summit was historic and a huge success from start to finish. 
 

Lopez: How were you hoping Cruz would factor into that?

Doran: We were hoping that he would discuss the plight of Christians and how America ought to stand with them. Bishop Angaelos of the Coptic Orthodox Church had, I think, the best response: 

Having spoken at this IDC Summit on the plight of Christians in the Middle East, and particularly in Iraq and Syria, I take personal exception to sweeping statements made about those in attendance as exercising “bigotry and hatred…against Jews and Israel”. In light of the current very real challenges, this is not a time for such divisive and inflammatory language that demonizes communities and causes rifts between them when their collaboration is most needed.
 

Keep reading this post . . .

Rallying the United Nations in Defense of Christians



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Thank you, Bill Donahue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, for taking this ad out in the New York Times today:

CHRISTIAN GENOCIDE MUST END
Children are being beheaded, women are being raped, men are being crucified, and Christians are being forced to “convert or die.” This is the essence of radical Islam: the barbarians even kill Muslims, as well as Christians, Jews, and others who are not like them. To make sure the homes they destroy are the right ones—the Christian ones—they mark them with an “N.” It means Nazarene. We’ve seen that kind of branding before in Nazi Germany.

The United Nations General Assembly convenes tomorrow. It needs to act on Resolution 2170, unanimously passed on August 15 by the Security Council. It invokes Chapter 7 of the United Nations Charter authorizing a military response. Islamic State terrorists need to be stopped, not contained. If the caliphate is not crushed, the United States risks being bombed again.

Resolution 2170 calls for sanctions to be levied against those who are financing, arming, planning, and recruiting these jihadists. It calls for asset freezes, travel bans, and an arms embargo. The United Nations must now make good on its pledge. More must be done: The United Nations should initiate proceedings in the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.

The Obama administration needs to give the Kurds, the Iraqis, and all those who are willing to fight the terrorists, the arms they need to win. We are not fighting criminals—we are fighting Islamic State savages who have engaged in acts of war. What is at stake is the preservation of Western civilization and the Judeo-Christian ethos upon which it was built.

The Catholic Church rightly eschews a military response to conflict, but there are times when a “just war” is necessary. That time is now. Either the forces of peace and freedom will prevail, or the forces of death and totalitarianism will triumph. The international community, led by the United States, must act now.

Lowry: Obama Has ‘Failed on His Promise as the Most Transparent Administration Ever’



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Charles Barkley Defends Adrian Peterson: ‘Every Black Parent in the South’ Whips Their Kids



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Former NBA star Charles Barkley defended NFL player Adrian Peterson after he was indicted on child-abuse charges this weekend, saying that “every black parent in the South is going to be in jail under those circumstances.”

The Minnesota Vikings running back turned himself into Texas authorities early Saturday morning after disciplining his four-year-old son with a tree branch, a beating that left wounds requiring medical attention on the child’s legs. 

But despite outrage from many sports commentators, including retired quarterback “Boomer” Esiason, Barkley spoke up for Peterson during an NFL pregame show broadcast Sunday morning on CBS.

“I’m from the South,” he told Jim Rome. “I understand Boomer’s rage and anger. But we have to accept — listen, he’s a white guy, I’m a black guy. I don’t know where he’s from, I’m from the South. Whipping is — we do that all the time. Every black parent in the South is going to be in jail under those circumstances.”

“We spank kids in the South,” he continued. “I think the question about, did Adrian Peterson go overboard? But listen Jim, we all grew up in different environments.”

“Listen, I don’t want to tell anyone how to raise their kids, and I don’t really want anyone telling me how to raise my kids,” Rome countered. “But let’s make a distinction between child rearing and child abuse. That was child abuse. There’s no fine line here.”

“I think there’s a fine line,” Barkley said. “I’ve had many welts on my legs, I got beat with switches. And I don’t even like to use the term, when the media talks about it and somebody calls it on television, beating a child,’ . . . We called it ’spanking’ or ‘whipping’ our kids.”

Via Mediaite.

Hillary’s Unfixable Problem



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Bill Clinton poses a serious problem for his wife Hillary’s presidential candidacy.  More important, the Clinton’s ill-starred power-sharing arrangement will become a significant problem for America should Hillary gain the presidency.  The Clintons’ Sunday appearance at Tom Harkin’s Iowa steak fry signaled more than the unofficial kickoff of Hillary’s presidential campaign.  It was also the de facto announcement of a second Clinton co-presidency-in-waiting.

Saturday’s Washington Post featured a front-page above-the-fold article on Hillary’s return to Iowa.  It purported to analyze the reasons for her devastating loss there in 2008, yet there was no mention of the specter of a Clinton co-presidency and the damage this did six years ago.  We’ve largely forgotten how big a stumbling block this issue was for Hillary’s first national campaign.

Bill did his best to stay out of the limelight in 2007, until Hillary ran into trouble during the early going in Iowa.  At first, Bill’s attempts to shore up her position with personal appearances helped.  Many Democrats actually yearned for a Clinton co-presidency and even supported Hillary largely because of Bill.  In time, however, Bill began to overshadow Hillary, raising questions about her independence and how the two might govern as a couple in the White House.

The trouble began during a joint appearance at an Iowa grocery store in December of 2007, when Bill drew away all the press attention, leaving Hillary alone and confused.  That became the story, and soon prompted a broader discussion of the co-presidential problem, even among liberals.  Here are some excerpts from a Eugene Robinson column in The Washington Post after the incident:

[Hillary] realized that Bill had departed from the script and wandered off to another part of the store, and cameras caught her scanning the aisles with a look of sheer terror…He ended up drawing more attention to himself than the candidate—which is in keeping with his formal campaign speeches… He talks more about himself than about his wife—at a ratio of about 9 to 1…The episode shows what Hillary Clinton might face in the White House…Is Bill Clinton capable of following any script?  Since the Constitution provides for one president, not two, could he find a way to live in the White House that wasn’t all about him?

Now have a look at the account of the Clintons’ appearance at Harkin’s Iowa steak fry in today’s New York Times:

But as is often the case wherever Mr. Clinton goes, what amounted to the unofficial start of the next Iowa presidential caucuses was as much about the Clinton who already served as president as the one who appears to have designs on the office…The Harkins sought to make it clear that, while the Clintons were co-headliners, it was Mrs. Clinton who was to be the focal point…Yet for all the effort to shine a rhetorical light on Mrs. Clinton, it was Mr. Clinton who seemed most happy to be back on the grand stage of presidential politics.

There is more along these lines in the article.  For a full-scale analysis of the Clintons’ co-presidential problem, consult my new piece on the topic for the Claremont Review of Books.  Hillary’s Bill problem isn’t going away, and it can’t be fixed.

We’ve taken the phenomenon of “the Clintons” for granted.  That is a mistake.  There’s a reason the Founders soundly rejected the idea of a “plural executive.”  The first Clinton co-presidency was a fiasco, and there’s every reason to believe that a second Clinton co-presidency would be just as much of a problem, if not more so.  Yet that is where we are headed, should Hillary take the prize.

 

Fund: Hillary Will Campaign in More Places this Fall than Obama



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Scottish Independence: The Queen Speaks



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The Queen attended a church service near her home in Scotland yesterday, accompanied by Prince Charles and Prince William. In case that was too subtle for some, after the service Her Majesty “took the highly unusual step of stopping to converse with wellwishers outside the church — while aides pointedly invited surprised photographers to come and take pictures of her exchanges with the locals.”

One exchange is making quite a bit of news. From the Daily Mail:

The Queen yesterday issued an extraordinary call for caution in the Scottish independence referendum, urging Scots to consider ‘carefully’ whether they want to leave the United Kingdom.

In the strongest indication yet that Her Majesty wants the Union to stay together, she told a member of the public: ‘I hope everybody thinks very carefully about the referendum this week.’

Her remark came after she made what was seen as a carefully choreographed and highly symbolic appearance at a final church service in Scotland before Thursday’s knife-edge poll.

More:

Buckingham Palace did not deny she had made the remark, and insisted she was entirely impartial in constitutional matters. But No campaigners were in little doubt that the Queen, who is thought to be strongly in favour of the Union, had made a deliberate effort to send voters a message about the magnitude of breaking up the UK.

True, chatting with folks after church is not issuing a royal proclamation from the throne, or even a press release. It is soft power. But it is very powerful nonetheless.

— Michael R. Strain is a resident scholar and economist at the American Enterprise Institute. You can write to him on Twitter at twitter.com/MichaelRStrain.

An Electoral Alternative Rises in Germany



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Sweden wasn’t the only European country where anti-establishment forces had a surprisingly good election yesterday.

In Germany, the anti-Euro Alternative for Deutschland (AFD) party is only one year old, but it has won enough votes to enter its third state parliament. In May, AFD sent members to the European Parliament for the first time. Yesterday, it won 10 percent of the vote in Thuringia, central Germany, and 12 percent in Brandenburg, the region surrounding Berlin that includes Potsdam.

Merkel, whose Christian Democratic party governs with the left-wing Social Democrats, has finally admitted that the rise of the AFD is “a problem.” The upstart party has now added other issues to its opposition to the Euro, including calls for greater discipline in schools, family-friendly policies intended to rejuvenate Germany’s aging society, and reforms of loose immigration policies.

Bernd Lucke, the AFD’s leader, is particularly critical of Merkel’s decision to give in to demands from the Turkish minority in Germany and relax restrictions on dual citizenship. “Dual citizenship is a Trojan horse that opens the door to fanaticized and brutalized holy warriors,” he recently told audiences.

Ship Chaplain Wanted



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In times of yore, alas, no more, cruise lines had Catholic chaplains on ships, an acknowledgement to the days of obligation we papists (practicing) hold dear. So NR will bring a Catholic chaplain along on the Post-Election Cruise. Not having one readily available, I ask: If you are a padre in good standing and game to handle a temporary flock at sea for seven days, contact me at [email protected]. Cruise dates are November 9th to the 16th, from Ft. Lauderdale, and you can find complete information about the voyage at www.nrcruise.com. The inspirational picture above, by the way, is of St. Brendan the Navigator celebrating Easter Mass on the back of a whale, mistaken at first for an island.

Tags: NR Cruise

Monday links



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Ohio Amish Barn Raising: 10 hours in real life, 3.5 minute time-lapse video.

William Howard Taft was born 157 years ago today – here are 9 tips for planning a birthday party for him.

This Rube Goldberg Machine Runs On Light.

Scientists name newly discovered extinct swamp-dwelling creature after Mick Jagger because big lips.

12 Brilliant Kitchen Hacks Made Possible with Aluminum Foil.

If Superheroes Did Commercials.

ICYMIFriday’s links are here, including scientific diagrams circa 1850, really awkward album covers, battle of Baltimore (inspiration for the Star-Spangled Banner) 200th anniversary, and naked mole rats.

Obama to Up USA Response to Ebola



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This is the right thing to do, both for the suffering people of Africa and to keep us safer from the Ebola virus.

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