What Should Americans Be Talking About?

For the American voter, issues of immense urgency to the survival of the free world — such as individual freedom, dispassionate enquiry and freedom of speech and thought, which we dangerously have come to take for granted — are being derailed by crude language and behavior, when Americans need to be paying attention to serious threats to the United States, its allies and to the values of the West.

Internationally, these threats come from Iran, Russia, China, North Korea, and countless terrorist groups.

Domestically, they appear in the form of massive corruption — financial and otherwise — that is visibly hollowing out American institutions, such as the FBI (the failure to follow investigative procedure, followed by calls for FBI Director James Comey’s resignation); the Department of Justice (the “Fast and Furious” gun-walking scandal, and the Attorney General meeting with a former president whose wife is under investigation); the State Department (email leaks are still yielding up evidence of collusion between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department under Hillary Clinton); the IRS (targeting conservative non-profits, and raiding the businesses of private citizens, who disagree with policy); the Environmental Protection Agency’s attempt to acquire power over every puddle in America) and the Executive branch in the “I have a pen and I have a phone” president’s dealings with Iran.

There have also been attempts by outsiders to incite racial and religious anarchy. The entrepreneur George Soros, for example, donated $33 million to turn events in Ferguson, Missouri from a local protest into chaos.

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Good Riddance Fidel

To paraphrase the old VE jump-rope rhyme, “A-tisket, a-tasket, Castro’s in his casket.” The last of the Cold War Soviet stooges has gone the way of his communist masters.

Encomia from the usual useful idiots are lighting up the internet, but don’t mind them. Like tantrum-throwing college students and George Soros rent-a-protestors, they are a machine for producing Republican voters. The Dem-wits, on the other hand, should pay attention to the Cuban immigrants and expatriates celebrating in Miami. They might find there a clue to how they lost Florida and the whole government. Opening up trade, as their messiah Obama did, with a regime that pockets all the profits while it jails protestors, that gives workers eight cents of every starry-eyed tourist’s dollar, makes for bad optics. Canoodling with a brutal dictator who crushes dissent, persecutes homosexuals, excludes blacks from the government, abuses the church, monopolizes wealth, and tortures dissidents in his gulag is not the way to win American votes.

And discount the extravagant praise for Castro’s political genius. For all his Marxist-Leninist rhetoric and international fan-boys, Castro was a typical, but savvier, Latin American dictator––a cacique, caudillo, jefe, El Señor Presidente, El Gran Chingon, a glorified version of the General Mapache from The Wild Bunch. If not for the Cold War, he would long ago have met the same gruesome fate as those other strutting, bombastic oppressors. Only with billions of dollars in Soviet support and cash for overpriced sugar––and John Kennedy’s foreign policy bungling–– was he able to leverage being 90 miles from the U.S into a geopolitical significance far beyond his deserts, along the way almost igniting a nuclear war. He paid the Soviets back by letting them use his soldiers as imperialist mercenaries in Angola, Ethiopia, and Mozambique. After the USSR vanished like Trotsky from a May Day photo, oil and $18 billion in loans and grants from his fellow dictator Húgo Chavez, along with foreign investment from running-dog capitalists, kept Cuba from collapse. Castro repaid Húgo by skimming thousands of his doctors and other skilled professionals needed at home, and sending them to Venezuela.

More importantly, Castro, like many other Third-World communists or the PLO jihadists, was a genius at exploiting the romance of revolutionary violence and the radical chic endemic among Western bourgeois parlor pinks and caviar communists. For Europeans, Canadians, and a small number of Americans before Obama’s recent softening of travel restrictions, carefully orchestrated and surveilled tours of Cuba were like the hajj to Mecca for Western lefties. Like their political ancestors in the twenties and thirties gaping at the Soviet’s Potemkin economy, these rich, well-fed, politically free beneficiaries of liberal democracy and free-market capitalism ignored or rationalized away the poor, hungry, repressed Cubanos hidden behind the pastel-colored belle époque hotels and the restored ’57 Chevies.

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Morning Briefing – The Telegraph

Good morning.

Theresa May is taking on company bosses today, unveiling plans in a new green paper to force firms to publish details of executive pay to stop “irresponsible” and “careless” behaviour following the outcry at the behaviour of Sir Philip Green over the collapse of BHS. She will also say that she wants to bolster the role of pension trustees to give workers and retirees more of a “voice” in the future of companies which hold their life savings. It’s part of the government’s effort, she will say, to ensure that “everybody plays by the same rules”.

Business chiefs aren’t the only ones being told to respect the rules, as Lord Howard has accused Britain’s judges of making a “grab for power” by involving themselves in Parliamentary decision-making over issues like the invoking of Article 50. The former Conservative leader declared that there had been “a unilateral bid for more power at the expense of Parliament and at the expense of government by judges who are completely unaccountable”. He gave short shrift to suggests that they shouldn’t be criticised for such actions, saying: “It would be monstrous if in those circumstances, robust criticism of the judiciary were to be curtailed in any way, shape or form.” The Supreme Court will be judging the Government’s appeal against the recent ruling on Article 50 next week, so we’ll soon see how this Brexit court battle ends.

Meanwhile, another person has been caught out at Downing Street by photographer Steve Back after failing to cover their notes up. A memo carried by an aide to Conservative party vice-chairman Mark Field suggested that Britain wanted to “have its cake and eat it” in Brexit talks and that it was “unlikely” Britain would get the chance to remain in the Single Market. Downing Street insisted that it “does not represent the U.K’s position in relation to Brexit negotiations”, while Whitehall sources said the memo was a note of comments made at a meeting between Conservative party officials and representatives from the Dutch ruling VVD party. Daniel Hannan suggested on ITV’s Good Morning Britain today that the memo doesn’t reveal anything the Government would want hidden, but if that is so – why would No 10 deny its contents? The Prime Minister might well be annoyed about the memo being snapped, as it distracts from her big push on executive pay today. She may be especially irked as it shows after months following the rule to supply “no running commentary” that some people can’t help letting details slip out.

 

Now You Know: Why Do People Always Look So Serious in Old Photos?

One possibility is dental. Some dismiss the idea that bad teeth could have been a possible cause for early photography’s close-lipped images, since that was a common condition and wouldn’t have necessarily been noteworthy at the time. But Angus Trumble, the director of the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra, Australia, and author of A Brief History of the Smile, disagrees. He points to the professionalization of dental health as one factor leading to the rise of smiles, arguing that just because bad teeth were normal didn’t mean they were desirable. “People had lousy teeth, if they had teeth at all, which militated against opening your mouth in social settings,” he says.

Another common explanation for the lack of smiles in 19th century photographs is that, because it took so long to capture a photograph back then, people in pictures couldn’t hold a smile for long enough. “Some of that is true,” says Todd Gustavson, technology curator at the George Eastman Museum. “If you look at the early processes where you did have a long exposure time, you’re going to pick a pose that’s comfortable.” But he says that technology has been overplayed as the limiting factor. By the 1850s and ’60s it was possible in the right conditions to take photographs with only a few seconds of exposure time, and in the decades that followed shorter exposures became even more widely available. That means the technology needed to capture fleeting expressions like a genuine smile was available long before such a look became common.

Christina Kotchemidova, a professor studying culture and communication who wrote an article on the history of smiles in snapshot photography, also questions the technology argument. That idea, she says, comes from our world, in which it seems “natural to smile for a picture” and people have to be told not to. But, she says, while smiling in general may be innate, smiling in front of a camera is not an instinctive response.

Experts say that the deeper reason for the lack of smiles early on is that photography took guidance from pre-existing customs in painting—an art form in which many found grins uncouth and inappropriate for portraiture. Though saints might be depicted with faint smiles, wider smiles were “associated with madness, lewdness, loudness, drunkenness, all sorts of states of being that were not particularly decorous,” says Trumble. Accordingly, high-end studio photographers would create an elegant setting and direct the subject how to behave, producing the staid expressions which are so familiar in 19th century photographs. The images they created were formal and befitted the expense of paying to have a portrait made, especially when that portrait might be the only image of someone.

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It Is How We Become to Jihad

Editors’ note: To those of you who have enquired, the author is a real man living in the Middle East who sent us these pieces because he is unable to share them with anyone where he lives. At first we tried to tidy up the English, but that seemed to knock much of the soul out of his work. So we made the editorial choice to present his work basically as he sent it; what you are seeing is the result of that choice. It is the way he sees the world from his point of view, unobstructed by editors. Perhaps think of it more as a different kind of article, more as folk art but in words. It is not meant to offend anyone or any religion. It always seemed, living among people from different nations, as if wrongnesses in English were often “righter” than rightnesses. The painter Paul Gauguin reportedly said: “If you see a tree as blue, then make it blue.” We apologize to anyone who may not like these postings. “Those who understand, understand.”

In 2013, some Body is asking, am meet my cousins Jowhar & Muhammad near to my Town. So first we have a nice chat, except for Jowhar who are not talk, and after a Few whiles am seeing Skin of right Arm on Jowhar is black with thick lines on the Arm Skin.

So am ask to Jowhar, What happened this?

He reply, This is a Vestige of Torture.

I reply, Torture, which kind of Torture this and why?

He answer, This is a Vestige of Jihad Torture.

I ask, Jihad Torture sorry am not understand this.

He reply, I show to you after.

So we together go to the room of Jowhar & Muhammad where he remove his Shirts and when I look at the Jowhar am Shock His body are full with Lines from Torture.

Am ask, What is this and how it is happen?

He reply, A few years back we join One of the prominent jihad group who is trains the Boys and childrens for Jihad and we take a training there. Here we face the Body Torture, the Mentality Torture, and the Sexuality torture, very High. So at firstly we Lives in a Mosque with many other Boys for listening different type of Quranic Ayaat and Hadith of P.B.U.H. and listening that there is a lot of HOOR (fairy) for you in the Paradise, and that Shahadat, to be killed on ALLAH, is GREAT PRIZE for you! So next day we are all into the Bus and going out on the hills.

I ask, But how is your family members allow you to do this Jihad?

He reply, No we just ran away from House. Our Family do not allow to take part in this. After a Travel, we reach where is jeeps are. So we leaves the Bus and sits onto the Jeeps. Jeep take us in a remote area where no One is there, and every Where just Mountains and hills and A house. When you enter this house, here is many beautifull Girls Welcome Us. When we look to the Girls they is very beautifull and all is wearing black. We very Happy to see these Girls. Then one person come and order us to sit in the Hall for Dinner because at night when we reach there.

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