Saturday, March 23, 2019

America Finally Admits Recycling Doesn’t Work


Jon Miltimore
https://fee.org/articles/america-finally-admits-recycling-doesn-t-work/?fbclid=IwAR3kkJ8Ouh8iiQ0lsGaOWGlE0Yv74ksou10TvYK4qyDwB4pvZUGxsIjrk5c
March 21, 2019

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A couple of years ago, after sending my five-year-old daughter off to school, she came home reciting the same cheerful environmental mantra I was taught in elementary school.
“Reduce, reuse, recycle,” she beamed, proud to show off a bit of rote learning.
The moral virtue of recycling is rarely questioned in the United States. It has been ingrained into the American psyche over several decades. On a recent trip to the Caribbean, my friend’s wife exhibited nervous guilt while collecting empty soda, water, and beer bottles destined for the trash since our resort offered no recycling bins.
“I feel terrible throwing these into garbage,” she said, wearing a pained look on her face.
I didn’t have the heart to tell her that there was a good chance the bottles she was recycling back in the States were ending up just like the ones on the Caribbean island we were visiting.

As Discover magazine pointed out a decade ago, recycling is tricky business. A 2010 Columbia University study found that just 16.5 percent of the plastic collected by the New York Department of Sanitation was “recyclable.”
“This results in nearly half of the plastics collected being landfilled,” researchers concluded.
Since that time, things have only gotten worse. Over the weekend, The New York Times ran a story detailing how hundreds of cities across the country are abandoning recycling efforts.
Philadelphia is now burning about half of its 1.5 million residents’ recycling material in an incinerator that converts waste to energy. In Memphis, the international airport still has recycling bins around the terminals, but every collected can, bottle and newspaper is sent to a landfill. And last month, officials in the central Florida city of Deltona faced the reality that, despite their best efforts to recycle, their curbside program was not working and suspended it. Those are just three of the hundreds of towns and cities across the country that have canceled recycling programs, limited the types of material they accepted or agreed to huge price increases.
One reason for this is that China, perhaps the largest buyer of US recyclables, stopped accepting them in 2018. Other countries, such as Thailand and India, have increased imports, but not in sufficient tonnage to alleviate the mounting costs cities are facing.
“We are in a crisis moment in the recycling movement right now,” Fiona Ma, the treasurer of California, told the Times.
Cost is the key word. Like any activity or service, recycling is an economic activity. The dirty little secret is that the benefits of recycling have been dubious for some time.
“Recycling has been dysfunctional for a long time,” Mitch Hedlund, executive director of Recycle Across America, told The Times.

How long? Perhaps from the very beginning. Nearly a quarter century ago, Lawrence Reed wrote about the growing fad of recycling, which state and local governments were pursuing—mostly through mandates, naturally—with a religious-like fervor. There were numerous problems with the approach, he observed.
The fact is that sometimes recycling makes sense and sometimes it doesn’t. In the legislative rush to pass recycling mandates, state and local governments should pause to consider the science and the economics of every proposition. Often, bad ideas are worse than none at all and can produce lasting damage if they are enshrined in law. Simply demanding that something be recycled can be disruptive of markets and it does not guarantee that recycling that makes either economic or environmental sense will even occur.
If only lawmakers had heeded Mr. Reed’s advice, or that of John Tierney, who offered similar guidance in The Times the following year.
Believing that there was no more room in landfills, Americans concluded that recycling was their only option. Their intentions were good and their conclusions seemed plausible. Recycling does sometimes make sense--for some materials in some places at some times. But the simplest and cheapest option is usually to bury garbage in an environmentally safe landfill. And since there's no shortage of landfill space (the crisis of 1987 was a false alarm), there's no reason to make recycling a legal or moral imperative.
That’s economics, you say. What about the environment? Well, the environmental benefits of recycling are far from clear. For starters, asPopular Mechanics noted a few years ago, the idea that we don’t have sufficient space to safely store trash is untrue.
According to one calculation, all the garbage produced in the U.S. for the next 1000 years could fit into a landfill 100 yards deep and 35 miles across on each side--not that big (unless you happen to live in the neighborhood). Or put another way, it would take another 20 years to run through the landfills that the U.S. has already built. So the notion that we're running out of landfill space--the original impetus for the recycling boom--turns out to have been a red herring.
And then there are the energy and resources that go into recycling. How much water do Americans spend annually rinsing items that end up in a landfill? How much fuel is spent deploying fleets of barges and trucks across highways and oceans, carrying tons of garbage to be processed at facilities that belch their own emissions?
The data on this front is thin, and results on the environmental effectiveness of recycling vary based on the material being recycled. Yet all of this presumes the recyclables are not being cleaned and shipped only to be buried in a landfill, like so much of it is today. This, Mises would say, is planned chaos, the inevitable result of central planners making decisions instead of consumers through free markets.
Most market economists, Reed points out, “by nature, philosophy, and experience” a bunch skeptical of centrally planned schemes that supplant choice, were wise to the dynamics of recycling from the beginning.
As engineer and author Richard Fulmer wrote in 2016,
Recycling resources costs resources. For instance, old newsprint must be collected, transported, and processed. This requires trucks, which must be manufactured and fueled, and recycling plants, which must be constructed and powered.
All this also produces pollution – from the factories that build the trucks and from the fuel burned to power them, and from the factories that produce the components to build and construct the recycling plant and from the fuel burned to power the plant. If companies can make a profit recycling paper, then we can be confident that more resources are saved than are used. However, if recycling is mandated by law, we have no such assurance.
Again, economics is the key.
It’s time to admit the recycling mania is a giant placebo. It makes people feel good, but the idea that it improves the condition of humans or the planet is highly dubious.
It’s taken three decades, but the actions of hundreds of US cities suggest Americans are finally willing to entertain the idea that recycling is not a moral or legal imperative.

The American Media Destroyed Themselves over the Mueller Investigation


March 22, 2019

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With only a few exceptions — Fox News, the editorial pages (not the front pages) of the Wall Street Journal, and a handful of websites — the better part of the American media has spent the last two years fulminating about Trump-Russia collusion we now know never existed.
Actually, we always knew that, but finally, it's official. It was always a bunch of — excuse the expression — trumped up baloney that made no sense except to those who wished so deeply to believe it was true.

Which makes the people who were doing that fulminating — media, politicians and (usually retired) intelligence figures, who were, as is becoming increasingly clear, betraying the American Constitutional system with impunity — sick and evil.

That may sound extreme, but it's the all-too-obvious truth. What they did is unforgivable, particularly since few, if any of them, will have the honesty or basic morals to apologize.  Some, however, may go to jail.

The provenance of what happened also couldn't be more obvious. People who considered themselves elite guardians of our country were so appalled by the possible election, and then the actual election, of the "barbarian" Donald Trump, they thought nothing of breaking the law and then exploiting it to bring Trump down. In so doing, consciously or unconsciously, they expressed their utter contempt for roughly half of their fellow citizens, not to mention their disdain for the electoral process and the law many of them swore to uphold.

It was a conspiracy and, worse yet, a conspiracy ignited and carried out from within the FBI and the Department of Justice. Nothing could be more dangerous to a democratic society than that. How high this conspiracy went is still somewhat unclear. I say "somewhat" because the likelihood of it having reached into the White House of the previous administration is great. It's hard to imagine how it could have happened otherwise.

These conspirators all worked in tandem, through leaks or directly, with the aforementioned media that has disgraced itself beyond words. The reputation of this media, never terrific, is in tatters and being washed, deservedly, down the drain. Anyone who believes a word they say from here on in should have his/her or zhe's head examined.

Which brings us to the new man of the hour. Good-bye, Robert Mueller. Hello, Michael Horowitz.

More than ever, it is up to the inspector general to put Humpty Dumpty together again. He tiptoed up to the door in his investigation of the Hillary Clinton email scandal and then fled timorously away. This time it will not be so easy to participate in the coverup. We all know too much and the documents — especially the ones concerning the FISA courts and the Steele dossier — are sitting there waiting for the world to read them. Horowitz must know that no investigation will be complete without exposing all of this. Otherwise, he will be trashed by history.

And speaking of history, let's a have a brief review of what we've really learned so far from the multi-million dollar Mueller investigation: who actually got indicted. The worst miscreant is clearly Paul Manafort, who, before he worked for Trump, did some dirty dealing with nasty characters in the Ukraine and elsewhere. Nothing good can be said about Manafort except he has a distinct similarity to Clinton friend Tony Podesta (with whom he worked, but who has not yet been indicted) and a whole host of other Beltway creeps that infest our nation's capital, sucking off the body politic, foreign and domestic.

And then there's Michael Flynn. He may or may not (it's unclear) have been scared into lying about something minor, but his real crime, the reason they were really out to get him, was his strong opposition to the Iran deal. In any case, some investigators didn't even think he did or said anything wrong. Mueller tried to muscle him. And so far Flynn hasn't even been sentenced to anything. It keeps getting postponed for some reason. Will he be? Who knows? But Trump will doubtless pardon him anyway and should.

Then there's the nefarious Papadopoulos character who also got caught making a "false statement" and did minimal time.

Next there's Roger Stone who, it turns out, is something of a braggart and a liar. (We needed a million-dollar investigation for that?) Of course, the idea that Stone would do anything in any way meaningful is ludicrous.

And then there's Jerome Corsi. He was supposed to be indicted unless he turned evidence against someone. But he refused and wasn't indicted. Conclusion: Corsi was perfectly innocent. They were just trying to muscle him. Pretty creepy, wouldn't you say?

And finally, there's Michael Cohen, the fixer. He's a pathetic character, but none of his multiple lies or glancing truths (there must be some) come within miles of Russia collusion. In fact, he's the guy who didn't go to Prague.

And, I almost forgot, the indictment of twenty Russian hackers in St. Petersburg who will never be arrested. We're supposed to be shocked that Russkies are spewing disinformation at us when they've been doing it since the tzars. Of course, we're probably doing similar things to them too, but don't tell anybody. (At least I hope we are. We're paying the CIA for something.)

So there you have it, folks. Two years worth of investigation and millions of taxpayer dollars for that, not to mention hamstringing the president of the United States in his activities almost everywhere he went during the same period.

Proud of yourselves, David Corn, CNN, John Brennan, MSNBC, Adam Schiff,Washington Post, Don Lemon, Eric Swalwell, New York Times, ABC, CBS, NBC, etc., etc., ad nauseam? Think you saved the republic? Actually, you owe Donald Trump billions. You made out like bandits lying through your teeth about him for two years.

SPECIAL TO ADAM SCHIFF: You represent Los Angeles, where people are defecating in the streets and living in tents. Why don't you try to do something about that instead of lying every day about Donald Trump?

Roger L. Simon — co-founder and CEO emeritus of PJ Media — is a prize-winning novelist and an Academy Award-nominated screenwriter.

ISIS CALIPHATE: DREAM OVER




The jihad will, of course, continue.



March 22, 2019

Heavy smoke rises above the Islamic State (IS) group's last remaining position in the village of Baghouz during battles with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), in the countryside of the eastern Syrian province of Deir Ezzor on March 18, 2019. (AFP)
Heavy smoke rises above the Islamic State (IS) group's last remaining position in the village of Baghouz during battles with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), in the countryside of the eastern Syrian province of Deir Ezzor on March 18, 2019. (AFP)


The Syrian town of Baghouz, the last redoubt of the Islamic State (ISIS), was reportedly liberated on Thursday, and that means that the Islamic State’s caliphate is now definitively a thing of the past.
On June 29, 2014, the group that had up to that point called itself the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or Shams in Arabic (hence the synonymous acronyms ISIL and ISIS) announced that it was forming a new caliphate – the single unified government of all the Muslims and the only government to which Muslims rightly owe allegiance, according to Sunni Muslim thought -- and would henceforth drop the second half of its name and call itself simply the Islamic State.
This claim to constitute a new caliphate became the basis of its appeal to Muslims worldwide, who traveled in unprecedented numbers to Iraq, Syria and Libya to join it: it attracted 30,000 Muslims from 100 different countries.
The reason for this was the appeal of the idea of the caliphate. The caliph is the successor of Muhammad as the military, political, and spiritual leader of the Muslims. From the time of the origins of Islam until 1924, there was always a caliphate somewhere in the world. The Umayyad, Abbasid, and Ottoman caliphates were, at their peaks, massive empires. The caliph is the only person authorized, according to Sunni theology, to wage offensive jihad, and most did.
ISIS, along with al-Qaeda and other jihad groups, considered the abolition of the Ottoman caliphate by Kemal Ataturk in 1924 to be the beginning of the troubles for the Islamic world: disunity, dominance by Western powers, inability to expand the domains of Islam in any concerted manner. All of them shared, and share, the goal of restoring the caliphate. Only the Islamic State ever managed to do so, albeit only for 57 months.
Once it declared itself the new caliphate, the Islamic State swiftly began to consolidate its control over the large expanses of Iraq and Syria that it controlled – an area larger than the United Kingdom with a population of eight million people. Blithely disregarding the world’s universal condemnation of its pretensions, it moved to assemble the accouterments of a state: currency, passports and the like. Its control of oil wells in Iraq quickly gave it a steady and sizeable source of wealth.
And contrary to the confident claims of Barack Obama and a host of non-Muslim leaders worldwide, it imposed Sharia in its domains, and strictly enforced it. It collected the jizya, the Qur’an-mandated tax on the “People of the Book,” from Christians. It severely punished women for not adhering to the Sharia dress code. Its scrupulous care to implement Sharia was part of its international appeal for Muslims, along with its pretensions to the caliphate.
That fact is also why we will see another caliphate, and it will be just as brutal and bloody as the Islamic State, because that brutality and bloodlust against non-Muslims were not eccentricities of a rogue non-Islamic group twisting and hijacking Islam’s peaceful teachings, as John Kerry and so many others insisted. In reality, the cruelty of the Islamic State – stonings, amputations, oppression of women and non-Muslims – is, as I have demonstrated many times from the Islamic texts, mandated in the Qur’an and the teachings of Muhammad.
Of course the Western intelligentsia knows that to say that Islamic violence and oppression is based on Qur’anic teaching is simply a manifestation of “Islamophobia,” and that the Qur’an is full of wisdom and peace. That’s why, when some group of Muslims founds another caliphate somewhere, and it looks very much like ISIS (and Iran and Saudi Arabia and other Sharia states, for that matter), they will be utterly bewildered. Why is this misunderstanding of Islam so widespread and persistent?
Anyway, the collapse of ISIS is due to President Trump. When Obama left office, it looked as if ISIS was here to stay, and was on the path to legitimization, a la the Palestine Liberation Organization. It was finding buyers for its low-priced oil. It had, it has just been revealed, an ambassador to Turkey. If Hillary Clinton had won the Presidency, there is no doubt that it would still be a significant force in Iraq and Syria.
The caliphate is over, but ISIS isn’t. Its dispersed jihadis are focusing on attacking civilians in the West. Unfortunately, few, if any, Islamic State jihadis will take the collapse of the caliphate as a sign that their premises were wrong; they will just go wage jihad somewhere else, which is why Western countries are suicidal to take back the ISIS jihadis who are their citizens.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades)and The Truth About Muhammad. His new book is The History of Jihad From Muhammad to ISIS. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.

Friday, March 22, 2019

McCain’s Key Role in Fueling Post-Election Trump-Russia Hysteria


By 
https://amgreatness.com/2019/03/20/mccains-key-role-in-fueling-post-election-trump-russia-hysteria/
March 20, 2019

Image result for john mccain steele dossier


In his 2018 book, The Restless Wave, the late Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) wondered aloud why he was sought out and given the infamous Steele dossier shortly after the 2016 presidential election.

After suggesting that anyone who questioned his role in handling the political document was indulging in “conspiracy theories,” McCain offered his explanation: “The answer is too obvious for the paranoid to credit. I am known internationally to be a persistent critic of Vladimir Putin’s regime and I have been a long while.”
It is true that McCain was an outspoken critic of Putin. But the big problem with McCain’s defense is that by the time he wrote those words—presumably the end of 2017, since the book was published in late May 2018—it already was public knowledge that the dossier had been authored and distributed by political pimps funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. When McCain was writing his book, many of the culprits were in serious legal jeopardy.
Christopher Steele, the dossier’s author, was being sued for defamation and was under congressional scrutiny in 2017. (McCain had sent his close associate, David Kramer, to meet Steele in London shortly after the 2016 election to track down gossip about the president-elect.) Steele also remains the subject of acriminal referral at the Justice Department for lying to federal officials.
McCain’s Senate colleagues were investigating Fusion GPS and its owner, Glenn Simpson, who produced and peddled the fabricated document, in the summer of 2017. (It was Simpson, not Steele as McCain suggested in his book, who gave Kramer the dossier in late November 2016; McCain would later provide that copy of the dossier to former FBI Director James Comey, who already had used the sleazily obtained and Democrat-funded opposition research to get a secret court’s approval to spy on Trump campaign aide Carter Page.)
Kramer also testified before the House Intelligence Committee in December 2017 related to its probe of the dossier, and he later invoked his Fifth Amendment right to avoid further questioning.
And if his book was still in production in February 2018, McCain would have known that the FBI withheld crucial details about the dossier’s political provenance in a shameful scheme to violate the privacy rights of a U.S. citizen whose only offense was volunteering to help Trump in 2016. McCain knew it because he vehemently opposed the release of the bombshell memo authored by Representative Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, which detailed how the dossier was presented as evidence to the FISA court. The senator accused Trump and Nunes of attacking the FBI and for “looking at the investigation through the warped lens of politics and manufacturing partisan sideshows,” McCain wrote in a statement the day the memo was released. “If we continue to undermine our own rule of law, we are doing Putin’s job for him.”
None of these facts are addressed in McCain’s book. Simpson and Fusion GPS are not mentioned, even though Simpson was McCain’s source for the dossier. There was no acknowledgement that McCain and his associates were complicit—either unwittingly or intentionally—in a wide ranging plot to sabotage the incoming president of the United States by sowing doubt about the legitimacy of the election and Trump’s alleged fealty to Putin. Instead, McCain wrote that anyone who doubts his actions can “go to hell.”
Perhaps the reason why McCain overlooked those inconvenient details is because he was a central figure in fueling hysteria about Russian influence in the election after Trump won the presidency. At the same time, Kramer wasworking behind the scenes along with Simpson to legitimize the dossier, including confirming the explosive news that McCain personally delivered it to Comey in early December 2016. Collectively, it produced the fertile soil from which the Trump-Russia election collusion hoax would grow after Trump’s inauguration.
Sadly, rather than use his stature and leadership skills to soothe a nation rocked by the surprise election of Donald Trump, John McCain instead poured rhetorical gasoline on a smoldering body politic. Working intandem with shell-shocked Obama officials desperate to find an excuse for Hillary Clinton’s humiliating loss, McCain publicly pounded the idea that Russian “hacking” was the reason for her defeat. His accusations escalated from initially decrying Russia’s sketchy interference in the election to calling it an “act of war” by December 2016.
McCain threatened Trump not to “reset” relations with Putin and outlined a number of sanctions the new president should impose. “There are a lot of more stringent measures we should take, after all it was an attack on the United States of America and and an attack on the fundamentals of our democracy,” McCain warned in December 2016. “If you destroy the free elections, then you destroy democracy.” In a fact-free interview on “Face the Nation” on December 11, 2016, McCain said he wanted a select committee to investigate Russia for “hacking into the United States 2016 election campaign.”
Keep in mind, the only evidence of an “attack on the fundamentals of our democracy” at the time was a vague October 7, 2016 notice from Obama’s highly-politicized intelligence community that insinuated Russian actors were behind various email hacking activities. Obama had ordered a full scale review, which resulted in a questionable January 2017 report alleging that Putin “aspired to help” Trump win the presidency. The evidence to support the claim remains highly classified.
On January 5, 2017, the day before that report was released, McCain scheduled a hearing of his committee featuring testimony by then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to push the Russian election “hacking” plotline. McCain had an interesting exchange at one point with Clapper, whom the Arizona Republican lauded for his “integrity and professionalism.”
McCain: If they succeeded in changing the results of the election, which none of us believe they were, that would have to constitute an attack on the United States of America because of the effects had they succeeded. Would you agree with that?
Clapper: We have no way of gauging the impact . . . it had on choices that the electorate made. There’s no way for us to gauge that.
See how that worked? No one directly is saying that the Russians changed the outcome but we kind of are because there’s no way to know that they didn’t.
The day after McCain’s hearing, Clapper and Comey briefed President Obama about the intelligence community’s report as well as the salacious allegation about Trump and Russian prostitutes. Comey met afterward with Trump, notifying him of the ridiculous accusation with a warning that CNN was “looking for a news hook” on it. Clapper then apparently leaked details of that meeting to CNN reporters; the network aired an explosive story on January 10, 2017 that confirmed top intelligence chiefs briefed the president-elect that the Russians had “compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump.”
An hour later, BuzzFeed would post the entire Steele dossier. BuzzFeed’s source? David Kramer.
McCain eventually would become a staunch defender of Special Counsel Robert Mueller; he told CNN’s Dana Bash in May 2017 that the collusion investigation was “going to be part of this centipede that the shoes continue to drop.”
Many people now insist that it is somehow unfair or disrespectful to examine McCain’s role in the biggest political scandal in American history because he is gone. Although the president has a valid reason to be angry about McCain’s role in this scandal, Trump’s impetuous remarks only obscure the more serious charges about the late senator’s complicity in fomenting the destructive post-election Russia hysteria.
The American people deserve a full accounting of all the players involved, even if the facts are unsettling for some to reconcile. The unwarranted and yet unproven Russia collusion hoax will forever taint the Trump presidency and has resulted in real life consequences for innocent people, not to mention the upheaval of our political system. No one should be shielded from responsibility.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

How Ryan Bingham’s Album ‘American Love Song’ Addresses Border Politics


By Jim Beaugez
https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-country/ryan-bingham-new-album-american-love-song-793600/
February 12, 2019

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Ryan Bingham has been pondering the meaning of America lately — the optimism in the midst of struggle, the triumphs amid the losses. Men and women looking for a fresh start. Families like his, who pinned their hopes on the next town or job, always chasing that ephemeral dream.
Bingham has lived it all, and sometimes all at once. Just as his song “The Weary Kind,” featured in the 2009 movie Crazy Heart, thrust him into the national conversation — winning him Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe awards — he lost his mother to alcoholism and his father to suicide.
Nearly a decade and two albums removed, he’s pulled together a surprisingly upbeat, bluesy collection of songs that doesn’t shy away from big-ticket topics. American Love Song [Axster Bingham], out February 15th, is his most personal and political album to date, a rolling blues-country workout awash in slide guitar, soaring gospel-roadhouse stomps and meditative folk fingerpicking that takes on his past with a cautious hope for the future.
“This record is all about … these different pieces and moving parts of this country,” Bingham tells Rolling Stone Country. “It’s about growing up in all these different parts of America and experiencing all these different cultures … a bit of a love song and love story about getting through it all.”
Growing up on the margins in a ranching family set adrift, Bingham learned from the jump what it’s like to be on the outside looking in. His family’s land in New Mexico was gone by the time he was old enough to know it, scattering his extended family among the oil fields from Bakersfield to the Texas coast in search of steady work. The Binghams traveled light, and no matter where they landed, it never lasted.
“[Before each move], my old man would pawn a lot of shit, and we didn’t have a lot of room to pack stuff,” Bingham said. “You kind of had one box and whatever you could fit in it, that was what you got to take.”
Festering drug and alcohol problems followed them from job to job and kept them on the move, never to the nice side of town. While each relocation may have been a chance to start over to his parents, for a schoolkid the revolving door was a challenge to navigate.
“It was kind of holding on to these little pieces of an identity as you moved around to these different places, trying to hold on to who you are, but at the same time you always had to adapt to this new situation,” he says.
Bingham learned to absorb new cultures out of necessity. In Houston, he befriended Wilbert Fleming, a rodeo kid from the rough Acres Homes neighborhood who introduced him to the black cowboy scene, local hip-hop like UGK, and Cajun cooking from his Creole grandmother. In Laredo, Texas, he rode bulls on the south side of the border and learned the Tejano standard “La MalagueƱa” on guitar, measure by measure, from one of his dad’s drinking buddies.
Laredo, as it turned out, was where he began to put together all the pieces of his story. The music he had grown up hearing — albums by Bob Wills, Allman Brothers and Townes Van Zandt, salvaged from the tavern on the old ranch — were a link to something permanent and rooted. The bull-riding he learned from his uncle gave him something to look forward to on the weekends, when he could take his mind off the construction and handyman work he picked up during the week. He eventually started bringing his guitar to the rodeos to sing and play for his friends.
“Jingle and Go,” the first cut on American Love Song, picks up Bingham’s story from there. Driven by honky-tonk piano with an assist from Taura Stinson’s inspired gospel backing vocals, Bingham sings about his early days playing rowdy Texas roadhouses for tips. Festive zydeco fiddle plays the hook on the rocking “Pontiac,” while Hill Country acoustic blues backs Bingham on “Beautiful and Kind.” “What Would I’ve Become” muses on how things might have turned out had he played it safe and settled in one of the dusty towns he bounced around growing up.
American Love Song turns outward on “Situation Station,” which calls out politicians — particularly President Trump — for “selling them lies” to the working poor, while pointing out, “In the end, we’re all waiting in the same station.” The hits keep coming on “Got Damn Blues,” an anthem of determination to overcome the ever-present chaos he sees around him.
Throughout the album, Bingham intentionally relates his American story from the melting pot of influences that define him.
“There are so many different walks of life, there’s so many different people,” he explains. “I feel like I’ve been shaped by all these different things, whether it’s music from different cultures, food, different languages, all that stuff.”
Down in the border towns like Laredo, where a narrow river carves through the landscape and divides two countries, the question Bingham poses on “America” lingers:  “America, where have you gone? There was a dream you gave us once. Is it not for everyone?”
As a teenager, Bingham made trips across the Rio Grande with his friend Malacho, an American by birth who spoke broken English, to watch Mexican rodeos. Even though Malacho was an American citizen, he struggled knowing his prospects here were slim.
“He’s like, ‘What am I gonna do, Ryan, go mow lawns for a living or work at McDonald’s?’ When 10 of his cousins are, you know, making tons of money smuggling stuff across the border.”
Bingham doesn’t believe the current border narrative, that the majority of people crossing are “criminals and thugs.” From his own experience, he sees vulnerable women and children hoping to escape bad situations. Not unlike his own family all those years ago.
“I’ve helped some of them come across the border, and that’s exactly what they are — a lot of women and kids down there just kinda looking for a better life,” he says. “It’s pretty heartbreaking to me to see how anybody would not take some of these people in and try to give them a fair shot.
“These different kinds of people have taken care of me throughout my life and made me who I am. I feel like I’m as much a part of those cultures as I am anything.”

Today's Tune: Ryan Bingham - Wolves

Calling Out Around the World


By Mark Steyn
March 18, 2019

Image result for chelsea clinton muslim student
Palestinian Muslim students at NYU accuse Chelsea Clinton of stoking New Zealand massacre

All jihad is local, but all "Islamophobia" is global. So, if a Muslim of Afghan origin shoots up a gay nightclub in Florida and kills 49 people, that's just one crazed loner and no broader lessons can be discerned from his act. On the other hand, if a white guy shoots up two mosques in New Zealand and kills 50 people, that indicts us all, and we need to impose worldwide restraints on free speech to make sure it doesn't happen again. I'm ecumenical enough to mourn the dead in both gay clubs and mosques, but I wonder why we are so conditioned to accept Islamic terror as (in the famous words of London mayor Sadiq Khan) "part and parcel of living in a big city" that it is only the exceptions to the rule that prompt industrial-scale moral preening from politicians and media. [UPDATE: Utrecht isn't that big a city - 350,000 - but it's today's designated "part and parcel".]

The Christchurch killer published the usual bonkers manifesto before livestreaming his mass murder on Facebook. Brenton Tarrant purports to be an environmentalist - indeed, a self-described "eco-fascist" - who admires Communist China (notwithstanding, presumably, its indifference to environmentalism). He wants to massacre Muslims in order to save the planet:
The environment is being destroyed by over population, we Europeans are one of the groups that are not over populating the world. The invaders are the ones over populating the world. Kill the invaders, kill the overpopulation and by so doing save the environment.
Does he mean this? Or is it a giant blood-drenched leg-pull?

No matter. For the the politicians stampeding to the nearest camera to dust off their tropes, what counts is that, if you're American, Donald Trump pulled the trigger; and, if you're British or European and you're not prepared to say that Google-Twitter-Facebook should silence anybody to the right of Trevor Noah, then you're part of the problem. Here's the rather less homicidal environmentalist Catherine McKenna, Canada's Climate Change Minister, getting it pitch-perfect in two steps. First, visit a mosque (although obviously not to kill everyone to "save the environment", like Mr Tarrant); second, blame those whose exhibitionism isn't as gung ho as yours:
I spoke to parents at Ottawa Main Mosque today whose kids are too scared to pray & go to school. In Canada.
Meanwhile Andrew Scheer has to be called out before he can call out Islamophobia.
For non-Canadians, Mr Scheer is the Conservative Opposition Leader. But the point is you can call him out and, as Maxime Bernier noted of his former colleague, like many jelly-spined Tories he will instantly squeal, "No, wait, hold that last seat on the bandwagon for me." Even more disturbingly, the broadcaster Charles Adler denounced the Governor General for not "calling out" Islamophobia.

The Governor General of Canada is the Queen's vicereine. As the old joke has it, she is obligated to speak in governor-generalities - as, indeed, Her Majesty is. That is what is expected of an apolitical monarch. So, when there is an act of mass murder, the Crown and its viceroys express shock and sympathy and revulsion - and leave the politics to the likes of Ms McKenna and the hapless Scheer.

I would be interested to know why Mr Adler thinks it is in the national interest to lend the imprimatur of the Crown and the state to as specious and opportunistically deployed a conceit as "Islamophobia". One of our Antipodean Steyn Club members, Kate Smyth, drew my attention to a fine example of that: After the Islamic terror attack in Melbourne four months ago, Muslim community leaders refused to meet with Aussie Prime Minister Scott Morrison because of all the systemic Islamophobia. After the Christchurch attack, the same Muslim community leaders are demanding a meeting with Morrison because of all the, er, systemic Islamophobia. To say Terror Attack A is something to do with Islam is totally Islamophobic; to refuse to say Terror Attack B is Islamophobic is even more totally Islamophobic.

Were the Queen or the Governor General to pull an Andrew Scheer and sign on to this somewhat selective view of the world's travails, it would necessarily imply that "Islamophobia" is now beyond and above politics, and in that sense beyond criticism. The use of "Islamophobia" in the Melbourne attack is, in fact, its standard deployment: it is an all-purpose card played to shut down any debate.

Not, of course, that there's much debate as it is. And there's likely to be even less in the future. Facebook, which is unable to devise algorithms preventing a depraved psychopath livestreaming mass slaughter on its platform, is busy fine-tuning its controls to expel the most anodyne dissenters from the social-justice pieties. Less speech inevitably means more violence - because, if you can't talk about anything, what's left but to shoot up the joint?
Thus the revolution devours its own. It goes without saying that right-wing madmen like Donald Trump and Andrew Scheer are to blame for Christchurch, but did you know that, when you peel back the conspiracy and discover who's really pulling the Trump-Scheer strings, you find Islamophobic white supremacist Chelsea Clinton?
Muslim students have berated Chelsea Clinton at a vigil for the victims of the New Zealand mosques massacre, saying she is to blame for the attack...
'This right here is the result of a massacre stoked by people like you and the words that you put out into the world,' says Dweik, gesturing to the vigil for the 49 who were killed in Christchurch when a white nationalist shooter stormed two mosques.
'And I want you to know that and I want you to feel that deeply - 49 people died because of the rhetoric you put out there,' Dweik continues, jabbing her index finger toward Clinton as other students snap their fingers in apparent approval of her words.
Click below to watch:


All poor Chelsea was doing was trying to cut herself a piece of the grief-signaling action, and suddenly she finds herself in one big unsafe space:
According to NYU student Rose Asaf, who posted the video on Twitter, students at the vigil were angry about Clinton's accusation last month that Rep Ilhan Omar, a Minnesota Democrat, used 'anti-Semitic language and tropes' while criticizing Israel...
Clinton was one of many who condemned Omar's remarks, writing in a tweet: 'We should expect all elected officials, regardless of party, and all public figures to not traffic in anti-Semitism.'
It's hate-filled Islamophobic statements like that that will get us all killed, Chelsea. Personally I blame Christchurch on Nancy Pelosi's recent House resolution condemning the Dreyfus Affair.

But I'm sure Chelsea's learned her lesson. How eager do you think she'll be to criticize Ilhan Omar's next outburst?

Things are changing faster than you think. The urge to change New Zealand's gun laws might be politely excused as a reflexive response to the means by which an appalling attack was carried out. But the demand throughout the west to restrict both private gun ownership and free speech are indicative of a more calculated clampdown, and of broader assumptions about control of the citizenry on all fronts. In the transition to the new assumptions, we are approaching a tipping point, in which the authorities of the state (as in the average British constabulary's Twitter feed) are ever more openly concerned to clamp down on you noticing what's happening rather than on what is actually happening.
Finally, an observation from Steyn Club member Steven Payne:
Does anybody know how many mosques there are in the city named Christchurch? Am I the only one who sees the irony there?
Like the old Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah joke about the "24-Hour Dry-Cleaners" shop, "Christchurch" is just the name. In my bleaker moments, I recall a memorable line from the opening scene in Daniel Silva's novel The Secret Servant, about the murder of an old Jew in the streets of multiculti Amsterdam. He dies in the shadow of the Zuiderkerk, a seventeenth-century church where Rembrandt worshiped and which Monet painted, but long since converted into a municipal information center - although the bell tower remains:
No one intervened— hardly surprising, thought Rosner, for intervention would have been intolerant—and no one thought to comfort him as he lay dying. Only the bells spoke to him.
'A church without faithful,' they seemed to be saying, 'in a city without God.'