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Charles Krauthammer tries to divine the jihadi logic of the Islamic State.
What was the Islamic State thinking? We know it is sophisticated in its use of modern media. But what was the logic of propagating to the world videos of its beheadings of two Americans (and subsequently a Briton) — sure to inflame public opinion?
There are two possible explanations. One is that these terrorists are more depraved and less savvy than we think. They so glory in blood that they could not resist making an international spectacle of their savagery — after all, they proudly broadcast their massacre of Shiite prisoners — and did not quite fathom how such a brazen, contemptuous slaughter of Americans would radically alter public opinion and risk bringing down upon them the furies of the U.S. Air Force.
The second theory is that they were fully aware of the inevitable consequence of their broadcast beheadings — and they intended the outcome. It was an easily sprung trap to provoke America into entering the Mesopotamian war.
Because they’re sure we will lose. Not immediately and not militarily. They know we always win the battles but they are convinced that, as war drags on, we lose heart and go home.
Mark Steyn posts on the state’s business licensing. And after four years, a judge in Florida slaps down the states jackboot thugs.
I often joke with my hairdresser Amanda about the number of state permits she requires for the privilege of cutting my hair. As I point out on page 49 of After America (personally autographed copies of which are exclusively available, etc):
In the Fifties, one in twenty members of the workforce needed government permission in order to do his job. Today, it’s one in three.
That’s tyrannous – which is bad enough, albeit not unique to America: The entire developed world has massively expanded the hyper-regulatory state. But only in America does the Department of Paperwork command lethal force:
“On August 19, 2010, two inspectors from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) visited the Strictly Skillz Barbershop in Orlando and found everything in order: All of the barbers working there were properly licensed, and all of the work stations complied with state regulations. Two days later, even though no violations had been discovered and even though the DBPR is authorized to conduct such inspections only once every two years, the inspectors called again, this time accompanied by “between eight and ten officers, including narcotics agents,” who “rushed into” the barbershop “like [a] SWAT team.” Some of them wore masks and bulletproof vests and had their guns drawn. Meanwhile, police cars blocked off the parking lot.
The officers ordered all the customers to leave, announcing that the shop was “closed down indefinitely.” They handcuffed the owner, Brian Berry, and two barbers who rented chairs from him, then proceeded to search the work stations and a storage room. They demanded the barbers’ driver’s licenses and checked for outstanding warrants. One of the inspectors, Amanda Fields, asked for the same paperwork she had seen two days earlier, going through the motions of verifying (again) that the barbers were not cutting hair without a license (a second-degree misdemeanor). Finding no regulatory violations or contraband, the officers released Berry and the others after about an hour.’
What sort of lunatic handcuffs a barber in order to check his license is valid? The gauleiter in question is Inspector Amanda Fields of Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation – and, in a sane world, she’d be the one in handcuffs. But, as far as I can tell, she still has her job. Judge Rosenbaum’s opinion for the US 11th Circuit is unusually vivid: …
MacKubin Thomas Owens writes on current thinking about Grant and Lee and the Civil War.
… Almost from the moment the conflict ended, the Lost Cause came to dominate interpretations of the war, in the North as well as in the South. The works of Douglas Southall Freeman, the Virginian and biographer of Robert E. Lee, represent the epitome of the Lost Cause school, but even writers like Bruce Catton, who interpreted the war primarily from a Northern perspective, accepted many of the Lost Cause assumptions.
There are two parts to the Lost Cause interpretation. The first is political and holds that the cause of the war was not slavery but the oppressive power of the central government, which wished to tyrannize over the southern states. The South wished only to exercise its constitutional right to secede, but was thwarted by a power-hungry Lincoln.
The second part is military: The noblest soldier of the war was Robert E. Lee. For three years, he and his army fought in Virginia, the most important theater of the war; he was more skilful than his adversaries, but went down to defeat because of the North’s superior resources.
The first part of the Lost Cause argument is demonstrably false. Slavery was both the proximate and the deep cause of the war. There was no constitutional right to dissolve the Union.
Southerners could have invoked the natural right of revolution, but they didn’t because of the implications of such a declaration for a slave-holding society; they were, therefore, hardly the heirs of the Revolutionary generation.
But there is a great deal of truth to the second part. The South did fight at a material disadvantage. In Lenin’s words, “quantity has a quality all its own.” And Lee was a remarkably skilful soldier who overcame immense odds on battlefield after battlefield.
For the last two decades, historians have been freeing themselves from the shackles of the Lost Cause school. This has led to a revision of the reputations of both Lee and Grant.
For example, an increasing number of historians have come to reject the Lost Cause argument that Virginia was the decisive theater of the war. The key to Union victory, they hold, was the West. Here Union armies used the Tennessee River as the main line of operations to penetrate deep into the Confederate heartland early in the war. By the end of 1862, they controlled most of the Mississippi River except the stretch between Vicksburg and Port Hudson. These fell in the summer of 1863. Union armies in the West then penetrated the Appalachian barrier at Chattanooga, opening the way to Atlanta, the fall of which ultimately doomed the Confederacy.
They inflicted defeat after defeat on the main Confederate army in the West, the Army of Tennessee (not to be confused with the Union Army of the Tennessee) and captured vast tracts of territory that were essential to the survival of the Confederacy
In throwing off the shackles of the Lost Cause school, many historians, including prominent southerners, have gone to the other extreme and attacked Lee, something that was unthinkable only two decades ago. For instance, Thomas Connelly and Alan Nolan contend that Lee hurt the southern cause because of a single-minded offensive orientation that led to casualties the Confederacy could not afford.
According to his detractors, Lee had no grand strategy and, for parochial reasons, focused narrowly on defending his home state of Virginia. In his search for a Napoleonic battle of annihilation, he paid too high a cost in casualties. Lee’s predilection for the offensive not only hastened the defeat of the South but also was a major contributing cause of that defeat. In the words of Connelly, the Confederacy would “have fared better had it not possessed” a leader as aggressive as Robert E. Lee. Indeed, some of these historians have gone so far as to argue that Lee’s reputation as a gifted soldier was “manufactured history,” a postwar invention by such Lost Cause writers as Jubal Early, who distorted the record by vastly inflating Lee’s abilities and wartime stature.
On the other hand, Grant’s reputation has been enhanced. …
And here’s the important stuff. From Latin Times we learn that a glass of wine is better than going to the gym.
Whoever said no news is good news was wrong. Turns out drinking red wine is better for you than going to the gym! How’s that for good news? Jason Dyck and other science researchers in the University of Alberta in Canada found that red wine, nuts and grapes have a complex called resveratrol which improves heart, muscle and bone functions; the same way they’re improved when one goes to the gym. Resveratrol proved to be an effective antioxidant when tested on rodents which is why scientists are planning on testing it with diabetics. If results are positive for the benefits of the complex, patient’s heart health could be improved just as much as it does when they work out vigorously.
While scientists and wine lovers are rejoicing over this news, doctors are still unlikely to recommend their patients to start drinking any type of alcohol as it can have harmful effects on your body. …