Walk into any Catholic church in America and you'll find the same two flags somewhere in the sanctuary, usually on the altar.
One is instantly recognizable to Americans regardless of religious affiliation: It's red, white and blue and features stars and stripes. The other is gold and white and decorated by a pair of crossed keys and a tiara.
Once again this week, church leaders seem more interested in protecting the latter, the Vatican national flag, than they are the citizens of the former. With the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops poised to adopt measures meant to increase accountability for their handling of sexual abuse cases, the Vatican ordered them to stand down until Pope Francis can convene a global summit on the crisis next year.
The crisis management attempts come at truly the 11th hour. Diocese across the country have released lists of the priests credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor in the last month, building up to this week's conference.
Even this attempt at transparency was poorly executed: The diocese declined to issue a news release to the public or the media about the list.
As clueless as the American church leaders appear, the Vatican is clearly more inept when it comes to public relations. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops meets on a regular basis, and the agenda is about as secret as the order of mass each Sunday.
To wait until the eve of the meeting's start to instruct the bishops to delay voting is dumbfounding, especially with a number of abuse survivors and reform advocates on-site and eager for the bishops to take action.
What's more, the proposed initiatives aren't exactly Vatican Council worthy. The recommendations are practical and long overdue steps to addressing the lack of accountability by bishops. Many Catholics find the scandal cover-ups, from Boston in 2002 to Pennsylvania this August, almost as despicable as the crimes, particularly when bishops respond to abuse by simply moving abuser priests to other geographic locales, where they are free to abuse again.
The U.S. bishops were set to answer parishioners' calls for change by creating a hotline for reporting bishops alleged to be abusers or to have covered up abuse, a review board made up of laypeople -- parishioners -- to hear allegations, a procedure to remove bishops determined to be abusers themselves, and a bishops' code of conduct.
The postponement certainly appears to be an attempt to let reform demands cool, particularly in the context of similar attempts in the past.
American bishops moved to adopt their own measures following the Boston scandal, examining ideas such as a zero tolerance policy for priests as well as establishing a layperson review board. The Vatican ordered a delay on those efforts, too, and ultimately squashed them.
Time will tell if American Catholics are in a repeat. The pope has called the global summit for February, and the leaders of the U.S. bishops conference will attend. The full U.S. bishops conference is scheduled to meet in March and could adopt recommendations from the global summit then.
Anything less than the proposals tabled by the bishops this week would be disappointing. The Vatican has been negligent in its failure to look out for parishioners for far too long.
My tail feathers got all twisted when I read that the average American gains 27 pounds between Thanksgiving Day and New Year's Eve.
OK, I'm pulling your leg. The statistic's more like 4 to 7 pounds, but even that's depressing -- enough extra poundage to make your jeans feel like a blood-pressure cuff.
Take heart! It doesn't have to be that way. We humans have choices. Dogs, cats and children pretty much have to eat whatever's piled in front of them, but we grown-ups are free to choose, free to make small meaningful changes in our life that lessen our risk of obesity and boost our well-being.
I'm a big fan of the Nutrition Action newsletter. In a recent issue, Caitlin Dow summed up important new research about overeating in an article called "How To Eat Less: What Works, What Doesn't." It's filled with surprises and helpful suggestions:
SHATTERING THE SMALL PLATE MYTH.
Remember when obesity experts were telling us that eating on small plates helped you eat smaller portions? Not so fast.
"Focusing on plate size is a diversion," says Barbara Rolls, a professor of nutritional science at Pennsylvania State University. She's looked at the existing research, and done her own, and concludes that people do not eat less when they use a smaller plate. Sorry.
"I'm particularly fond of the buffet experiment," she says. "If we gave people smaller plates, they just went back to the buffet more times."
Eating off a small plate might be helpful if it's a visual reminder for you to eat less, but it won't stop you from overeating. In fact, she says, people who only have a small plate to eat off are likely to leave off the foods they don't really like, which are often vegetables. Much more important is to learn to love your veggies.
CHOOSE LOW-DENSITY FOODS.
It's not the size of the plate. It's what you put on the plate that really matters. Duh. "Half the food on your plate should be fruits and vegetables that have a low calorie density," says Rolls. Low-calorie-density foods are what you might expect: They are whole, unprocessed foods high in water and fiber. These foods fill you up, but they don't pack in nearly as many calories per bite as high-calorie-density foods, such as pies, cakes, cookies and candy. Knowing this is one thing; acting on it is up to you.
DON'T FORCE BREAKFAST.
We've been hearing this for years: If you want to control your weight, eat a healthy breakfast. It jump-starts your metabolism and keeps you from eating everything but the kitchen sink at lunch. (Don't you wonder how that expression got started?)
While research tells us that people who eat breakfast do tend to weigh less than people who skip it, it's not necessarily true that skipping breakfast causes weight gain. And the point is? If you feel better skipping breakfast, don't force-feed yourself all those extra calories first thing in the morning. Listen to your body. And don't think you're doomed to overeating at lunch. It may or may not happen. You're in charge.
BE MINDFUL ABOUT EATING.
In my opinion, this strategy has the greatest promise of all when it comes to lifetime weight control, because as your mind shifts, so will the needle on your scale. It's simple and profound at the same time: Learn to tune in to your own body's wisdom when it comes to eating. Your body wants to be healthy and eat well. If you listen to it and explore various options, you'll figure out how to bring your body back to balance. That's when the drama over dieting ends and you're free to move on to piano lessons or planting an herb garden.
"Mindful eating means that you tune in to hunger signals so you only eat when you're hungry and stop eating when you're satisfied," says Drexel University psychology professor Evan Forman. "It also teaches people to slow down and to not eat out of boredom or in an automatic, mindless way."
That level of body awareness may sound impossible to you, but know this: It isn't.That's why mindfulness training is booming. It's not 100 percent effective, but nothing is. Well, that's not true, either. Downsizing your portions -- sharing an entree, eating starters -- always works!
"Eating crappy food isn't a reward -- it's a punishment." --Drew Carey
It's a few weeks away, Saturday December 8th 2018.... the 15th Annual Calusa Blueway Kayak Fishing Tournament! presented by Gulf Coast Kayak and hosted by "Olde Fish House Marina" 4530 Pine Island Rd NW Matlacha, FL 33993
This will be a "catch, photo and release" tournament, All Fishing must be done from a non-motorized paddle craft & take place in Lee County Waterways.
This tournament is on its way to becoming premier paddlesport fishing tournament here in Southwest Florida and is expected to draw up to 100 anglers. Entry is $65 per angler and tournament proceeds will benefit Candlelighters of Southwest Florid, whose mission is to help families of children with cancer or blood disorders, serving approximately 550 families in a five-county area - Lee, Charlotte, Collier, Hendry and Glades - providing support, education and advocacy to these children, as well as the professionals that care for them. All children with cancer or blood disorders and their families are eligible to receive benefits of membership. For more information visit them at www.candlelightersswfl.org
Registered "paddle anglers" can begin to fish at safe light, with the "weigh in" starting at 12 noon and going till 3pm. Post-tournament ceremonies to begin at 3:30pm:
1st Place Prize-$1000,
2nd Place Prize-$500,
3rd Place Prize-$250
1st Place PADDLE BOARD Angler Prize-Body Glove Mariner Paddle Board
1st Place WOMENS ANGLER PRIZE-Rod/Reel Combo from Estero River Outfitters valued at $200
This is a is an inshore slam tournament. Longest total inches of a snook, trout, and redfish. So don’t waste time catching a tarpon.
They will also be giving away another Body Glove Angler paddleboard, and plenty of other opportunities to Win something Cool!
All Heros! Veterans, Military & First Responders! Now through the end of November receive $10 off your registration with proof of service! Register now: https://www.facebook.com/pg/calusafishingtournament/
Well you say this sounds like fun but you don't know anything about kayak fishing? YOU'RE IN LUCK!
Four days before this tournament there is an "Intro to Kayak Fishing" presentation... read on!
The "Intro to Kayak Fishing Tournaments" will be presented by Dan Carns as the first talk in a series of free Calusa Blueway-related programs. This informational talk is set for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 4, at the Wa-Ke Hatchee Recreation Center, 16760 Bass Road, Fort Myers, FL 33908.
Dan Carns is a professional kayak fishing guide with years of experience fishing the waters of the Calusa Blueway and participating in paddle fishing tournaments. He will bring his own equipment and discuss how to prepare for fishing tournaments, strategies, rigging your craft, measuring fish, and other topics related to tournament fishing.
“With the Calusa Blueway Kayak Fishing Tournament being just a few days after our first talk, we thought it would be a great idea to have Dan focus on tournament fishing,” says Calusa Blueway Coordinator Mike Hammond. “He is our most requested speaker and we’re excited to have him back again”.
So come on out to the informational intro to Kayak Fishing and then jump right in to your first tourney!
Remember the fishing vessel has to be propelled by paddle!
Michelle Obama has a new memoir out called "Becoming." Add two words: "Very Wealthy." The Obamas struck a $65 million book deal for his-and-hers memoirs, and next to it is their $50 million production deal with Netflix. They are set to cash in to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. One outlet has called them a "billion-dollar brand." None of their media sycophants find this the tiniest bit controversial. They are the royal family. They cannot possibly be compensated enough.
(President Trump's wealth? Wealth generated by a lifetime of work in the private sector? Unacceptable.)
Mrs. Obama's interviews -- entirely with women, and mostly black women -- are servile in every "objective news" venue and even worse during TV promotional pit stops. Ellen DeGeneres aired a sappy tribute video stuffed with adoration and proclaimed that Obama is "a human being that we all look up to." She said, "you inspire all of us. So, we put together a little something for you to just show you how amazing you are."
No one asks about any Obama scandal, like the 2012 Benghazi attack. No one asks about her controversial, heavy-handed school lunch rules, which Trump thankfully threw out. And no one asks about greed. She has a 10-city stadium tour charging $300 a ticket or more for the superfans to hear her speak. Is it appropriate to cash in on her FLOTUS status this way? How much, if any, has gone to charity? These kinds of questions are unacceptable. This is Michelle Obama.
Republican first ladies can only dream of this kind of treatment.
To understand the fawning nature of this coverage, consult Andrea Mitchell's "reporting" on the "NBC Nightly News." On Nov. 9, Mitchell offered an infomercial for Mrs. Obama, saying, "After fiercely guarding her privacy in the White House years, now the most revealing memoir ever written by a former first lady, ripping President Trump's false accusations about her husband's citizenship as bigoted and dangerous."
Michelle's body "buzzed with fury after the infamous 'Access Hollywood' tape," Mitchell said. To break up the commercial, there were a few seconds of a clip of President Trump saying, "She got paid a lot of money to write a book, and they always insist you come up with controversial ..." NBC wouldn't even air the end of the sentence.
Did Michelle's body buzz with fury when former President Bill Clinton's accusers resurfaced to remind people that he sexually assaulted them? Nobody asks.
Mitchell finished the Obama report talking about "intimate details" that were the publisher's talking points, like Obama's "devastating miscarriage" and some marriage counseling she went to with Barack. Oh, and Mitchell said Obama is "on a tour befitting a rock star."
Now compare. Eight years ago, first lady Laura Bush's memoir was released, and there was Andrea Mitchell. She began with then-President Bush's mangling of the Hurricane Katrina optics, saying: "She writes about Katrina. August 31st, two days after the hurricane struck, the levees had failed. People were desperate. The president flies over instead of visiting." Mrs. Bush says the president flew over to keep his convoy of vehicles from blocking helpful supplies.
For rebuttal, NBC put on liberal historian Douglas Brinkley, who bizarrely claimed the government was conspiring against help: "the federal government was stopping trucks from Walmart and Kmart with water and food from even arriving."
Then Mitchell discussed the Bushes' fear of being poisoned at a German summit in 2007. And then, for a trifecta of "good news," she brought up Bush's "lifelong guilt" over having killed a 17-year-old friend in a car accident.
If that contrast sounds like a joke, it is. But it's also real.
Most Americans would like the media to tread lightly with the first ladies, especially after they've lived in the White House. But the liberal media have savaged Nancy Reagan and the Bush wives, and they're not exactly rolling out a red carpet for Melania Trump. The favoritism cannot be more obvious.
L. Brent Bozell III and Tim Graham
In a rebuke bordering on national insult Sunday, Emmanuel Macron retorted to Donald Trump's calling himself a nationalist.
"Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism; nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism."
As for Trump's policy of "America first," Macron trashed such atavistic thinking in this new age: "By saying we put ourselves first and the others don't matter, we erase what a nation holds dearest, what gives it life, what makes it great and what is essential: its moral values."
Though he is being hailed as Europe's new anti-Trump leader who will stand up for transnationalism and globalism, Macron reveals his ignorance of America.
Trump's ideas are not ideological but rooted in our country's history.
America was born between the end of the French and Indian War, the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the ratification of the Constitution in 1788. Both the general who led us in the Revolution and the author of that declaration became president. Both put America first. And both counseled their countrymen to avoid "entangling" or "permanent" alliances with any other nation, as we did for 160 years.
Were George Washington and Thomas Jefferson lacking in patriotism?
When Woodrow Wilson, after being re-elected in 1916 on the slogan "He Kept Us Out of War," took us into World War I, he did so as an "associate," not as an Allied power. U.S. troops fought under U.S. command.
After that war, the U.S. Senate rejected an alliance with France. Under Franklin Roosevelt, Congress formally voted for neutrality in any future European war.
The U.S. emerged from World War II as the least bloodied and least damaged nation because we remained out of the war for more than two years after it had begun.
We did not invade France until four years after France was occupied, the British had been thrown off the Continent, and Josef Stalin's Soviet Union had been fighting and dying for three years.
The leaders who kept us out of the two world wars as long as they did -- did they not serve our nation well, when America's total losses were just over 500,000 dead, compared with the millions other nations lost?
At the Armistice Day ceremony, Macron declared, "By saying we put ourselves first and the others don't matter, we erase what a nation holds dearest ... its moral values."
But Trump did not say that other countries don't matter. He only said we should put our own country first.
What country does Emmanuel Macron put first?
Or does the president of France see himself as a citizen of the world with responsibility for all of Europe and all of mankind?
Charles de Gaulle was perhaps the greatest French patriot in the 20th century. Yet he spoke of a Europe of nation-states, built a national nuclear arsenal, ordered NATO out of France in 1966, and, in Montreal in 1967, declared, "Long live a free Quebec" -- inciting French Canadians to rise up against "les Anglo-Saxons" and create their own nation.
Was de Gaulle lacking in patriotism?
By declaring American nationalists anti-patriotic, Macron has asserted a claim to the soon-to-be-vacant chair of Angela Merkel.
But is Macron really addressing the realities of the new Europe and world in which we now live, or is he simply assuming a heroic liberal posture to win the applause of Western corporate and media elites?
The realities: In Britain, Scots are seeking secession, and the English have voted to get out of the European Union. Many Basques and Catalans wish to secede from Spain. Czechs and Slovaks have split the blanket and parted ways.
Anti-EU sentiment is rampant in populist-dominated Italy.
A nationalism their peoples regard as deeply patriotic has triumphed in Poland and Hungary and is making gains even in Germany.
The leaders of the world's three greatest military powers -- Trump in the U.S., Vladimir Putin in Russia and Xi Jinping in China -- are all nationalists.
Turkish nationalist Recep Tayyip Erdogan rules in Ankara, Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi in India. Jair Bolsonaro, a Trumpian nationalist, is the incoming president of Brazil. Is not Benjamin Netanyahu an Israeli nationalist?
In France, a poll of voters last week showed that Marine Le Pen's renamed party, Rassemblement National, has moved ahead of Macron's party for the May 2019 European Parliament elections.
If there is a valid criticism of Trump's foreign policy, it is not that he has failed to recognize the new realities of the 21st century but that he has not moved expeditiously to dissolve old alliances that put America at risk of war in faraway lands where no vital U.S. interests exist.
Why are we still committed to fight for a South Korea far richer and more populous than a nuclear-armed North? Why are U.S. planes and ships still bumping into Russian planes and ships in the Baltic and Black seas?
Why are we still involved in the half-dozen wars into which Bush II and Barack Obama got us in the Middle East?
Why do we not have the "America first" foreign policy we voted for?
Patrick J. Buchanan
Everything is energy! So why not recycle energy and help the environment too?
The same way we recycle other things, new technology can recycle carbon out of the atmosphere, combine it with hydrogen and oxygen to a create fuel that it is the same chemically as gas, diesel or jet fuel that can burn without pollutants as a biproduct. No pollutants? YES! No pollutants! No black smoke you see from trucks when they go up hill... even the diesel fuel burns completely clean!
Instead of changing our whole way of travel from vehicles that burn fuels to vehicles that run on electricity, (electricity by the way, is made by burning carbon producing fuel, but that’s another story) why not change the fuel to a clean burning one, that does not pollute and removes CO₂ from the air in the process of being made?
In a small town in Squamish, B.C., a facility is making gasoline from carbon dioxide emissions captured from thin air. The company named Carbon Engineering applies equipment and chemistry common in other industries to remove CO₂ from the air and then make fuel with it. They claim that those fuels, which are compatible with all vehicles or planes, can be entirely carbon neutral. While scientists debate the word “entirely,” they generally agree the process works. "This isn't a PowerPoint presentation," said Steve Oldham, CEO of Carbon Engineering."It's real."
A Swiss-based Company ‘Climeworks’ has already built a commercial-scale plant that removes carbon from the air, but their process costs Climeworks about $600 US a ton to remove carbon from the atmosphere. Carbon Engineering says it can do the job for between $94 US to $232 US a ton because it uses technology and components that are well understood and already commercially available.
"We're tapping into existing industrial equipment and then defining a new process and applying some unique chemistry to it," said Oldham.
Carbon Engineering's plant in Squamish, B.C., currently pulls about one ton of carbon a day from the air and produces about two barrels of fuel. Since the technology and components it uses are off the rack, it should be easy to scale up, Oldham said.
The plant currently uses some natural gas, so by the time the fuel it produces has been burned, the production of it will release a half-ton of carbon dioxide for every ton it removed from the air. That gives it a carbon footprint 70 per cent lower than a fossil fuel, he said.
That footprint would shrink even further if the plant were all-electric. And if it ran on wind- or solar-generated electricity, the fuel creation would be almost carbon neutral.
Carbon Engineering's next step is to build a full-scale plant. That'll take about 2 1/2 years, said Oldham.
Carbon-neutral fuels would allow everyone to ditch the guilt associated with, say, booking an overseas flight or driving that big gas guzzler, Oldham points out: “If you can eliminate your carbon footprint, you don’t have to change your behavior.”
Carbon is uniformly distributed in the air so having a plant next to a “dirty factory” or having one in the middle of the desert would produce the same amount of fuel.
One of the great benefits of making fuel from air is energy independence, said Oldham. "Any country, any region, can have its own fuel. They'd be no longer dependent on the geopolitical situation if Country X has oil and Country Y does not."
A carbon neutral fuel that is compatible with any vehicle in use today? Truth is truly stranger than fiction.
The New York Times recently published a snippy attack on Attorney General Jeff Sessions, portraying him as a single-minded zealot pursuing crackpot ideas that were putting the Trump administration "on track to lose in court and prompting high-level departures."
The Times' sources were "current and former career department lawyers." In other words, Trump-hating Democratic zealots weeks away from their book contracts.
One attorney who left the Department of Justice during its descent into madness under Sessions was Stephen J. Buckingham. (Why not "Astor" or "Carnegie"?)
As at any federal agency, 99 percent of "career" attorneys at DOJ are left-wing. Social activists move effortlessly from the ACLU, the Democratic Socialists of America and the Lesbian and Gay Immigration Rights Task Force to government jobs. Thus, one entry on Buckingham's resume is that he "created a program to amend the immigration status of unaccompanied Sudanese refugee minors."
During Democratic administrations, these selfless career employees sell guns to Mexican drug cartels and run around the country making sure local police forces can't do their jobs. During Republican administrations, they spend their time quietly, relentlessly sabotaging the administration they allegedly serve.
In addition to being a nonstop source of critical remarks about the Trump administration, "career" DOJ employees also lead mob assaults on Cabinet members, as Allison Hrabar did to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in June.
Along with a dozen of her friends from the Democratic Socialists of America, DOJ paralegal Hrabar surrounded Nielsen's table at a Washington, D.C., restaurant, shouting: "Kirstjen Nielsen, you're a villain!" "If kids don't eat in peace, you don't eat in peace!" "The f---ing gall!" "Shame on you!" "Shame! Shame! Shame!" "Fascist pig!" -- which Nielsen eventually realized was not the evening's special. (And it still didn't occur to Gen. John Kelly's special friend Nielsen why voters wanted a wall.)
It took months of complaints about the DOJ not firing Hrabar -- and her own arrogant claim that she couldn't be fired -- for her to finally lose her job.
In Buckingham's case, he told the Times that his conscience was shocked when Sessions asked him a legal question. (God forbid the attorney general question one of the lawyers working at DOJ!)
The Times reports: "In one instance, Mr. Sessions directly questioned a career lawyer, Stephen Buckingham, who was asked to find ways to file a lawsuit to crack down on sanctuary laws protecting undocumented immigrants. Mr. Buckingham, who had worked at the Justice Department for about a decade, wrote in a brief" -- and presumably his forthcoming memoirs -- "that he could find no legal grounds for such a case."
Anyone else remember Arizona being denounced for two years during the Obama administration for trying to enforce immigration laws that the federal government wouldn't? Hey, idiots! The feds have total control over immigration.
Didn't Khizr Khan give Buckingham a copy of his Constitution?
I have been not practicing law longer than "Buckingham" was at the Justice Department, but I found possible legal grounds to go after sanctuary cities in approximately eight seconds on Google.
Title 18 of the U.S. Code is the federal criminal code. Section 3 states: "Accessory after the fact. Whoever, knowing that an offense against the United States has been committed, receives, relieves, comforts or assists the offender in order to hinder or prevent his apprehension, trial or punishment, is an accessory after the fact."
It's hard to miss Section 3. Section 1 was repealed in 1984, and Section 2 consists of only 52 words. But Buckingham must have exhausted himself reading Section 2 and didn't have the energy to shove ahead to Section 3.
Even if a couple sentences is your maximum reading limit, the crime of "accessory after the fact" has gotten a lot of airtime since Trump became president. It is one of the literally millions of laws Trump has probably broken, demanding his impeachment.
Before Trump was even inaugurated, Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee was claiming on MSNBC's Chris Matthews' show that Trump could be an "accessory after the fact" to the (nonexistent) Russian collusion.
Earlier this year, Frank Figliuzzi, the former assistant director for counterintelligence at the FBI, elaborated on this theory on MSNBC's "The Last Word With Lawrence O'Donnell," explaining that the president may have helped Vladimir Putin avoid punishment for his felonious act of taking out Facebook ads (or something).
By contrast with the (nonexistent) felony of (nonexistent) Russian collusion, the whole point of a "sanctuary city" is to shelter known criminals from arrest and deportation.
Sanctuary cities like Philadelphia expressly prohibit officials from giving Immigration and Customs Enforcement advance notice before releasing illegal alien inmates to the public. In California, even if ICE shows up asking for a specific criminal alien, state and local government officials are instructed to refuse to comply, except in cases of certain violent felonies.
Prosecutors in "sanctuary" jurisdictions throughout the country are dropping criminal charges against immigrants -- or allowing them to plea to minor offenses -- for the sole purpose of preventing their deportation.
In practice, this means less punishment for noncitizens than U.S. citizens. Talk about the "new Jim Crow."
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf not only refused to cooperate with federal law enforcement, she actually warned illegal aliens of an impending ICE raid.
These government officials are threatening the lives and safety of their own constituents by actively assisting known criminals escape apprehension by federal law enforcement. As Democrat Sheila Kuehl, chair of the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors, put it, Californians should "lie, cheat and steal" to ensure that no immigrant be deported.
It's hard to think of a more fundamental betrayal of the public trust.
Yes, you're right, New York Times. Poor career attorneys are being asked to do horrible things under Jeff Sessions. Such as enforce the law.
Our mainstream media remain consumed with the grisly killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, and how President Donald Trump will deal with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Understandably so, for this is the most riveting murder story since O.J. Simpson and has strategic implications across the Middle East.
Yet far more critical to the future of our civilization is the ongoing invasion of the West from the Third World.
Consider the impact of the decision by Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2015 to throw open Germany's doors to 1 million refugees from Syria's civil war.
Last weekend, in a crushing blow to Merkel, the Christian Social Union, the Bavarian sister party of her CDU, won its smallest share of the vote in half a century, 37 percent. Her coalition party, the SPD, saw its share of the Bavarian vote fall to a historic low of less than 10 percent.
The right-wing Alternative for Deutchland saw its support rise to 10 percent and has become a force in German politics. Some conservatives are urging the CDU to adopt the AfD hardline on illegal immigration.
The message sent by the Bavarian electorate is the message voters across Europe have been sending to their own capitals for years: You are failing in your first duty -- defense of the homeland from foreign invasion. Mass migration of unassimilable peoples and cultures from a global South represents an existential threat to our Europe.
As Merkel's chancellorship approaches its end, French President Emmanuel Macron, her progressive EU partner, has seen his approval fall to below 30 percent.
The U.S.-led NATO alliance may guard the Baltic and Black Sea regions against a Russian invasion from the east. But in Central, Southern and Western Europe, the more feared invaders are the peoples of Africa and the Muslim world, whose numbers are expected to triple or quadruple by this century's end.
And as their numbers grow, so, too, does their desperation to escape, even at risk of their lives, the poverty, wars and repression of their homelands to cross the Med and fill the empty spaces left by a depopulating Europe.
It also now appears that the U.S. elections, not three weeks away, may be affected by another immigration crisis on the U.S. border.
As of Thursday, a caravan of 4,000 refugees without visas had crossed from Honduras into Guatemala and was heading toward Mexico. By Election Day, it will either have been stopped, or it will be here. And this caravan is a portent of things to come.
According to The Washington Post, during FY 2018, which ended last month, 107,212 members of "family units" crossed over into the U.S., "obliterating the previous record of 77,857 set in 2016."
Citing DHS figures, the Post adds, "Border patrol agents arrested 16,658 family members in September alone, the highest one-month total on record and an 80 percent increase from July."
When Trump, under intense political fire, ended his "zero tolerance" policy of separating refugees from their children, this message went out to Mexico and Central America:
Bring your kids with you when you cross the border. They will have to stay with you, and they cannot be held for more than 20 days. Thus, when they are released, you will be released to await a hearing on your claim of asylum. The odds are excellent that you can vanish into the U.S. population and never be sent back.
Enraged, Trump has threatened to cut off aid to El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala if they do not stop the caravans and has warned Mexico he will use the U.S. military to secure our border.
Unwanted mass migration is the issue of our time, as there is no foreseeable end to it before it alters America irremediably.
As these migrants are almost all poor, not highly skilled, and do not speak English, most will join that segment of our population that pays no income taxes but qualifies for social welfare benefits like food stamps, medical care and free education in our public schools.
They are thus a net drain upon the resources of a nation that is already, at full employment, running a deficit of $779 billion a year.
These migrants, however, are a present and future benefit to the Democratic Party that built and maintains our mammoth welfare state, and which, in presidential elections, routinely wins 70 to 90 percent of the votes of people whose trace their ancestry to Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Not without reason, Democrats believe that if they can change the composition of the American electorate, they can control America forever.
If Donald Trump was elected on any one issue, it was immigration and his promises to secure the border, build the wall and halt the invasion.
How he deals with the impending crisis of the migrant caravan may affect both the fate of his party in November and his presidency in 2020.
Patrick J. Buchanan
Elizabeth Warren's identity crisis should doom the left's exploitation of racist identity politics.
The U.S. senator's disastrous 23andMe reveal opened a bottomless well of social media memes, including a satirical #MeSioux movement and a goldfish claiming stature as 1/1024 great white shark.
Fun at the wannabe president's expense should linger as a serious and disruptive mood that improves the culture's political trajectory.
Warren, D-Mass., isn't the first Caucasian to feign minority status. Former University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill falsely identified as a Native American at the University of Colorado-Boulder, before the school fired him in 2007 on charges of research misconduct, plagiarism and exploiting a false identity.
As an Africana Studies instructor at Eastern Washington University, Rachel Dolezal colored her skin and faked being black. She led a National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's chapter in Washington state before a reporter outed her as white in 2015.
German actress Martina Big commissioned a medical procedure in 2017 to transition from white to black.
Dolezal wants "transracialism" accepted like the transgender movement. Critics see the likes of Dolezal and Big as frauds in blackface.
Regardless, the Warren sham and other "I'm-not-white" dramas cast light on a racist sociopolitical fungus growing in obscure literature and classrooms of modern Academe.
The insidious movement toward identity politics advocates a social economy that places a high value on victim status while blaming achievers for problems of the aggrieved. It foments hostilities toward majority demographics that could make Caucasians want to crawl out of their skin.
"White domination is so complete that even American Indian children want to be cowboys. It's as if Jewish children wanted to play Nazis," wrote then-professor Churchill in his book "Fantasies of the Master Race."
"The hard truth about our criminal justice system: It's racist. I mean front to back," said Warren, in a recent lecture at Dillard University in New Orleans.
"There's a black and white divide, and I stand unapologetically on the black side of that divide with my own internal sense of self and my values ... and with the greater cause of really undoing the myth of white supremacy," said Dolezal in a 2017 interview with NBC News.
Blacks, American Indians and other ethnic minorities have historically struggled in the United States. Enlightened Americans of all backgrounds crave eradication of injustice. Toward that end, they fought the Civil War, passed civil rights laws and enacted affirmative action. Like poverty, hatred always survives. Only through unity and love can we keep it at the margins.
Warren and minions of lesser-known promoters of identity politics show no interest in a culture of loving solidarity. They prefer segmenting humanity like breeders at a dog show. After demonizing the traditionally predominant demographic, to promote division and victimization, they resent being part of it. In extreme cases, they invent for themselves a grievance identity and pursue the phony empowerment they assign it. They can attain minority status by checking a box, without enduring life on a reservation or other hardships they blame on whites and claim to worry about.
Living out their fantasies, ethnic identity thieves consume accommodations intended for those who endure the obstacles endemic to authentic minority circumstances. When media questioned Harvard Law School about its all-white faculty in 1997, the administration denied the premise. Law School spokesman Mike Chmura assured the Harvard Crimson the faculty wasn't all white, because professor Warren is "Native American." Fordham's law review labeled Warren a "woman of color."
Satisfied Warren fulfilled the minority quotient, Harvard had no problem to solve. Recruiting a minority was not important, because they had professor Elizabeth Warren.
White Americans are not "persons of color" for knowledge of minute traces of minority DNA in their blood. They enjoy full white privilege and suffer none of the challenges unique to minority demographics.
Fake minorities should remind us all to focus more on character and talent than immutable traits that become less relevant as the culture pursues equal justice. Counterfeit Indians highlight the need to walk away. Say no to the racist curse of identity politics in all aspects of life.
Let's stipulate from the start that yoga is, as Merriam-Webster states, "A Hindu theistic philosophy teaching the suppression of all activity of body, mind and will in order that the self may realize its distinction from them and attain liberation."
There's also a "No. 2 definition" in that renowned dictionary: "A system of physical postures, breathing techniques and sometimes meditation derived from yoga but often practiced independently, especially in Western cultures, to promote physical and emotional well-being."
We imagine the people who take classes in yoga studios, in Gadsden and elsewhere, are focusing on that second definition. They're focusing on the physical benefits of the practice, as noted by the American Osteopathic Association: reduction in chronic pain; increased flexibility; increased muscle strength and tone; improved respiration, energy and vitality; a balanced metabolism; weight reduction; cardio and circulatory health; improved athletic performance and protection from injury.
All of those are good things -- so why are we bringing this up?
A document recently was shared online -- we imagine by someone wanting to make the state look bad -- referencing what's permitted and what isn't in Alabama's public schools. That "no-no list" includes "any techniques that involve the induction of hypnotic states, guided imagery, meditation or yoga."
That document had been posted to the state Department of Education's website but has since been removed. State Superintendent Eric Mackey called it "outdated" and said it wouldn't be enforced as long as he's running the department.
We doubt that's not a green flag for teachers to try to mesmerize students into behaving or concentrating on their classwork.
There's one exception -- yoga. It remains verboten in the state's physical education handbook, which cites its Hindu and religious origins and connotations.
The same mindset is present with meditation. It's OK for students if it's "secular," defined as involving "alert, reflective and cognitive contemplation." It's forbidden if it's linked to the "mystical traditions of the East," and involves "focusing on deep breathing and a mantra, or repeated word or phrase." We imagine the buzz at the average public school in Alabama isn't "OMMMMMM" but is "please let me stay awake through this class" or "please let me remember what I studied so I can pass this test."
We really don't have an issue with the notion that public schools shouldn't be involved in religious indoctrination or proselytizing regardless of the denomination. (We'll go to the mat and stay there to defend the right of students to, of their own volition, demonstrate and practice their faith on campus.)
We do have an issue with something else contained in Department of Education documents. They say Alabama P.E. teachers may instruct students on yoga poses, exercises and stretches as long as the "course is not called yoga."
So it's OK to use the physical benefits of the practice to help students feel better and get into shape (rewind to the multiple editorials we've written about childhood and adolescent obesity rates). Just don't use the "y" word.
We know folks who are fearful of kids having their heads turned by ANYTHING, especially when religion is involved, will disagree, but this is just silly.
Yoga has become about as generic as bubble wrap (yes, that started as a brand name). There has been no horde of yogis seeking converts in the exercise studios we referenced. There won't be any in Alabama's public schools, either, if people call what goes on every day by its name.
Look at it this way: Do you think some coach thought up the stretching exercises players do before every game?