Saturday, April 22, 2017

Were Slaves Immigrants? The Truth Of The Matter

 Image result for dr. ben carson

Dr. Ben Carson came under quite a bit of fire  last month for remarks he made calling slaves immigrants while speaking to Housing and Urban Development employees Monday about his vision for the department’s future:

“That’s what America is about, a land of dreams and opportunity,” Carson said, speaking about immigration.

“There were other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships, worked even longer, even harder for less. But they too had a dream that one day their sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, great-grandsons, great-granddaughters, might pursue prosperity and happiness in this land.”

“And do you know of all the nations in the world, this one, the United States of America, is the only one big enough and great enough to allow all those people to realize their dream. And this is our opportunity to enhance that dream.”

Poor Dr. Carson! Not only did he challenge the Perpetual Hymn of Eternal Black Grievance, but he actually had the unmitigated gall to challenge its very heart, that unlike anyone else brought to the New World, blacks were brought against their will. And he even implied that blacks coming to America, even as slaves, was something that ultimately benefited them and their descendants.

The hate that exploded on Twitter was amazing. Actress Leslie Jones actually threatened Dr. Carson with violence, saying she wanted to punch him out:

I want to fight Ben Carson!! Cash me outside muthafucka! How bout dat!! FUCKFACE!!

Actor Samuel L. Jackson weighed in as well:

OK!! Ben Carson....I can't! Immigrants ? In the bottom of SLAVE SHIPS??!! MUTHAFUKKA PLEASE!!!

And that always amusing font of information, Chelsea Clinton :

And those were some of the calmer, more polite comments. Are they right?

Let's ignore the fact that a certain Barack Hussein Obama said pretty much the same thing and no one said 'boo' about it. Let's ignore that both Ms. Jones and Mr. Jackson have a history of making remarks that a lot of folks would consider racist. Let's even ignore the obvious hypocritical political factor involved since Dr. Ben Carson is being attacked mostly because had the strength of character to get off the Democrat plantation and take the job offered to him by his friend President Trump, putting himself in a position where he can actually improve the lives of black Americans.

Instead, let's simply look at what was said and see if there's any truth to it.

Slavery started in America around 1619, and the importation of slaves ended in the early 1800's after America outlawed it in 1804 and had the American Navy, along with the British crack down hard on the slave traffic. Actually, most colonies outlawed the importation of slaves as early as 1770, well before America won its independence. What isn't remembered is that for much of that period slavery was multi-racial. And so was ownership.

Britain's economy was flourishing during that time, but very little of that wealth trickled downhill. There were a lot of Britain's population who barely made ends meet and that often led to petty crime. The English Civil War of the mid-seventeenth century also led to the creation of a lot of political 'undesirables', people who were considered traitors to the Crown. The people of these two groups who weren't hung were frequently sentenced to transportation as indentured servants.It was a cheap, convenient and easy way of getting rid of them and actually making a profit on the deal. There are many recorded historical cases of people being sentence to transportation and indentured servitude for the crime of stealing a loaf of bread or a handkerchief.

Rest assured that these people were brought to America against their will. And the conditions they faced when being brought to America were hardly different then black slaves from Africa. The idea, just as with black slaves was to get them to America or the West Indies as cheaply as possible where someone would buy them at auction. And those someones included free blacks, at least until the 1720's and in some colonies even later.

Another inconvenient fact that frequently gets glossed over was that as the trade developed, far more care was taken transporting black slaves than whites, because blacks were more in demand and fetched a higher price.The reason was simple - they could take the climate in places like Georgia, the Carolinas and the West Indies far better than whites from England or Ireland could. As larger plantations were established in these areas for sugar, rice,indigo and cotton, black slaves  fetched a higher price not just for the above reasons, but because the method of obtaining them was different from white bond slaves and far more costly.

Dealing in white English bond slaves involved very little outlay or overhead beyond the actual cost of sailing the pond and some meager provisions to keep the merchandise alive. That's why white bond slaves sentenced to transportation were frequently chained up and  thrown into the hold of cargo ships making the trip anyway as an 'extra.' The money on these bond slaves was made on selling them and their indentures at auction, from which the Crown took a nice percentage that was paid after the return to England. Aside from them not being used to the climate, another reason white slavery died out gradually while black slavery didn't was because there was far less money to be made.

Africa in the 17th and early 18th century was a huge unknown to most Europeans except for certain coastal areas.  To obtain those more desirable black slaves, you had to front the overhead for a ship to travel to the West African Coast and hope there was merchandise waiting for you. That's where the slave traders, predominantly Arabs, would bring black slaves to market after collecting them in the interior by either buying war captives from local tribal chiefs or raiding the villages themselves. If no merchandise was there, you waited until it was. Then, you had to shell out money to the slave traders and buy your cargo, as well as more provisions to make it to your destination.. So there was a lot more overhead paid out before seeing any profit, hence the higher price. And hence, the incentive to get as much of your cargo alive to your destination as possible. Yes, there were those horrific times slaves were thrown overboard, particularly after the American and British navies started cracking down. But losing a cargo like that not only meant a major financial loss for the ship's owners but likely a permanent end to employment for any captain who was caught in that situation. Again, the idea was to get as much of the slave cargo to its destination in reasonably good condition as possible.

Given what sailing was like at that time in history, it was no pleasure trip for the crews, let alone their human merchandise,white or black. And the existence of a slave was miserable if you managed to survive the trip no matter what color you were. Anyone doubting this ought to read something like The Fatal Shore by Robert Hughes, which tells in detail exactly how British 'criminals' sentenced to transportation, particularly young women were treated in Australia, another dumping ground for the Empire's unwanted.

And ponder this. Let's say that no black slaves had come to America. What would their lives and the lives of their descendants been instead?

True, they would have been free in a sense. But that 'freedom' would also have included freedom to starve, freedom to be killed in Africa's never ending wars, being subjected to rule by corrupt,despotic regimes, famine, disease, living in dire poverty and in general an existence for most of them that would make even the most poverty stricken lives in America's ghettos look luxurious by comparison.A good indication of how true this is is that only a handful of former slaves left for Africa after the Civil War, even with the Freedman's Bureau offering them free land in West Africa, passage and financial assistance once they arrived. And to be honest, I don't see many American blacks making that choice either, do you?

The promise of America is that one can, with sweat, endurance and a little favor from the Almighty live a better life than the one you left behind. It may take some time or even a new generation, but the promise is there. And it's largely been kept.

They may have been unwilling immigrants, but immigrants they were. And believe it or not, that unwillingness was shared by most of America's non-black immigrants as well.

The great wave of migrants in the mid to late 19th century was largely sparked by various revolutions in Europe, and charming episodes like the Potato Famine in Ireland, The Highland clearings, violent pogroms and oppression in Eastern Europe, crop failures and dire poverty in southern Italy and famine and wars in China.

Most of the people who came to America came because the alternative was starvation, death or prison, depending on where you happened to be situated. Most of them came in the aptly named steerage. And while they weren't chained, no huge effort was made to ensure them a safe passage. Ditto once they came here. America had no huge welfare state then, so these people our immigrant forefathers were often rolling the dice.At best, they might have had a family member, relative or some one they knew from back in the old country to give them a slight helping hand. If they didn't, they either found a place for themselves or starved, and in American society at that time there weren't many people who particular cared  all that much which it was.

Most of those non-slave immigrants who made their way here came not because there was any hunger to be Americans,  but because there was no life worth living where they came from. And at least in America, if you could get in, offered something of a fresh start, rough as the transition often was. And millions of immigrants parlayed that fresh start into a better life for themselves and for their children. The same thing applies to many blacks who have come as immigrants  to America from places like Haiti, Barbados, Belize, Jamaica, Nigeria and other far away places. And it applies to many black Americans whose ancestors once were slaves,just like Dr, Carson said.

Immigrants were they all, from all races who came to America.

Ben Carson, of all people has reason to understand that, coming from the background he did.  He knows full well it's a land of dreams and opportunity indeed.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Another Terror Attack In The Heart of Paris - Are The French Fed Up Yet?

Right at the heels of our own local jihadi's murder spree in Fresno, Jihad strikes again in a new terror attack in the heart of Paris on the Champs-Elysées, one of the most famous streets in the world. This time, the jihadis ambushed policemen, and left one gendarme dead and two badly wounded.

Ah, springtime in Paris! Witnesses said the attacker pulled up beside a parked police vehicle and fired through the window.

"He parked just behind the van and he got out with a Kalashnikov and I heard six gunshots," a witness named Chelloug said.

"I thought they were firecrackers, because we all looked around the road and there was no one.

"In fact, he was hidden behind the van and shooting at the police.

The attacker in question was shot dead, but police think one or more suspects escaped. In fact, the latest is that a second subject is at large and was firing at a shopping mall in the area.

For those not familiar with Paris, this is one of the poshest, most touristy parts of the city. The Arc de Triomph is in this area, at one end of the street. This part of the Champs-Elysées (it's name means 'Elysian Fields', from Greek mythology)is clogged with high end restaurants, cafes, bars, clubs, shops and hotels. Ordinarily, at 9PM local time on a Spring evening, people would be dining, strolling and window shopping or enjoying a glass of wine or an aperitif at one of the cafes. Instead? Regarde ça!

President Francois Hollande said officials were "convinced" the incident is a terror attack, even before ISIS claimed responsibility. From here, it gets into Clouseau territory.

Image result for inspector clouseau cartoon

This terror attack (I prefer jihad attack myself) came right after 2 jihadis were arrested in the port city of Marseilles a few days ago. They had guns, ammo, and explosives and were reportedly planning an attack as well to disrupt France's election, which takes place in 3 days. Yet the jihadi who was killed - now identified as Karim C. was known to security services as a Muslim extremist and the police had tips from their informers that he was seeking to obtain weapons to kill policemen in a 'terror attack.' Apparently, he succeeded in putting together what he needed.Previous information that Karim C had come to France from Belgium have been debunked.In fact,he was living in the eastern  Paris suburb of Chelles.

Not only that, but Karim was previously jailed for 20 years for - wait for it - shooting at cops in 2001, after being caught driving a stolen car! Not only was he released early, but he wasn't even deported! What was he doing in France at all? He wasn't even a citizen, but just another jihadi granted early release and continued status as a 'refugee' by France's insane Socialist government.

The prefect of police is saying that an inquiry is planned. I'm sure the families of the dead and wounded policemen are glad to hear that.

I'm unsure what effect this will have on France's election. Marine Le Pen, Emmanuel Macron and Francois Fillon cancelled campaign events planned for Friday.

With 10% unemployment, the highest in Western Europe, a lot of French voters were concerned about joblessness and repairing the damage the Socialist regime has done to France's economy. But as the Islamist attacks on the heart of France continue (and make no mistake, the location of this last one was deliberate) more and more French feel unsafe in their own homeland.

There is a choice to be made. Both Macron and his farther Left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon promise more of the same, and many French regard Fillion, justifiably, as simply corrupt. Only Marine Le Pen promises a change from the status quo, and an end to events like today's assault, or should I say, 'terror attack.'.

In his remarks on the subject in a press conference, President Donald Trump said that "it looks like another terrorist attack. What can you say? It just never ends."

Do the French want it to end? It's a decision the French will have to make this Sunday.

Trending On Wow! Magazine!!

Watcher of Weasels

Dear Nicholas Kristoff: Trump isn’t the scary guy. Obama gambled with America. 

Yet Another Terror Attack In The Heart of Paris – Are The French Fed Up Yet? 

Were Slaves Immigrants? The Truth Of The Matter 

First comes disarmament, then comes an end to human rights  

 From The Korean Press; Praise For President Trump

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Socialists In France Use 'Computer Error' To Try To Rig Election Against Le Pen


While Marine Le Pen is leading in the polls for the first round of France's election, the current Socialist government has apparently found an underhanded way to defeat massively rigging the votes due to a 'computer error.'

Over 500,000 French citizens living outside France received two voting cards and thus have a chance to vote twice in the first round.

As the UK Express reports, France’s Interior Ministry has said it will not be invalidating the election because of the duplicate voting glitch, and French authorities confirmed they would not be investigating the potential electoral fraud until AFTER the election.

Chief beneficiary here is likely to be Emmanuel Macron, who is running as an independent but is a long time prominent member of the Socialist Party. In fact, he was formerly an under-secretary in Socialist François Hollande's first government in 2012 before being appointed Hollande's Minister of Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs in 2014. He and Hollande still have very close personal ties.

Most expatriate citizens of France are not on the Right, and many are pro EU because they feel it benefits their expat status. We are talking about potentially half a million votes here, more than enough to swing a close election.

Voting twice is a crime, but the only way to find out who committed in ifs if the authorities run a thorough check through their computer systems. If the Socialists return to power via Maron, I'd call that a pretty unlikely possibility.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Forum: Should 'Hate Crime' Laws Be abolished?

Every week on Monday, the WoW! community and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher's Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week's question: Should 'Hate Crime' Laws Be Abolished?

Don Surber: All crimes of person and many crimes of property are hate. All the hate crimes law does is politicize criminal prosecution. They are de facto blasphemy laws only against Muslims.

Michael McDaniel:Hate crime laws are inherently anti-American. They pick winners, and assert that some people, some victims, are of greater value than others. This is why progressives and Black Lives Matter activists and their supporters become so outraged when anyone dare suggest all lives--including black lives--matter. They claim special, exalted status. Such laws make a mockery of equal justice for all by giving preferred victim groups greater status before the law, greater value as human beings. As such, hate crime laws are a particularly vile form of virtue signaling.

A primary argument for such laws is as a sort of expiation of guilt for the mistreatment of Blacks in the past. Thus do contemporary Americans, who have trespassed against none, need to make atonement for the sins their ancestors--for the most part--didn’t commit. This too does not comport well with the principle of equal justice for the law, which holds all men equal before the law, taking them as they come, not dragging with them the sins--or none--of their ancestors of ages past. No man facing criminal charges should be forced to carry the sins of the ages with him into court.

There is a great deal of irony involved as well. It is progressives that commonly support these laws, virtue signaling being a primary way by which they identify themselves, and live. Yet it is the same people that work tirelessly to lower the sentences of vicious criminals, to shut down jails, to release offenders as early as possible, and as part of the Black Lives Matter movement, to actually immunize Blacks from arrest in the first place. It is these people who make folk heroes of cop killers and traitors.

And who are the criminals they wish to lionize and free? Usually blacks, who commit crimes out of all proportion to their population distribution, and usually against other blacks. However, hate crime prosecutions are virtually never applied when black criminals kill each other, or even black innocents. They are also virtually never done when black criminals kill white people, the social justice theory being that white people cannot, by virtue of their privilege, be discriminated against. No need to peer into the thoughts of black murderers; their race absolves them of all hate.

Hate crimes are reserved for those that commit crimes against favored victim groups.

Prosecution for hate crimes also requires far less proof--less than proof beyond a reasonable doubt--for conviction. Those pushing hate crime laws would deny this, and some even argue those that are accused of hate crimes deserve to be convicted regardless of a lack of evidence. That’s the point of the laws in the first place. Hate crimes, you see, are proved by mere race. A white person accused of assaulting a black person must, by virtue of their race, be guilty of hate. The principle has come to be applied to the LGBTQWERTY victim community. When one of these people is the victim of an assault, or virtually any other crime, the motivation must be hate. No other possibility exists by virtue of the victim’s favored gender/sexual preference, social justice status. This is why, in many cases, and in many places, it is nearly impossible for defendants to receive fair trials.

Another pernicious factor is the determination of hate must involve the establishment of thought crime. Juries and judges are required to read the minds, to determine the motivations, of defendants. For defendants choosing to stand on their Fifth Amendment rights, the prosecution may weave any outlandish theories of hate they wish, and because hate crime prosecutions always rest on an ever-shifting foundation of emotion and political correctness, conviction may be very easy indeed to obtain.

If the penalties for a given crime are insufficient, it is an easy matter for legislatures to correct such oversight. If legislators wish to add enhancements for specific criminal acts, that too is easy to do. The law, if it is to be equal for all, if we are to have a rule of law, must be race, gender and religion blind. Thought crime can have no place in a constitutional republic. How can any man know which thoughts are criminal and which are not, and under which circumstances?

Hate crime laws do not serve the public interest, only the narrow and vindictive political interests of Progressives. They are an element of social justice, not the rule of law.

Dave Schuler : "Hate crimes" should not be distinct crimes. There's a reasonable argument for taking hate into account at sentencing but not for "hate crimes" to be distinct crimes.

Bookworm Room: Hate crimes should definitely be abolished.

Murder is a criminal act, regardless of the victim. Assault is a criminal act, regardless of the animus driving the perpetrator.

A crime is a crime is a crime. Our government should never declare that some lives are more or less valuable than others in the hierarchy of criminal events, no matter how well-intentioned that declaration may be.

JoshuaPundit: Hate crimes? Nothing but a sop to 'protected' groups. You'll notice that blacks, homosexuals, Hispanics (especially illegal migrants) and Muslims are rarely if ever charged with them, no matter how egregious and racially motivated the offense. No, hate crime charges are largely limited to white males. The entire premise is ridiculous anyway. If a crime is committed with malice aforethought, that ought to be a sufficient basis for a trial and for sentencing.

Oh and by the way, let's bring back Ol' Sparky for capital offenses, shall we? A painless injection is no deterrent.

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A Message For Easter

Christ is risen from the tomb, conquering death by death- Old Russian Easter hymn.

Today is Easter Sunday, the day Christians the world over celebrate the Resurrection that is at the heart of their faith.  And I want to wish all of my Christian friends and readers a joyous and inspiring Easter.

This week has been a celebration of hope and freedom, with Passover starting last Monday night and continuing through the weekend until next Tuesday. Which of course also coincides with Holy Week which culminates this weekend with Easter Sunday. This linkage is entirely appropriate, since Jesus had come to Jerusalem for the Passover ceremonies and the famous Last Supper was a Passover Seder...the ritual meal where Jews all over the world retell the story of the Exodus, celebrate their G-d-given freedom and eat the unleavened bread, matzoh, to commemorate their ancestor's journey and deliverance from bondage and slavery. The bread Jesus spoke of as recorded in the Gospels was none other than the humble matzoh, the unleavened bread the Hebrews made because they were 'in haste to depart' from Egypt and had no time for it to rise.


The story of the Resurrection is a story of freedom too...freedom of the soul, and a promise of eternal life to believing Christians who understand what the rolling away of the stones means for them.

At this time, when religious freedom is under attack in ways and in places where we never supposed it ever would be, it is important to reflect on the message of Passover and Easter, and how that message can free us from bondage...especially the chains we forge ourselves, either by our own choices or by acquiescing to the evil choices of others.

Just over one year ago, last Easter, Muslims in Pakistan decided to celebrate the holiday in their own way. In Lahore, Pakistan, Gulshan-e-Iqbal park set aside a special area for Christian. Many of them took their children to the park for a special Easter treat.

At midday,when the park was crowded with families, a Taliban faction called Jamaat-ul-Ahrar set off a huge bomb in the parking area, right near the swings, the picnic area and the children's rides, with the exploding vehicles in the parking area adding to the carnage.

According to Senior police official Haider Ashraf, ball bearings were found all over the crowded park. That's a common tactic, one frequently used by the Arabs whom call themselves Palestinians against Israeli civilians in Arafat's Second Intifada. The blast force turns the ball bearings into high velocity anti-personnel weapons, rather like shrapnel.

As Jamaat-ul-Ahrar spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan told the Associated Press in a phone call, "The target was Christians."

It was indeed. It was their way of saying 'Happy Easter, infidels.'

This year, it was the Copt's turn. On Palm Sunday, at least 45 victims were killed in an Islamic terrorist attack on two Coptic churches in Egypt and hundreds were injured. The first suicide bomber hit St George's Church in Tanta. The second struck northwest, at St Mark's Cathedral in Alexandria, formerly one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world. COptic Pope Tawadros II had just left the cathedral after hearing about the Tanta attack. The jihadis came within minutes of killing the Coptic patriarch while he was at worship on Palm Sunday.

Jihad is doing its best to exterminate Christianity not just in the region that gave it birth, but worldwide.

So why do I mention these far away horrors in an article on Easter?

Partly because the horrors aren't so far away anymore. We've been importing them.

Our Department of Justice just arrested the first Muslim doctor in the U.S. multiple counts of female genital mutilation (FGM). Detroit emergency room Doctor Jumana Nagarwala is accused of performing illegal female genital mutilations (between 2005 and 2017. Her victims are minor girls, some as young as six years old.

According to the criminal complaint, Nagarwala performed these procedures in a "medical clinic" outside of the hospital. Girls as young as 6 or 7 from next door Minnesota (where there's a huge Somali community) were also brought by their parents to Nagarwala for FGM. They were reportedly told by their parents that they were being taken on a special "girls trip" and needed to go the doctor for a "stomach ache" and to "get the germs out."

The parents were also interviewed by the FBI and could face charges.

Like 'honor killings' this has been going on in America for quite some time. It's just that until now, no one in law enforcement was given support by our government to try and stop it. In the U.S. as well as other Western countries with large Muslim populations, aside from the local FGM doctors, a favorite tactic is to send the girls back to the old country where relatives will see to it that the children are mutilated for life.

And of course, there is a bevy of the usual attacks on the infidels...Stockholm, Jerusalem, St. Petersburg, ad nauseum. It's become the new normal. Meanwhile the current Pope and others like the Archbishop of Canterbury urge the west to import more of the same poison en masse. Indeed, in London itself, 500 churches have been closed while 423 mosques have been opened.

Christianity  and indeed the entire Judeo-Christian ethic that formed western society  is under attack, not just from Islamism but from the secular, anti Judeo-Christian Left.

Today is a day of  holiness and joy. But as you celebrate with your loved ones, remember that the freedom to do so is not a given, and must be fought for and won to be maintained. And take strength from the message of Easter, that there is light and hope even in the darkest times.

The End Of The Beginning - The New Crackdown On Illegal Migrants

 Image result for jeff sessions

In spite of the usual obstructions by the usual suspects, the Trump administration is making significant progress on dealing with illegal migration in America.

Both Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security chief General John Kelly are taking significant steps to correct a situation that should have been dealt with long ago.

Aside from appointing what the gutter press calls 'immigration hawks' to high positions, both men have also been uncompromising in telling existing personnel that unlike in the Obama years slackness in enforcing existing laws and policy aren't going to be tolerated:

During his trip to the southern border, Attorney General Jeff Sessions made it clear that he will carry out the mandate he was given by President Donald Trump: to vigorously enforce our immigration laws, and go after the human smugglers and traffickers who work for the Mexican cartels that have caused many of our border security problems.

In his April 11 speech to Customs and Border Protection agents in Nogales, Arizona, Sessions bluntly stated his intent to go after the “transnational gangs like MS-13 and international cartels” that are flooding “our country with drugs” and “leave death and violence in their wake.” According to Sessions, it is “criminal aliens and the coyotes and the document-forgers” who want to “overthrow our system of lawful immigration”:

[They] turn cities and suburbs into war zones, that rape and kill innocent citizens and who profit by smuggling poison and other human beings across our borders. ... Depravity and violence are their calling cards, including brutal machete attacks and beheadings.

[It is on the border,] on this sliver of land, where we first take our stand against this filth

AG Sessions followed this up with an explicit memorandumto all federal prosecutors directing them to make prosecution of certain immigration offenses a higher priority. Session's targets for high priority?

  • Prosecuting those who bring in and harbor aliens, who aid or assist criminal aliens to enter, and who bring in aliens for “immoral purposes” (sex traffickers). Priority will be given to those who bring in three or more illegal aliens or where there are aggravating circumstances, such as serious bodily injury, physical or sexual assault, or death.

  • Bringing felony charges against illegal aliens who have already been deported at least twice or have been deported at least once and have a history of felony crime, gang membership, or other aggravating factors. Also targeted for felony prosecutions: anyone who knowingly enters into a sham marriage to evade immigration laws.

  • Going after illegal aliens who engage in identity theft or immigration-related fraud with felony prosecutions.

  • Prosecuting illegal aliens who assault, resist or otherwise impede immigration officers and agents.

This is especially important because there are a number of holdovers from the Obama days who are likely to stall and do their best to avoid doing their jobs. Sessions is giving them a clear choice here;either comply with this directive and uphold and enforce the laws or resign.

And to add meat to his directive, AG Sessions directed each of the 94 offices of U.S. Attorneys to appoint a “Border Security Coordinator” by April 18. Their job will be to oversee the immigration enforcement program of each individual office, coordinate with the Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies, and report with real statistics on how each office is performing when it comes to targeting these offenses and prosecuting the offenders. And of course, who's doing their job and who isn't.

I personally can't wait until he starts applying this doctrine to law enforcement official and politicians in 'sanctuary' areas who obstruct justice.As I've written previously, arresting and prosecuting a couple of them and throwing them in the slammer will bring the rest in line quite quickly.

General Kelly's attitudes towards illegal migration are also 180 degrees away from his predecessor.

As a military man, he understands that our open borders are a national security issue rather than an immigration issue...not that we're talking about immigrants here anyway, but illegal migrants. He started out by ordering federal agents to begin arresting and deporting more illegal migrants, releasing them from the restrictions the Obama administration had imposed.

While “Dreamers” are still exempted, agents were told that the Obama policy of 'special classes' of people that should be considered off limits for deportation no longer applies

No more catch and release either. Those caught at the border are to be swiftly shipped back, and while agents are still going to give priority to criminals, they're now free to use discretion — taken away from them in the Obama years.

Kelly's memos also call for building a wall, hiring 5,000 more Border Patrol agents, 10,000 more Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents and 500 more officers for the Air and Marine operations at Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Congress of course will have to fund this. And Speaker Paul Ryan is already doing his best to block fund for the wall. But the frame work is there .

Another policy Secretary Kelly is promoting is one of encouraging local police who want to help enforce immigration laws, rather than rebuffing them as they were under the Obama administration.

And what interesting is that even just announcing these new policies is having a major effect...and not just on the amnesty lobby. Border crossing attempts by illegal migrants has markedly decreased.

AG Jeff Sessions has cited some interesting numbers...

From January to February of this year, illegal crossings dropped by 40 percent, something unprecedented.
In March,there was a 72 percent drop compared to the month before the president was inaugurated. That’s the lowest monthly figure for at least 17 years. General Kelly's figures match up. Potential illegal migrants thinking about jumping the border are getting the message that things have changed.

In his speech, General Sessions also announced plans to hire 50 more immigration judges this year and to add 75 judges will be added next year with a new streamlined hiring process.Given the backlog of cases, this makes sense.

This is what happens when you have a president who recognizes what a major problem this is and puts together an 'A' team to solve it.

After years of neglect, it won't be solved over night. But this is the end of the beginning of dealing with illegal migration.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

NYT: 'Texas, CA Belong to Mexico. US Must Give Migrants Amnesty To Keep Them

Image result for Mexican Demonstrators in U.S> with Mexican Flags

Pravda-on-the-Hudson has been caught dissembling quite a few times. But this op-ed they chose to publish asserting that Mexico has a claim to all the territory ceded to the U.S. at the end of the Mexican War in 1848 has a special place in their disgraceful history. And I'm actually glad they did run this,because it unintentionally reveals the true core of the argument that illegal migrants are 'immigrants' and thus entitled to what are referred to as 'immigrant rights.'

The piece, written by one Señor Enrique Krauze who is described as 'a historian, the editor of the literary magazine Letras Libres and the author of “Redeemers: Ideas and Power in Latin America.”' His premise is this...and note certain key words I've emphasized:

The United States invasion of Mexico in 1846 inflicted a painful wound that, in the 170 years that followed, turned into a scar. Donald Trump has torn it open again.

Among the many lies that he has constructed, none is more ridiculous than his attempt to contradict history by presenting the United States as a victim of Mexico, a country that supposedly steals jobs, imposes onerous treaties and sends its “bad hombres” across the border.

To confront this fake history, some Mexicans are proposing to remind Mr. Trump exactly what country was the first victim of American imperialism. They are calling for a lawsuit that would aim to nullify the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (signed on Feb. 2, 1848), in which Mexico — invaded by American soldiers, its capital occupied, its ports and customs stations seized — was forced to accept the American annexation of Texas and concede more than half the rest of Mexican territory, now including most of the states of Arizona, New Mexico and California.

He continues by naming some radical Left 'statesmen' (his term) behind the idea of an (International Criminal Court (ICC) lawsuit and says, "If the present Peña Nieto government does not adopt Mr. Cárdenas’s project, an opposition candidate (of either the populist left or the nationalist right) could legitimately assume it as a banner for the presidential elections of July 2018. Such a new president could make that lawsuit a reality."

He goes on to cherry pick a few quotes from Americans who disagreed with the war, including misrepresenting soldiers like Robert E. Lee who merely expressed human sympathy for the loss of life that occurred during the war. And finishes thus:

For us Mexicans, this is the chance for a kind of reconquest. Surely not the physical reconquest of the territories that once were ours. Nor an indemnification that should have been much greater than the feeble amount of $15 million that the American government paid, in installments, for the stolen land. We need a reconquest of the memory of that war so prodigal in atrocities inspired by racial prejudices and greed for territorial gain.

But the best and most just reparation would be American immigration reform that could open the road to citizenship for the descendants of those Mexicans who suffered the unjust loss of half their territory.

Let's look at what Señor Krause is actually saying. The United States viciously invaded Mexico for no reason whatsoever and committed war crimes inspired by racial prejudices and greed. So Mexico should annul the treaty that ended the war and sue for 'reparations' at the ICC. But because such a suit might not succeed, the U.S. needs to recognize its guilt, flagellate itself and provide amnesty for 11-20 million 'immigrants' no matter what, simply because they're Mexican. Because you see, they have rights other immigrants don't have, because America stole territory that rightly belongs to Mexico.

That is exactly what La Raza, MeCha and other 'immigrant rights' groups have been really saying for some time. That illegal migrants,or as they like to call them immigrants from Mexico have the right to come here and settle en masse because of this history.

Let's examine this, shall we?

In the first part of his screed, Señor Krause makes much of the violent, unprovoked war of greed and conquest America waged against Mexico. Then, towards the end this 'historian' mentions in passing 'the feeble amount of $15 million that the American government paid, in installments, for the stolen land.'

When was the last time you heard of the victor in a war of greed and territorial conquest giving any money to the losing side in a peace treaty? N-E-V-E-R.

And that 'feeble amount?' In today's money, that translates into over $460 billion dollars for land that was mostly unsettled and undeveloped. Not exactly the kind of money 'conquerors' dole out to the vanquished, is it? For that kind of cash, we should have gotten the Mexicans to throw in Baja and a nice piece of Sonora as well, ¿No es así??

Mexico was desperately in need of that money, after years of dysfunctional, corrupt government from various dictators like Presidente General Santa Anna. They happily agreed to what was a seller's price they had no reason to expect after starting a war.

Texas, by the way had already broken free from the Mexican yoke. One of the chief causes of the war was the U.S. accepting the Lone Star Republic as the the 28th state of the Union. Mexico had never gotten over getting their behinds handed to them by the Texans a few years back in spite of the Treaties of Velasco they made with the Texans. They still regarded Texas as theirs, even though they no longer controlled it. They were enraged when it became part of the U.S. and publicly called it a causus belli, a cause for war.

California was also on the verge of revolt, because neither most of the Califonios (Mexican living in California) or the American settlers liked Mexico's tyrannical government or its high taxation and corruption. California's Bear Flag Republic broke free from Mexico during the war, in 1846.

What 'historians' like Señor Krause conveniently forget if that prior to the war, President Polk tried to stave off hostilities by having U.S. diplomat John Slidell travel to Mexico offering a sum of 30 million dollars (nearly a trillion dollars!) for New Mexico and California and a border at the Rio Grande. (Mexico claimed the border started at the Nuences River, which the U.S. and Texas disputed). The Mexican government refused to receive him or negotiate anything.Ayi, those greedy Yanquis! And when General Zachary Taylor and his troops were ordered to travel down to the Rio Grande to maintain the disputed border of Texas they were fired on by the Mexican army.

Hmm, so much for an unprovoked war, Señor   Krause. Who's dealing in fake history now?

 And Mexico got even more money a few years after the war via the Gadsden Purchase, $10 million 1853 dollars (about $240 billion today) for what was simply desert wasteland and served to give Mexico a contiguous border. So much for the greedy Yanquis, si?

So now that we've established that the U.S engaging in the Mexican War was not unprovoked, that Mexico could have prevented it, that Mexico was the aggressor, that the land was bought and paid for at a more than fair price, and that the  United States was surprisingly generous in victory to a country that had attacked them, let's briefly examine the argument this horse manure is based on.

Mexico today still has a corrupt, dysfunctional government. Part of the reason that kind of government survives is because illegal migration from Mexico aids and abets it. They do it by sending billions of dollars back to Mexico to prop up the status quo, and by importing billions in social welfare cost to America because Mexico prefers to aid and abet illegal migration rather than take care of its own people. Illegal migration is Mexico's safety valve that helps keep the status quo in power.

There are a lot of governments like Mexico, and a lot of people who want to come here for various reasons. Over 3 million people are currently stuck in bureaucratic limbo with ICE as I write this. If you doubt this, talk to any American who married a spouse from a foreign country and went through the red tape and expense to bring them here legally. To say that Mexican illegal migrants  have special rights over people who are actually obeying our immigration  laws to come here legally and get to jump the line simply because of their proximity to our border,  some complicit American politicians and peddlers of fake history like Senor Krause is racism. Plain and simple.

An obvious ideologue like 'historian' Señor Krause is one thing. But For Pravda-on-the-Hudson to run this sort of propaganda and take it seriously(they even translated this bilge) gives a new meaning to complicity. It's embarrassing that they're not embarrassed.

Monday, April 10, 2017

The New Baseball Season Is Here. What's Your Favorite Baseball Memory?

Every week on Monday, the WoW! writers, community and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher's Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week's question: The New Baseball Season Is Here. What's Your Favorite Baseball Memory?

Dave Schuler : That's easy. My favorite baseball memory is the first professional ball game I ever attended, in the first Busch Stadium, the old Sportsman's Park, on Grand Avenue in North St. Louis.

I can remember the starters and their positions. Larry Jackson was the pitcher, backed up by Lindy and Von McDaniel, brothers from Oklahoma. Hobie Landrith caught. Stan "the Man" Musial, a favorite of mine, was on first base with Don Blasingame on second and Kenny Boyer on third. Eddie Kasko played short stop.

In the outfield were Wally Moon, Curt Flood, and Del Ennis.

It was an exciting night. The most fun I've ever had at a sporting event.

Michael McDaniel: I’m afraid I have no interest in baseball, so I have no personal tale of authentic, peanuts and hot dogs, Americana to tell. However, I’ve always loved The Naked Gun: From The Files of Police Squad.

In that brilliant comedy, Sgt. Lt. Frank Drebin, played by Leslie Nielsen, is trying to prevent the assassination of the Queen of England at a baseball game. He knocks out and impersonates a famous operatic singer--Enrico Pallazo--and ends up performing the most hilarious rendition of the Star Spangled Banner in the history of sports. Of course, he saves the Queen--in his own unintentional bungling way--and eventually launches OJ Simpson, who is in a wheelchair, down a flight of stairs and into the stratosphere. Poetic, if unintentional, justice.

Ah, baseball! It’s certainly my fondest baseball moment.

 JoshuaPundit: My favorite baseball memory is also one of my first ones, and it is clear and distinct. We had rented a small house in Santa Monica (imagine a working man trying to do that today) and I was probably between one and two years old.  It had what seemed to me then like a large kitchen, with a black and white checkered floor. That was where my father (Z'L) and I used to play a kind of catch with a pair of socks balled together as a 'baseball.'  I can clearly remember laughing as I tried to catch the ball, and toddling after it when I missed.

My dad was a real ball fan who used to watch the game at Ebbett's field growing up in Brooklyn. Even when I was a kid he'd get together with some of the neighborhood guys to play sandlot ball and bring me along to watch. He also got me my first glove and taught me how to break it in.

Being an old Brooklyn Dodgers fan, like many others he never forgave Walter O'Malley for moving the team west, but I had no such prejudices as a kid. So he'd take me to Dodger games now and then.
Dodger Stadium is still a great place to watch a game, and one oddity was that even people at the game brought their transistor radios to the park  so they could listen to Vin Sculley describe what was happening right before their eyes. He was really that good! I remember running around with the other kids after the game with a program to get autographs. Ballplayers then were far more accessible (this was the early 1960's) then than they are now. The Dodger teams then were built around great pitching (Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Johnny Padres, Ron Perronoski), defense, and speed (Maury Wills, Tommy and Willie Davis). I haven't followed sports for years, but watching those guys play was exciting.

A more recent memory concerns my daughter. She inherited the jock genes and played both baseball and AYSO soccer. I never missed a game. I also bought her that first glove. For a father to help coach his kid and later help coach  his kid's team and then see her excel was awesome. She played second base. Her baseball team, the Athletics (or as I call them,the MIGHTY Athletics) were undefeated  and won the championship for her league. Fourth graders, but they had the drive, y'know?

Fausta Rodriquez Wertz: The last time I went to a baseball game my son was in grade school (he's now in his mid-twenties). We went with other his friends and their moms to a minor league game in Trenton and everybody had a great time eating hot dogs and funnel cake.

Prior to that, the only other time I've been to baseball games was in the 1980s when I worked in New York City. The entire office loved the Yankees, and one of the gentlemen - who back then was in his fifties - had attended every Yankees opener since he was twelve years old. It was a great group of people and everybody had a great time eating hot dogs and drinking beer.

The games were nice but I don't remember much of them.

Don Surber: My baseball memories include Bat Day and Ball Day doubleheaders as a kid at Municipal Stadium in Cleveland, and of course a couple of Game 7 losses in extra innings.
But my best memory came when my daughter played softball when she was 12. Like my wife, she is height challenged and was shorter than the kindergärtners even in second grade. That does not make for a good player.

Under the rule that every player plays, she became a late inning specialist. When the playoffs came, the Poca Dots drew the Buffalo gals. Now that's farm country and those Buffalo gals play a mean game of softball. In high school, they win the state championship in their class every damned year. They are like the UConn Huskies women's basketball team of West Virginia girl's basketball.

So in the 12-year-old league, drawing them in the payoffs was a one-and-done.

Their pitcher was mowing down Dots. Seventh inning comes up and Sarah goes to bat. Their pitcher could not find her eensy-beensy strike zone. Their coach called time and demanded to see her birth certificate showing she was old enough (this happened occasionally). He knew Sarah was trouble. And she was. She walked and the Buffalo pitcher lost her confidence. The Dots came back and won. You could get a good baseball movie out of this, I suppose, with a feel good ending and the moral of everyone matters. Kumbaya.

Sarah is now a lawyer working on a PhD.

But I wonder about that Buffalo gal. She would be the age where she now has a 12-year-old daughter. Maybe a 5-year-old too. I like to think that she has taught her 12-year-old daughter how to pitch to her 5-year-old. The one thing I admire about those Buffalo gals is their determination to win. Ain't no way they will lose that way again

Scott Kirwin :As a kid growing up in St. Louis I was fated to come of age in the 1970’s, just after the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team dominated the sport and before Whitey Herzog became a St. Louis legend by bringing the championship back to St. Louis. Jack Buck, one of the country’s greatest sports announcers ever, called them all – from Lou Brock’s record breaking base stealing to the Ozzie Smith’s home run in the 1985 World Series “Go crazy, folks! Go crazy!” Jack Buck, along with his sidekick Mike Shannon, was the voice of the St. Louis Cardinals, and decades later I can still hear the love of the game and excitement in Jack Buck’s voice as he called games for a pretty sad and mediocre baseball team the Cardinals had become in the 1970’s.

My father listened to each game on the radio, even when the games were broadcast on TV. When that happened we’d turn down the volume on the television and listen to Jack Buck’s play-by-play. It was the best way to watch the game. My father’s radio broadcasting Cardinals games was an indelible part of my childhood. When he passed away in 1977 we even buried his radio with him.

Laura Rambeau Lee : Growing up in the northeast, the coming of spring ushered in the new baseball season. We all rooted for the Phillies; the home team. While we enjoyed watching the games on TV, baseball was much more than a spectator sport for most of us. Baseball, or softball, was a game my father taught me and some of my fondest memories with him were playing catch or batting a ball he pitched to me. Later when I joined a girl’s little league team my father would come to practices and help with coaching. And he always made sure to be there to cheer me on during my games. Unlike football, baseball is a game fathers can share with their daughters. Participating in sports is a great way for young girls, and boys, to build confidence and self esteem.

Make sure to drop by every Monday for the WoW! Magazine Forum. And enjoy WoW! Magazine 24-7 with some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere. Take it from me, you won't want to miss it.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Syria - Has Trump Fallen Into The Trap?


President Donald Trump ordered two U.S. warships in the Mediterranean Sea, the USS Ross and the USS Porter, to attack a Syrian base. They fired 59 Tomahawk missiles at a single target, Shayrat Airfield in Homs province in western Syria.

President Trump ordered this in response to yet another new atrocity occurring in Syria.
It happened in Idlib province, right next to to Northeastern Lebanon at a place called
Khan Sheikhoun. Dozens of people were reported killed and many injured by what appears to be a Sarin gas attack. Followed by the usual poignant pictures and purple rhetoric.

If I seem callous and cynical about this, it's because what happened at Khan Sheikhoun appears to be following a pattern.

Al-Qaeda in Syria and its allied "moderate rebels" like al-Nusrah are undergoing some serious defeats. Their last offensive on Hama was thrown back with heavy losses. The Russian defense ministry said that more than 2,000 Jihadis had been killed. Another attack on the port city of Latakia was stopped and repulsed by massive Russian air strikes.

The old question Qui bono, who benefits puts this in an entirely different light. First off, we know that there are lots of chemical weapons in Syria, many of them shipped there by Assad's fellow Ba'athist Saddam Hussein in Iraq on the eve of our invasion. Well, not quite on the eve, but during the nineteen month delay that occurred thanks to the Left' s street theater and debates. And who knows what came in to Syria thanks to President Obama's illegal war in Libya? In any event, the shifting nature of the war has ensured that both Assad's forces and the jihadis have access to chemical weapons.

(Snap quiz for all you Obama fans reading this. Your narrative was that our brilliant president confronted Putin and Assad forcefully and made Assad give all his chemical weapons to Russia, remember? 

If that's true, then it can't be the Syrian army who launched this gas attack, right? If it wasn't true, then President Obama was simply the clueless buffoon, ideologue and easy mark he almost always was in anything remotely resembling foreign affairs, yes? Which one was it? Remember to show your work...)

As far as who benefits, it likely isn't Assad. With the assistance of Russia, Hezbollah and Iran, he's been doing quite well militarily lately. The last thing I'd want in his situation would be a gas attack with lots of media coverage right now, especially just two days before another international conference on Syria.

Now the jihadis, those 'moderate Syrian rebels?' Different story. Islamist killers have learned well haw easy it is to manipulate the gullible media and stage atrocities for propaganda purposes. One of those right now has already resulted in a missile attack on a key Syrian base within spitting distance of their strongholds in Idlib.

And yes, this is a pattern. Whenever the jihadis suffer a military defeat or need propaganda, we
 have seen another gas attack or other atrocity with lots of bleeders, especially children.
The exact same thing happened a while ago after the Jihadis suffered military defeats in Ghouta, near Damascus. This was a failed attempt to secure the area south of Damascus for the presumptive no fly zone the Obama Administration had been trying to arrange.

After being hurled back,  the Syrian 'moderates' announced that there had been a massive chemical attack which allegedly inflicted about 1,300 fatalities including hundreds of children. As in previous chemical attacks blamed on the Assad government, the jihadis claimed the attacks used Sarin nerve gas, and they flooded YouTube with videos, especially ones featuring children.

Except there never was any conclusive evidence about the attack or the perpetrators. Even the reports from the jihadis themselves were conflicted. First, the gas was supposedly delivered via missiles. When EU politicians and Obama started yapping about enforcing a no fly zone ala' Libya, all of a sudden the rebels were claiming the gas was delivered by an aerial bombardment - except there was no evidence of shrapnel wounds,par for the course when ot come to  both artillery or airborne attacks of this kind. Mot only that, but  when news of the attacks first went public, the UN delegation and foreign diplomats were denied access to the attack site for a week by the Syrian opposition because it 'wasn't safe' for them.

We also don't know who fired shots at the UN delegation when they were finally allowed to enter the attack site by the Assad regime. It could very well have been Assad's men...but it could also just as easily been the insurgents.

Same story with the Houla massacre that was supposed to have been perpetrated by Assad's troops and had the usual suspects screaming for us to make a 'humanitarian intervention'. It turned out that atrocity was performed by the rebels as a false flag operation.

Please, baby, don't let me be misunderstood. What's going on in Syria is horrible, but by no means uncommon in these parts. War here is war to the knife. We are not dealing with a culture anything like ours. So no matter who actually pulled off the attack on  Khan Sheikhoun, this is normal stuff to the actual  participants, regardless of how we see it. Again, war to the knife.

Which brings me to the next question. Just why did President Trump fire those missiles at Syria and was it a proper response or a huge error? Well, it depends.

If President Trump was trying to send a message to Basher Assad and Vladimir Putin  that he ain't Barack Obama and that if it was them, they had better NOT use gas attacks again, that's one thing. The Russians, by the way, said that the gas was released by an attack on an al-Nusrah jihadi arsenal, which sounds somewhat plausible. Putin's spokesperson,  Dmitry Peskov, also hurried to say that their support for Assad was 'not unconditional.'

From the Associated Press:

Peskov told The Associated Press in an interview that “unconditional support is not possible in this current world,” but added that “it is not correct to say that Moscow can convince Mr. Assad to do whatever is wanted in Moscow. This is totally wrong.”…

Peskov said Russia expects a full international investigation into the attack before the U.N. Security Council considers any resolution condemning the chemical attack that he described as “very tragic.” Doing otherwise, he said, would be “simply unfair in terms of international law.”

Russia’s Defense Ministry said the toxic agents were released when a Syrian airstrike hit a rebel chemical weapons arsenal and munitions factory on the town’s eastern outskirts. Asked what proof Moscow has for that assessment, Peskov said that Russia is the only legitimate foreign power on the ground in Syria and therefore has “more wide information about what is going on there.”

So much for Trump being 'Putin's puppet' hmmm?

On the other hand, if President Trump is using this as an opening gambit to getting us seriously involved in Syria with the idea of regime change, he's making a huge mistake.

First, and most important, what exactly would we be  trying to accomplish in Syria by intervening and promoting regime change? A sovereign Syrian nation under democratic rule that's an ally of the west? It seems to me we've tried that before and failed miserably in every case.

Quite simply, the 'customers' aren't interested in what we're selling. Oh, they'll hold an election here and there if they're bribed by enough western aid money, but it always breaks down along tribal lines because that's what most of these people know and understand. And the inherent culture regards what we consider liberty with fear and loathing, because it diametrically opposes what Islam teaches them. Small wonder it's been such a waste of time, blood and treasure, especially given how we've gone about it.

Syria is a made up, dysfunctional failed state, a few provinces cobbled together after WWI. No one has ever been able to make much of it, Not Alexander, not the Seleucid Greeks, not the Byzantines or even the Ottomans. It produces some agricultural products, has somemanufacturing and a few nice Mediterranean ports. Damascus grew because of the trade routes, but that was literally centuries ago and that no longer exists. At this point, Syria isn't even feeding itself and wasn't when the civil war erupted, which is a huge part of why it erupted, sectarian conflicts aside. As the price of cereal grains and other food staples rose, Assad simply didn't have the money to artificially lower them with subsidies like the Saudis and others did.

There are bad actors on both sides of the sectarian civil war, and no benefit to us to intervene because the killing will go on. It's the reverse of Clausewitz's famous line. In places like Syria War is politics by other means.

If Assad is out of the picture or if we remove him, just watch as the jihadi factions start warring among themselves after they finish killing off the Alawites, Shia, Christians and Druse.

I'm hoping President Trump was just sending a message here. If we intervene in this killing ground it will be a huge mistake. Ditto with taking in 'refugees' like Europe did.

As the well known biblical quote goes, he that troubleth his own house will inherit the wind. I hope President Trump keeps that in mind. There's no gain for America falling into the trap of either importing Syria's dysfunction or investing blood and treasure to make it something it's not.

Rob Miller

Rob Miller writes for Joshuapundit. His articles have appeared in The Jerusalem Post, The Washington Examiner, American Thinker, The Los Angeles Times, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The San Francisco Chronicle, Real Clear Politics, The Times Of Israel, Breitbart.Com and other publications.

Monday, April 03, 2017

Forum: Who Are Your Favorite Musical Artists Or Composers? Why?

Every week on Monday, the WoW! community and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher's Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week's question: Who Are Your Favorite Musical Artists Or Composers? Why?

Bookworm Room : I adore the creative geniuses behind The Great American Songbook. Here's the shortest list possible of just a few of my favorite lyricists, along with some of their most exquisite or clever verses:

Irving Berlin: From the song Lazy:

I want to peep
Through the deep
Tangled wildwood
Counting sheep
'Til I sleep
Like a child would
With a great big valise full
Of books to read where it's peaceful
While I'm
Killing time
Being lazy

Johnny Mercer: From the song I Remember You:

I remember, too, a distant bell
And stars that fell
Like rain, out of the blue.
When my life is through
And the angels ask me to recall
The thrill of them all,
Then I shall tell them
I remember you.

Cole Porter
: From the song It's De-Lovely

This verse you've started seems to me
The Tin-Pantithesis of melody,
So spare me, please, the pain
Just skin the damn thing and sing the refrain.

Frank Loesser: From the song They're Either Too Young Or Too Old, a woman's promise to her man on the front that she's being faithful:

I'm either their first breath of spring,
Or else I'm their last little fling.
I either get a fossil or an adolescent pup,
I either have to hold him off or have to hold him up.
The battle is on, but the fortress will hold,
They're either too young or too old.

I'll stop now. I don't have a million of 'em, but sometimes it seems close. The art of writing lyrics is dead and gone, but the greats left us so many that we can still enjoy. If, like me, you get a kick out of the talented Tin Pan Alley lyricists, I highly recommend Reading the Lyrics, a collection of more than a thousand popular song lyrics from 1900-1975.

Don Surber: My favorite composer is Israel Isidore Baline, born in Russia on May 11, 1888. All he remembered of Russia was the cossacks burning down their house in the middle of the night. Grew up in the Lower East Side of Manhattan on Cherry Street.

We know him as Irving Berlin. From a life of poverty, he became a singing waiter and then a songwriter. We know all the great songs.

He fell in love with a rich WASP, which caused a scandal. Her father sent her to Europe to break it up. The father feared Berlin was after her money (as well as the whole being Jewish thing) but by 30 Berlin already was richer than his eventual father-in-law. While she was gone, Berlin wrote "Always." When she came back, he assigned her the copyright. Now how do you turn down a guy like that?
So they married and lived happily ever after -- until her death 63 years later. (His first wife died of typhoid after 6 months of marriage. His only son died in infancy on December 25, 1928. So he knew hardship.) He died a year later at 101.

He was so good and so prolific we did not need all those other songwriters.
But you want 10. OK.

2. Chuck Berry. He invented rock and roll. And he played a guitar like ringing a bell.

3. Sinatra. Billboard's original top list began in 1940 with his recording of "I'll Never Smile Again" as No. 1 for eight or nine weeks. The Dorsey orchestra and the Pied Pipers make that record one of the all-time best. What a kickoff to a 50-year recording career.

Great story about that song. Young Canadian woman -- Ruth Lowe -- marries, moves to Chicago, and her husband dies a year later. Heartbroken, she returns to Toronto and lives alone in her apartment until the depression goes away. During that period she perfected her song. And in 1945, she married again and had two sons.

4. Herb Alpert. He blended jazz and pop in a fresh fun way. As a record executive, his A&M Records was the essence of pop in the 1960s and 1970s. Burt Bacharach. The Carpenters. Just great music.

5. Berry Gordy. I grew up listening to Motown, which made my childhood terrific.

6. Elvis. His music was great, but his effect on America transcended music from his controversial swivel hips to being drafted to his tragic death.

7. Fred Astaire. You know all those songs Sinatra sang in the 1950s? Astaire debuted them in the 1930s: Cole Porter's "Night and Day" in Gay Divorce (1932). Berlin's "Cheek to Cheek" in Top Hat (1935). The Gershwins' "They Can't Take That Away from Me" in Shall We Dance (1937). Even Johnny Mercer's "One for My Baby" was sung by Astaire originally in a 1943 movie. It's said that his lack of a wide range made the songwriters keep it simple, which allowed singers with wider ranges to improvise and make those songs their own.

8. Felice and Boudleaux Bryant. First two songwriters whose names I bothered to know. Wrote half the hits for the Everly Brothers, and "Rocky Top." You may not think they belong here, but it's my list, isn't it?

9. Mike Love. Yes, Brian Wilson wrote the music and is a genius and all that. And fellow Beach Boy Bruce Johnston wrote "I Write the Songs" (people think it was Barry Manilow, but it was Bruce Johnston). But Mike Love wrote the best line in any rock song: "I don't know where but she sends me there." I was 13 when that song was No. 1. That was me.

10. John Philip Sousa. "Stars and Stripes Forever." For being martial music, it sure was fun.

Micheal McDaniel: My students often ask me my favorite book, movie or song. I have to explain I have no single favorites. There are some composers, movies and authors I favor, even collect, but there are so many, so much good art, art that rises far above beyond mere entertainment, it’s impossible to choose a single favorite that rises above all else.

They often ask me to which music I listen. I explain I don’t commonly listen to music, certainly not as they do, because I’m usually too busy rehearsing and performing music. I do play and sing favorite--and some new--songs for fun and for the occasional performance. I often tell them my favorite is whatever I’m rehearsing and about to perform at the moment, because one must be immersed not only in the rhythms, notes and text, but the music to produce a worthy performance.

Considering I’ve played guitar and bass for musicals, big bands, jazz ensembles, rock bands and country bands, sung for the same, and considering I’m a classically trained tenor, composer, arranger and director, my tastes tend to be eclectic. I once played the cannon--I wrote an appropriate synthesizer patch and played the keyboard/cannon--in a performance of the 1812 Overture. Boom!

So, for what it’s worth, a partial list of the music I’ve found delightful and meaningful over the years:

The Carpenters: Karen Carpenter’s voice was the finest female voice in pop music. Her musical precision, warmth and textual interpretive powers stand out among legions of loud, sloppy, overly hyped divas. Their use of tight, beautiful harmonies, clever instrument turns, the oboe, and Richard Carpenter’s keyboard playing and arranging remain unparalleled. The loss of Karen to Anorexia was a loss to humanity. Which was my favorite? This once only: Merry Christmas Darling.

Jesus Christ Superstar: A controversial work at its introduction, the rock opera endures as a work at once challenging, beautiful, and enormous fun to play. Its message is, of course, incomparable.

Tommy, by The Who: The first rock opera. It’s raw, intense, powerful, inventive, and wildly fun to play.

For the Beauty OF The Earth, by John Rutter: Rutter, who is about to retire, has been a premier choral composer of the previous, and this century. When I returned to college, and music, after many years of police work, this was among the first works I performed. Its text and affecting melody always bring tears to my eyes, and I’ve programmed it at the beginning of June, when I return to Wyoming to direct an adult choir I co-founded three decades ago, for its 30-year reunion concert. I’ve directed and performed many other Rutter works, but this is probably my actual favorite. I can direct, and sing it from memory, so deeply has it imprinted itself on my mind.

Ave Maria, by Franz Biebl: Of all of the beautiful choral works I’ve had the privilege to sing, this never fails to bring out the best in me, and to deeply touch audiences, if the chorus does its part. Hearing it via the Internet can never convey the emotion, depth and sheer beauty hearing it in a good hall, sung by a fine chorus provides. The text is timeless, and the writing, peerless.

Requiem Mass In Dm (K626), by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Mozart is arguably the greatest composer mankind has ever produced. Many of his contemporaries, among the greatest composers of all time, shared this opinion. For such a short life, his output was prodigious, and he died before he could finish the Requiem. Fortunately, his pupil, Franz Xaver Sussmayr, finished the work, which endures today, and forever.

From the powerful Dies Irae, to the pastoral Hostias, to the aptly named Lacrymosa, there is nothing like it. I’ve performed the work many times, and will again on April 18.

Messiah, by George Friderich Handel: I’ve performed the work no less than 60 times, and can nearly sing it all from memory. I’ve directed it, sung the tenor solos, and mostly, sung in the choir. Each of those roles has been no less rewarding. As with the Requiem, there is nothing like it, and it will be performed as long as humanity endures. Virtually everyone recognizes the Hallelujah chorus, but they’ve heard much, much more of the work. I also favor He Trusted In God, and the glorious, Worthy Is The Lamb, with its powerful and soaring Amen, which is often programmed as the closing chorus of performances. I sing it from two-three times each year at the Christmas season, which has become the traditional performance season, and I eagerly anticipate it every year. Unlike me, it never grows old.

Because I am also a guitarist, I appreciate the work of guitar composers, and have always played the works of Gordon Lightfoot, Jim Croce, James Taylor, and to a lesser degree, Paul Simon, John Denver, and a variety of other acts that rely heavily on the guitar, particularly the acoustic guitar.

As I said: eclectic.

Scott KIrwin : Music is an intensely personal thing. The music that moves one person to tears may bore another. We still really don’t understand music, what it is and why we like it so much.

Since I was a kid I’ve always liked electronic music. Growing up in the late 1970s this meant that I gravitated towards the unique sounds of New Wave bands that used synthesizers such as Devo, the Cars, and Gary Numan. In the mid-1980s I lived briefly in Chicago which was at the time undergoing a musical revolution with the creation of House Music, made popular in the local clubs and spread by radio station WBMX. After leaving Chicago I got deeply into other musical genres, and House Music went on its merry way.

The style of music eventually found its way to (of all places) Goa, India in the late 1980s where a couple of European expat DJs took the sound, mixed it with European techno, added a dose of Indian music and the result was Goa Trance music (see As its name implies trance music is music that uses repetition and melody to provide the listener with a hypnotic beat and encourage a trance-like state. In the 1990s Goa Trance evolved and mixed with other styles of electronic music: techno, house, progressive house, trance, deep trance among others.

I discovered trance music in the early 2000s. I stream it throughout the day while I work. I listen to it in the car. It has become the soundtrack of my life. At 130-140 beats per minute the music is the perfect wake-up music in the morning. But for some reason the opposite is also true. The same BPM range can easily relax me and put me to sleep if I let it. For some reason the music just works for me.

John Fleming aka “John 00 Fleming” is a DJ, musician, and producer who travels the world putting on shows and promoting trance music. His style of music is deep trance with dark overtones. His tracks have heavy bass, minimal vocals, and avoid the speeding up and slowing down of rhythm popular with techno DJs like Tiesto which I find annoying. The beat is constant and lasts for hours. He produces a monthly podcast, Global Trance Grooves, which showcases the genre.
(check it out here

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz :Years ago I went to the Montgomery Cinema (Princeton-area’s artsy-farsty movie theater) by myself to see Tous les matins du monde, a biopic about French composer Marin Marais (1656-1728). It's a beautiful movie about a tragic love story, with Gerard Depardieu playing the old Marais and Depardieu's real-life son, Guillaume - who also met a tragic end - playing the young Marais.

I had always enjoyed Baroque music, but this scene, where Guillaume Depardieu plays the Folies d’Espagne on the viola de gamba, was a revelation.


I had to find more!

It was 1991, in the olden days before Google, so I sat through the credits and wrote down the musician’s name, Jordi Savall, after which I headed to the Princeton U-Store (which back then had an excellent music department, curated by a professor from the Westminster Conservatory) and bought the movie soundtrack.

After that, I have spent thousands of hours listening to Early and Baroque music, in person, on CDs, iPod and YouTube, at every opportunity.

The effect of viola de gamba music on me is like that of catnip on a cat. Apparently I am not alone, since Savall himself, when he was a young cellist in his teens, heard an old neighbor play it, and dedicated his life to the research, interpretation and teaching of the art.

His research has defined the art. When he first started learning gamba nearly nobody played it. He essentially taught himself while taking lessons on phrasing and other aspects of interpretation from master cellists. Until he could play an authentic, original gamba, he found someone who could build him one. He still spends countless hours at the French national archives researching original folios from the court of Louis XIII to add to the repertoire.

Savall’s work first was sponsored by a fellowship from the Fundación Juan March, but he has since created a family business. His late wife Monserrat Figueras sang, both his children play in his orchestra. He owns his recording label and is an impresario. Additionally, he is a professor of viola da gamba at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, when he succeeded his mentor, August Menzinger - his teacher in Switzerland when he and Ms Figueras moved to following the Juan March fellowship.

Savall narrates (in Spanish) his career in this video.

I started with the video of the Folies D’Espagne from the film. Here is a concert version of the piece, with Savall on gamba, and his daughter playing the harp,

You can listen to the full piece here,

No matter how many times I’ve listened to that piece, it always knocks my socks off.

Doug Hagin :Well, Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, have so many wonderful creations. Hard to choose. I love Vanessa Mae's work from a few years ago, she was talented and very attractive.

Music is a wonderful art form. At Christmas time, you can have Perry Como, Andy Williams, Bing Crosby etc. Sorry but I prefer listening to my neighbors Chevy rust. Give me Trans Siberian Orchestra. Hard rock and classical together? Awesome! Incredible talent there.

My favorite musicians? Eric Clapton, the late Gary Moore, the late Stevie Ray Vaughn, Buddy Guy, and so many other great guitarists. Love the Blues, and what is now called classic rock. It does not get better than Seger or the Eagles. I also love Simon and Garfunkel, swing music, some country. My rule is if it moves me, it moves me.

Dave Schuler: That's a hard question to answer. I have pretty eclectic tastes, ranging from opera to jazz to Broadway musicals to rhythm and blues to Gabby Pahinui's slack-key guitar. In opera I like Wagner and Puccini. In jazz I like Antonio Carlos Jobim and Miles Davis. In the music from Broadway musicals it's hard to beat Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, and Rodgers and Hart.

However, I'll choose to answer a question that wasn't asked and highlight a few of my favorite songs.

First, R&B. I love Sam Cooke's A Change Is Gonna Come. I think it's one of the greatest songs of the 20th century. Don't watch the video it's attached to. That's awful. Just minimize it and listen to the words and music. It tears me up every time.

From the Great American Songbook two songs with a somewhat similar theme that I just love are Rodgers and Hart's Where or When from Babes in Arms, sung here by Barbara Cooke and Long Before I Knew You from Bells Are Ringing, sung by Sydney Chaplin and the wonderful Judy Holliday.

I'll wind up with Irving Berlin's charming Always, written as a wedding gift for his wife, Ellin, and sung here by Ella Fitzgerald. Nobody had the ability to express simple emotions in a simple way like Irving Berlin.

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