If you turn on the TV, the radio or any internet news source, all you hear is Syria. The ratio of information to commentary is at best 1:1,500, and I include major news outlets in that number.

So far, it appears that Trump acted with decisive force to achieve a limited objective.

Beyond that, very little of the commentary asks questions such as, Is Anti-Trump Left Media Culture Willing to Fight in Syria to Win?, where Pete enumerated,

So while the gas attacks in Syria are horrific before we consider going to war in Syria we as a country need to answer these questions.

  1. Are we willing to go to war and pay the price in blood and treasure to topple Assad risking American lives in Syria?

  2. Are we willing to fight that war until it’s actually won rather than fight a limited war for the sake of saving face?

  3. Are we willing once Assad is toppled to stay in Syria for the 30 to fifty years to make sure Syria doesn’t become Iraq or Libya and leave it for Islamist to take over?

  4. Are we willing to take responsibility for not only the military but the civilian casualties that will inevitably take place in Syria in such a war?

  5. Are we willing to risk a military confrontation(s) with Russia and Iran in order to do this?

To these one may add questions on effects on the larger world – notice how the attack was reported while Pres. Trump dined with China’s Xi, or how North Korea and others (such as Iran and especially Russia) view this, for instance. Many of the comments focus on refugees and immigration-related agenda.

Instead, thousands of tweets, blog posts, and Facebook comments are criticism or praise of something the commenter knows little or nothing about, least of which is information on Syria itself.

Years ago I went to a lecture by Tim Berners-Lee, the guy who actually invented the world wide web (Al Gore sure as heck didn’t invent it). He was glad people could express their opinions on the web, but his intent is to disseminate knowledge.

In a search for knowledge it’s up to us to search for the facts and ask questions, if we are also interested in acquiring wisdom. The rest of it is just opinions, which are like navels: everybody has one.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz posts on U.S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog

First the WaPo looked for dirt on Mike Pence, and all they could come up with was that fifteen years ago – in 2002 – he said he won’t have dinner alone with any woman other than his wife.

Now BuzzFeed and Politico both are accusing SCOTUS nominee judge Neil Gorsuch of plagiarism.

Politico says,

Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch copied the structure and language used by several authors and failed to cite source material in his book and an academic article, according to documents provided to POLITICO.

Provided by whom?, you may ask, since they clearly state “POLITICO did not conduct a full examination of the federal judge’s writings.”

Jay Caruso notices that, in the passage that Politico posted with rainbow-colored highlights,

Politico is criticizing Gorsuch for using source material — the same source material Kuzma used — and not attributing it to Kuzma. Do you know who found the plagiarism accusation unpersuasive? Abigail Kuzma

Kuzma spells it out,

“I have reviewed both passages and do not see an issue here, even though the language is similar. These passages are factual, not analytical in nature, framing both the technical legal and medical circumstances of the “Baby/Infant Doe” case that occurred in 1982. Given that these passages both describe the basic facts of the case, it would have been awkward and difficult for Judge Gorsuch to have used different language.”

And why is that? Because Gorsuch went to Kuzma’s source – which defined,

Esophageal atresia with tracheoesophageal fistula means that the esophageal passage from the mouth to the stomach ends in a pouch, with an abnormal connection between the trachea and the esophagus.

Try changing that language without changing the definition of a medical condition.

BuzzFeed headlines, A Short Section In Neil Gorsuch’s 2006 Book Appears To Be Copied From A Law Review Article, with the following lede (emphasis added)

The section is just two paragraphs and accompanying footnotes, but it repeats language and sourcing from another work, a 1984 law review article.

The citations in question are from material published twenty years ago, and from Gorsuch’s 2006 book, The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, based on his Oxford dissertation.

Ed Whelan quotes,

Georgetown professor John Keown, one of the outside examiners of Gorsuch’s Oxford dissertation on which the book was based, calls the allegations of plagiarism “unsubstantiated” and praises the book as “meticulous in its citation of primary sources.” Further: “The allegation that the book is guilty of plagiarism because it does not cite secondary sources which draw on those same primary sources is very wide of the mark.”

Gorsuch was approved to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals by a voice vote in 2006. Now the Dems are ginning up a plagiarism smear to justify filibustering his nomination.

They would be pathetic if they were not so dishonorable.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz posts on U.S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT —  I wrote on this blog a couple of weeks ago about the excellent work the Cajun Relief Foundation is doing in helping Louisiana’s flood victims get back on their feet as the politicians dicker over who will oversee the $1.6 billion in federal relief dollars.  As of this date, none of that relief money has been disbursed to flood victims to help rebuild their gutted homes.

Cajun Relief Foundation now has their crowd-funding site set up to where you can donate everything from dish towels to stoves to those people who are trying to recover after the August 2016 floods.

Consider the case of flood victim Judy Hood:

[Judy] currently rents a mobile home near her Holden Residence. Her home has been family owned since the ’60’s. Although it was devastated by 4′ of flood water, she’s grateful to God for the safety of her elderly parents.

Upon her return home, she discovered that little was salvageable. Among her greatest losses were Bibles, yearbooks, photo albums, and industrial art furniture pieces designed by her brothers. After the flood, Judy discovered “cotton balls” in which a friend quickly revealed was mold. Staying in the home profoundly impacted her health. Judy is a cancer patient. Unable to eat for two weeks, her health declined and she fell ill with a bacterial infection. Although her health has improved, she remains on a breathing machine. Her home has been gutted and treated for mold; however, reconstruction has yet to begin. Judy has $15,000 in funds to complete the work. Her brother is eager to help, but without supplies, he’s concerned, as labor costs alone would quickly deplete the funds.

There is a list of items you can donate through the site to help Judy: she needs towels ($25), a dryer ($300), dishes ($50) all the way up to building supplies like sheetrock and insulation.

Another case being worked by Cajun Relief is that of Mr. Nate:

At 70 years old, disabled, diabetic and blind in one eye, due to a failed cataract surgery, he just took life as it came and enjoyed being with his neighbors. The great flood of August 2016 was unlike anything he’d ever seen before and turned his once relatively easy going life, upside down.

When the August storm hit the water began to rise quickly. A friend tried to get to Nataniel by truck, but the water was starting to come up into the truck cab. After parking a distance away on higher ground, Nathaniel’s friend was able to reach him and pull him to safety through waist deep water. For six months after the flood Nathaniel was displaced and stayed with his sister. Everything in his home was lost.

In spite of losing many of his neighbors who were displaced due to the overwhelming devastation, Nathaniel has kept is positive spirit. Even surviving with no stove, no hot water, and no refrigerator, he remains active in service to those around him.

He needs silverware ($30), a water heater ($700), refrigerator ($600), pots and pans ($60), etc.

There are many other cases on the Cajun Relief crowd-funding page.  If you can help any of these people rebuild their lives and make a donation, by all means do so. If you can’t, just sharing it on your social media can help.

Go here to read about the crowd-funding and about Cajun Relief Foundation. They’re doing the hard work of interviewing and documenting all of these flood victims and their needs.  A caseworker is assigned to each flood victim and that caseworker follows up on needs, talks to the person, ensures items get delivered to that victim, and serves as an advocate for that person’s needs.

The easy part is clicking the donate button.

 

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

Secretary of State Tillerson continues to beat up NATO nations for not paying their fair share.  Normally we hear these complaints by people leaving, so it’s refreshing to hear them early, which means we might actually get some reform.

Liberals seem loathe to support Trump on this point, and I’m not sure why.  NATO’s own data shows the gap is real.

But this is percentages, which mean nothing.  With Microsoft Excel as my friend, I calculated what this actually means in terms of billions of dollars, using the data from NATO’s website.

That’s 121 billion dollars, with a ‘B.’  But still again, this is just a number, impersonal and meaningless.  It means more when you dig into budgets and find out what nations are spending the money on instead:

Secretary Mattis was right to tell NATO nations to pay more.  NATO nations are taking care of their own while allowing America to bear the cost of fighting terrorism and keeping the world safe for trade.  The 121 billion would make a dent in student debt, to the tune of giving every student almost 6,000 dollars.  It could pay for better health care coverage or help us improve our own infrastructure.  In short, you’ve been paying for child care and a host of other services for non-Americans.

But wait, there’s more.  Not only do these nations pay less, but when we go into combat, they do less.  In Afghanistan, lot’s of people “contributed,” but placed restrictions on their troops.  German soldiers couldn’t operate at night (no night light perhaps?), wouldn’t transport Afghans, and only operated in the quietest regions of the country.  Out of 26 nations, 20 placed restrictions on troop usage.  A common saying was that NATO would fight for Afghanistan until the last dead American.

I still believe in NATO (I used to work with them).  I still think NATO has a place in this world.  I don’t think freedom is going to defend itself, and NATO provides a good way to keep democratic governments free.  But Denmark shouldn’t pay for it’s health care on the backs of American Sailors, and Canada shouldn’t provide child care while American Soldiers struggle to keep their own child care open.  NATO paying their fair share is something all people, liberal and conservative, can get behind.


This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other federal agency.  Then again, Secretary Mattis did tell NATO to pay up, so maybe my views reflect some of his own.

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Prof. Stephen Cohen is one of the preeminent Russian scholars in the world. He is a frequent guest in the John Batchelor Show, most recently last Tuesday, when he discussed Dissent and the New Cold War.

I invite you to listen to that podcast (which I can not embed in this version of WordPress), where he explains why the Russia hacking story is a false narrative.

In the podcast Cohen describes the parallels between the Soviet-style omission of dissenting views and the lack of opposing views for the Russian hacking story on the editorial pages of the New York Times, the Washington Post and in the panels at CNN, in spite of

“no shred of evidence, actual forensic evidence, wiretap, a surveillance of any kind, a witness, an inside informer, a fingerprint, a careless statement in the Russian media, nothing, not a single fact is supporting this” (25 mins into the audio).

Cohen knows from experience what the Soviets were like, since they threw him out of the country back in the day.

Last night Cohen was in the Tucker Carlson show, also talking about the so-called Russian hacking false narrative,

The Duran transcribed part of the interview,

“This figure 17 [intelligence agencies] is bogus.”

“The one agency that could conceivably have done a forensic examination on the Democratic computers is the National Security Agency. We learned from Snowden, they’re in your computer, mine, our e-phones.”

“Everybody else who signed that report, said they were highly confident. The NSA said it was only moderately confident.”

“You don’t get married based on moderate confidence. You don’t go to war with Russia. You don’t stage this theater that’s going on in Washington, that could destroy a Presidency.”

Having stressed the lack of evidence, Cohen cuts to the chase (my transcription):

“When they admit they have no evidence, they fall back on something else. which I think is very important. They say Putin directed Russian propaganda at us and helped elect Trump.

“I don’t know about you, Tucker, but I find that insulting, because the premise they’re putting out in Washington in this hearing, is that the American people are zombies . . . anywhere Putin leads them.

“It’s the premise of democracy that we are democratic citizens, we have a BS detector and we know how to use it. But they’re telling us in Washington . . . every politician who loses in America is going to say was hacked by Putin.”

My kudos to Carlson for having Prof. Cohen on his show.

You can safely bet CNN won’t be having Cohen as a guest anytime soon.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz posts on U.S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog

For quite a while, the Democrats have repeatedly engaged in the following:

Maoist-type censorship of speech and free expression through political correctness mores:

What, exactly, does “political correctness” mean? In the 1980s and ‘90s, the term was a sarcastic reference to Maoist or Stalinist thought police, popularized largely by conservatives in order to deride the liberal-led orthodoxy. Detractors claimed that P.C. campaigns often went to absurd lengths, turning P.C. accusations into one more feature of the roiling culture wars waged among politicians and activists. These ideological debates continue today—and are still the first thing most Americans over age 40 associate with the term.

A foreign policy that can be summarized as supporting America’s enemies, ignoring America’s friends. The Dems are all-in for easing the so-called embargo on Cuba, sponsoring a Cuba-hosted deal between the Colombian government and the FARC (the world’s largest Marxist narco-terrorist organization), sending Iran pallets of money . . . in exchange for what?

Surprise at the rise of ISIS:

“The ability of ISL to initiate major land offense, that was not on my intelligence radar screen,” Obama admitted.

A hollowing out of all seemingly reliable institutions – what Juliette brilliantly calls the Coconut Treatment. Not only the military and educational institutions, and weaponizing the IRS, but also the legislative process; The presidential pen and a phone, the Reid Rule a.k.a. Nuclear Option

The nuclear or constitutional option is a parliamentary procedure that allows the U.S. Senate to override a rule or precedent by a simple majority of 51 votes, instead of by a supermajority of 60 votes.

It is not unreasonable to notice that these behaviors are both motivated and enforced by the thirst for power. They assumed that once in office, they would remain in office: Total control.

This lead to their favored candidate: Hillary made bountiful deals through the Clinton Foundation, spent thousands of dollars at the Javitz Center in the hope of breaking an actual glass ceiling, but did not visit once the states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin during her campaign. She was sure to win there.

And then Trump happened. The candidate who is not politically correct, puts America First in every speech, made several careers (real estate, TV, politics) on the art of the deal, and will not demur to use his phone, his pen, to win.

As Ace said,

the Trump Terrorist Event — the fact of Trump’s victory — hit them much more deeply than 9/11 did.

So now the Dems are doing their outmost to discredit and illegitimize not only Pres. Trump but his entire administration in every way, most obviously through this alleged Russia connection.

Never mind that during Hillary’s tenure as Secretary of State a deal gave Russia control of nearly 20 percent of U.S. uranium extraction capacity while Bill Clinton received US$500,000 for a speech in Moscow. The goal is to actually illegitimize an entire administration. Trump, Pence, all the cabinet and staff. If all of them are illegitimate, all must go.

Which would lead to what?

The Dems hope they’ll get back on top after the dust settles. But the thing is, they actually do not know. Nobody knows what that would bring, but I’ll leave you with a word: Entropy,

With the European Union weakening, the Middle East perceptibly falling apart  and African and Latin America their same old selves the danger is less that some rival empire will conquer the world than that power vacuums will spread entropy all over the planet.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz posts on U.S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – Hello, slippery slope.  It didn’t take long for you to appear.

I’ve always noted that once the green light was given by the 5th Circuit to remove the New Orleans monuments that the slippery slope of further changes would break open. And so it has.

Read the list of names that activist group Take ‘Em Down NOLA wants changed because they celebrate white supremacy.

One is Touro Hospital.

Touro Hospital is named for Judah Touro, who was the son of Jewish immigrants and was born in Rhode Island. Touro fought in the Battle of 1812 and later worked in shipping, trade, and real estate. He lived a simple life and donated a lot of money across the country. In New Orleans one of his charitable works was to establish what would become Touro Hospital – the largest charity hospital in Louisiana.

But that’s racist, so it must go.

Tulane University must apparently change its name as well.

Why?  Because founder Paul Tulane donated large sums of money to the Confederate States of America.

Never mind that he gave large charitable donations to charities throughout New Orleans and that he worked to raise the quality of higher education in the city.

Most of the things on this list are absurd and I’d venture to say that 99.9% of the people in New Orleans don’t have one idea who Judah Touro was or who Lane Street is named for.  In fact, maybe we should quit calling the place in the road where one drives a “lane” – perhaps that too is racist.

There is still hope that some of this madness will end.  Two upcoming bills in the Louisiana Legislature may still protect these monuments and legacy names; similar bills have been successful in nearby states.

Even more bizarre is the fact that Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who is the brainchild of this removal project, has no idea what will replace the monuments that come down nor how any new monument or art would be paid for:

This is perplexing because in every other instance when anyone wants to tear down a historic site or building, the proposed destroyer must have a plan in place for what will be replacing the historic site and why it is justifiable. A year a and a half later, the City Council has not called a meeting to discuss future artwork options.  None of the organizations—Historic District Landmarks Commission and Human Relations Commission—that rubber stamped Landrieu’s cause have called such a meeting. Nothing is planned.  No public discussions held.  No artists commissioned.  No money for new monuments mentioned.  Mitch is the man without a plan.

I’m sure Take’Em Down NOLA has some ideas but, well, there’s that slippery slope again.

 

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.


By John Ruberry

Most of the main characters in Hell on Wheels, my last Netflix binge-watching adventure, were shaped, and scarred, by the American Civil War.

In this BBC 2 television show, Peaky Blinders, set in Birmingham, England beginning in 1919, World War I casts its shadow over the lead characters.

Three seasons have been released so far. The action–and the violence–is centered upon the Anglo-Gypsy Shelby family, led by Thomas “Tommy” Shelby (Cillian Murphy), a decorated Great War tunneller who returns home a new man–and a better suited one to run the family business, Shelby Brothers, Ltd, a bookmaking operation set in the grimy and noisy Small Heath section of Birmingham. But the gang is generally called the Peaky Blinders by members and their enemies. His oldest brother, Arthur (Paul Anderson) is clearly more psychologically damaged from the war than Tommy, but he’s better suited to serve as the enforcer for the family. “I think, Arthur. That’s what I do,” Tommy explains to him. “I think. So that you don’t have to.” Third son John (Joe Cole), another World War I veteran, is also employed in the muscle side of the operation, while Finn, the youngest Shelby, is only 11-years-old when the series begins.

Tommy has a sister, Ada Thorne (Sophie Rundle), who is married to communist agitator. But she’s still loyal to the family.

While the Shelby men were fighting in France–the family business was run by Elizabeth “Aunt Polly” Gray (Helen McCrory), a kind of a Rosie the Riveter of the underworld. Tommy quickly takes over from Polly, who serves as his senior advisor. Like Edward G. Robinson’s legendary Rico character in Little Caesar, Tommy becomes a small-time-hood-makes-good-by-being-bad by playing one gang faction against the other, first in Birmingham then in London, while largely ignoring Aunt Polly’s warnings.

When the Peaky Blinders stumble upon a large machine gun shipment in an otherwise routine heist, that gets the attention of Secretary of State for War Winston Churchill (Andy Nyman in the first season, Richard McCabe in the second), who dispatches Inspector Chester Campbell (Sam Neill) from Belfast to find the machine guns. Those guns give Tommy power and respect–and enemies. Not only do Churchill and Campbell want those weapons, but so does the Irish Republican Army.

Campbell sends in an Irish domestic spy, Grace Burgess (Annabelle Wallis), to work at the neighborhood pub owned by Arthur, appropriately named The Garrison. She quickly becomes its de facto manager.

In season three, which is set in 1924, Tommy, at Churchill’s request, gets involved in another armaments caper, this time with members of the Whites faction who haven’t ascertained that the Communists have won the Russian Civil War. Arthur warns Tommy to stay out of “this Russian business.” It’s too bad the script writers didn’t take their own creation’s advice. As was the case with season four of Sherlock, what follows is a collection of tangled and confusing plot lines. Possibly realizing their mistake, the writers include quite a bit of gratuitous nudity to accompany the Russian adventure, including a bizarre orgy scene which does nothing to advance the storyline.

On the other hand, the Russian diversion is loosely based on a 1924 scandal that brought down Great Britain’s first socialist-led government.

At least two more seasons are coming.

The cinematography of Peaky Blinders is masterful. Imagine Tim Burton creating a remake of The Untouchables television show and setting it in 1920s Birmingham. And this is an ugly Birmingham. J.R.R Tolkien lived in the city before the Great War and his reaction against it was his creation of Mordor for The Lord of the Rings. Just as the Eye of Sauron looked upon that evil realm–the sparks and the ashes of the foundries oversee the Midlands metropolis here. And the industrial roar is always there too.

Blogger in his flat cap

Without getting into spoilers it’s a challenge to bring a description of Jewish gangster Alfie Solomons into this review, but his portrayal by Tom Hardy is too good to overlook.

Oh, the name. Peaky Blinders? There was a Birmingham gang by the same name who gained that moniker because its members supposedly sewed razor blades into the peaks of their flat caps. And in fights the hoodlums went for the eyes.

And finally, the music deserves special mention too. Anachronistic goth rock dominates, the unofficial theme song is Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ “Red Right Hand.” You’ll find selections from PJ Harvey, Tom Waits, and the White Stripes too.

And Johnny Cash sings “Danny Boy.”

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

A while back I was the training department head, called the “N7” in department head speak.  One of the divisions I owned was indoc, which has new people at our command before they go to their jobs.  Indoc gives new Sailors a place to work while they get their stuff moved in, find a place to live, and finish required paperwork they need for their new jobs.  This division included our junior officers, young ensigns that have recently graduated college and attended a few weeks of Navy training.  When I took over the job initially, I thought I would enjoy mentoring them upon arrival.

I was in for a rude awakening when one of my first check-ins told me “I’m really concerned about work/life balance.”  I told him “Uhm, you’ve had a lot of life and not a lot of work, so yes, you’re out of balance.”  It probably seemed like a dick-thing to say at the time, but it was true.

Seems doable…From Dilbert.com

Your first job out of college is a big challenge.  You have to prove yourself to your employer and your fellow employees, plus you have to learn about your industry.  This holds true for Naval Officers, who have to learn about the Navy, their specific job, and how to lead Sailors, all while getting qualified.  Oh, and occasionally contribute to the local community.  Until you get qualified, it’s an uphill battle that takes much more than 40 hours a week.

Increasingly people are graduating college with flawed ideas about work and a lack of critical thinking skills.  I’m shocked at the junior officers who can’t write a cohesive paper, can’t arrive on time for work, and think that the Navy’s rules about physical readiness are flexible.  Part of the point of college was to eradicate these bad habits, but college is increasingly becoming an extension of high school, rather than an adult incubator.  I used to think “adulting” memes were cute, but now I sadly realize they honestly reflect the internal thoughts of most graduates.

So if you’re a soon-to-be college graduate, and you’re looking forward to a graduation speech about taking on the world and how you’re going to solve world hunger, all within a 9 to 5, Monday to Thursday workweek…please stop yourself.  Get a job, and get a mentor or two that are successful.  Talk with someone successful about finances and how you build wealth in your twenties.  The “cool kids” that are drinking their pay checks and scamming out of paying student loans?  They aren’t going to be the cool kids in their thirties.  Trust me, it won’t mean working yourself to death, but it will involve a bit of sacrifice and thinking ahead.  The thing is, you’ll find real happiness and satisfaction when you do.


This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy or any other agency.

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The cult of victimology is both fascinating and tiresome.

Fascinating, because, on the one hand, Women Are Fragile Creatures That Must Be Sheltered from Life say Feminists; for instance,

A gang of six professors at Wellesley College (cough “Asylum” cough) (Annual cost of attendance: $66,966) calling themselves “the Commission for Ethnicity, Race, and Equity (CERE)” have authored a policy that would ban speakers from the college if their views are so controversial (i.e. conservative, libertarian, or anti-socialist) that snowflakes might be offended by them.

Tiresome when you notice that within the cult there is a hierarchy:

In sports participation, transgender rights are the priority when a transgender person wins the women’s weightlifting contest, or the wrestling, or whatever sport comes next.

Submission to a religion is more important than feminist principles. You can see it in Sweden, where stickers pop up declaring “women who do not wear the veil are asking to be raped” pop up with impunity, while its “first feminist government in the world” wear veils to meet with the Iranians in search of closer business ties.

Open-borders immigration is more important than women’s safety. You are seeing it in Maryland, where a fourteen year old girl was raped last week at Rockville High School by two suspects who had been detained at the U.S. border in 2016. This week Maryland Democrats this week took a major step to becoming a “sanctuary state,”

The Democratically-controlled House of Delegates voted 83-55 to OK the Maryland Law Enforcement and Trust Act. Generally, it would bar state and local law enforcement from helping federal immigration officials seeking illegals, including requests to detain inmates for deportation.

The school district has been emailing parents reassuring them about the district’s commitment to diversity. What about ensuring their students’ safety? Let me posit this,  What if the rape victim is also an immigrant, or the daughter of immigrants?

Worse yet, last  night, the alleged perpetrators’ lawyer, who refused to disclose who is paying for his fees, stated that he may argue in court that the rape was consentual, not “forced, or coerced, or in any way, illegal,” (1:50 into the video)

So, girls must be protected from speakers who challenge their ideas . . . but only if and after the other victimology hierarchies are kept.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz posts on U.S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog