Yes, Trump has fallen ridiculously behind. He has only himself to blame: Had he behaved in a more presidential fashion -- had he simply let himself be handled, guided and shaped by advisers chosen by the "normal" GOP -- he'd be even with Hillary right now.
And yet, obstinate fool that I am, I'm standing by my prediction of Trump victory, absurd as that prophecy may seem at the moment. Regular readers know my attitude toward the business of forecasting: If you always predict the worst, all of your surprises will be happy ones.
Besides, one must not underestimate the power of propaganda -- not to mention the power of Clinton Derangement Syndrome. From The Daily Caller
Former President Bill Clinton collected $5.6 million in fees from GEMS Education, a Dubai-based company that teaches Sharia Law through its network of more than 100 schools in the Middle East, Asia and Africa, according to a Daily Caller News Foundation investigation.
The company’s finances strictly adhere to “Sharia Finance,” which includes giving “zakat,” a religious tax of which one-eighth of the proceeds is dedicated to funding Islamic jihad.
This story, biased and incomplete as it is, is getting huge play on the right. (See here
.) I presume that if GEMS education really were funding jihad, we would have some indication of same in an article published before
the election. Here is a profile of GEMS
published in 2011...
Gems Education was established in Dubai in 1968 by KS Varkey and his wife Mariamma. The first school, Our Own English High School, opened with 27 students and three teachers. In 1980, their son Sunny took over the business and he is the current chairman of Gems Education. Over the past three decades, Varkey has turned the family-run business into the largest private kindergarten to grade 12 (K-12) education provider in the world.
And here is the GEMS website
. As you explore, you'll see that what we are dealing with here is a series of rather conventional private schools located all over the world. The children appear to have many different ethnic and national backgrounds.
Pay particular attention to the "core values"
section, where you will find many pictures of girls dressed in western fashion. There is absolutely nothing about Sharia law. In fact, there is no mention of Islam; many of these students clearly are not
Muslims. Note this...
4. Global citizenship - Making an active contribution to your local and global community
We respect and celebrate our diversity and recognize that there are many things that unite us all
We make a difference in our local communities so that we can build a sustainable planet to share
We build bridges of knowledge, push boundaries and unite young people.
We aim to produce not just great students, but great people who live with honesty, confidence and integrity
It goes on and on like that. In short: GEMS bears no resemblance to the jihadist monster of right-wing imagination. This series of schools appears to be multi-national, multi-lingual and multi-cultural.
It stands to reason that Bill Clinton would not have associated himself with GEMS if it had any known association with jihad or the imposition of sharia law. Pecunia non olet
and all that, but his primary
goal is to get his wife elected.
Here's Wikipedia on the Varkey Foundation (which is behind GEMS):
The Varkey Foundation, initially the Varkey GEMS Foundation, is a global charitable foundation focused on improving the standards of education for underprivileged children. It was formed in 2010 by Sunny Varkey, the founder and chairman of GEMS Education, the world's largest operator of kindergarten-to-grade-12 schools. The foundation's main focuses are improving global teacher capacity by training tens of thousands of teachers and principals in developing countries; providing access to education via a variety of programmes and projects; and advocating for change in, and conducting research that can help develop, education policies worldwide.
The Varkey Foundation has partnered with a variety of major global organizations including UNESCO, UNICEF, and the Clinton Global Initiative.
Not one word about Islam.
Here's the kicker: Sunny Varkey himself is a Catholic from India.
His father, KS, and mother, Miriamma, were Kerala Christians, and educators. The family moved to Dubai in 1959, when the emirate was still very undeveloped. His father worked for British Bank of the Middle East, and both of his parents taught English to local Arabs, including members of the royal family. At the age of four, Sunny was sent back to Kerala to attend Infant Jesus School, a Catholic boarding school in Kollam city. When he was 11 years old, he sold fruit on the side of the road to make a little extra money. He and his elder sister returned to Dubai in 1970, and Sunny completed his O-Levels at St. Mary's Catholic High School.
(Kerala is the center of Indian Christianity. There is a sizable Indian community in Dubai.)
In short and in sum: The original Daily Caller piece appears to be pure propaganda. Needless to say, right-wingers are repeating these claims without double-checking.
On another front:
I found another story published by a Pakistani source which relays some rather wild claims about Hillary, allegedly from Julian Assange. I don't want to link to the article here because, frankly, my first reaction was to consider it a hoax. If it isn't, I'll talk about it at greater length anon.