Ed Driscoll

Ed Driscoll

“Rick Austin, a best-selling author, survival expert, sought after speaker and television personality, turned down what many looking for publicity would have considered the opportunity of a lifetime — to be featured in a CNN special television series,” the Inquisitr Website notes. And judging from their description of a CNN show as “the opportunity of a lifetime,” perhaps we can tell which direction that Website’s biases point. In any case, Austin, a former TV producer himself, certainly knows the direction of CNN’s biases:

Aside from his own appearances as a regular featured guest about homesteading and preparedness in the media, Austin is certainly no stranger to the inner workings of TV and the media, since prior to his off grid living career, Austin also spent several decades working in the media business, including as both a director and a producer for TV shows from his offices at Universal Studios.

As such, Austin is no stranger to the many ways that on-camera comments can be spun and edited, if an interviewer or producer has a personal or biased agenda. Because of his popularity in the preparedness arena, Austin was approached for the CNN project through the Bright Roads Productions company that is working on a new series entitled United Shades of America.

Austin said it took him just a few moments to become “extremely suspect” about the new series, which is to be hosted by liberal comedian, W. Kamau Bell. In fact the online promotional material for the TV show notes that “comedian W. Kamau Bell will explore the far corners of our country and its ‘subcultures’ and make people laugh in United Shades of America.” Bell is also the host of the FXX Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell late-night comedy sho. On United Shades of America, Bell will “dissect” a vast array of topics which will reportedly include “politics, pop culture, race, religion, and the media,” promotional material for the series revealed.

The Website quotes Austin replying:

“CNN, quite honestly, is a left wing biased network, so I don’t see much potential in their giving right wing conservative people in the preparedness community anything close to ‘fair and balanced’ coverage. Frankly, having spent 30 years in the media business, and much of it as television producer, I know that editors can turn anything someone says into something it is not. The fact that you have a comedian as the show’s host leads me to believe that the networks’ view is already skewed toward painting this as a story about ‘kooks’ and people who think the sky is falling.”

CNN’s goal of sneering at preppers such as Austin illustrates the hypocrisy of the MSM in general, which for 60 years, has hyped the news with one doomsday scenario after another, but mocks anyone who takes them seriously. Starting in the mid-to-late 1950s, the liberal TV news media routinely described the apocalyptic horrors to come if the Soviets used their nuclear weapons against America, culminating in the Kennedy administration’s “duck and cover” preparedness warnings and the brinksmanship of the Cuban missile crisis. But anyone who took the Democrat warnings seriously by building a bomb shelter was viewed by the MSM and Hollywood as a reactionary crank. (See also, Dr. Strangelove and the “Gift of the Magi”-style Twilight Zone episode where Burgess Meredith’s bookworm character emerges from the post-apocalyptic bomb shelter only to break his glasses.) More recently in a 2011 Atlantic article, PJM’s own Glenn Reynolds noted that Obama administration was dusting off Cold War-style nuclear preparedness plans. “I note that the feds seem to be highly interested in an experimental new drug for treating radiation sickness. That’s not encouraging,” he insta-deadpanned.

Starting with the first “Earth Day” in 1970, it became a cliché for radical environmentalists to tell nonplussed TV interviewers that “we only have five years/ten years/ 12 years, 300 days, 12 hours and 32 minutes” to save the earth from global cooling/warming/climate change/climate chaos. Since the eco-apocalypse and nuclear war dueled for headline space, during the 1970s and early 1980s, it was hard to tell where the threatened New Ice Age ended and the Nuclear Winter began.

Ted Turner, the founder of CNN, spent much of the 1990s hectoring viewers with his “Captain Planet” cartoon series on his sister network, TBS, As recently as 2008, he told Charlie Rose:

If steps aren’t taken to stem global warming, “We’ll be eight degrees hotter in 30 or 40 years and basically none of the crops will grow,” Turner said during a wide-ranging, hour-long interview with PBS’s Charlie Rose that aired Tuesday.

“Most of the people will have died and the rest of us will be cannibals,” said Turner, 69. “Civilization will have broken down. The few people left will be living in a failed state — like Somalia or Sudan — and living conditions will be intolerable.”

As Mark Hemingway quipped at the Corner back then, “If [Turner is] so afraid of global warming brought on by overpopulation, the better question is, which of his five children does he want to eat?”

So here’s someone who takes this sort of doomsday thinking seriously – and of course, for CNN, he’s merely a prop to be savaged and discarded as an object of ridicule. Good for Rick Austin for not being used by the most busted name in news.

“Last night’s interview with Bruce Jenner by Diane Sawyer on ABC’s 20/20 turned out to be very revealing … in a much different way than many thought,” Ed Morrissey writes at Hot Air. “By this time, a relentless series of media reports had made it quite clear that Jenner had embraced a transgender identity, at least privately. The big reveal turned out to be that Jenner also identifies as a conservative Republican:”

When Sawyer asked if Jenner cheered when Obama became the first president to even say the word “transgender” in a State of the Union address, the 65-year-old replied that he “would certainly give him credit for that.”

“But not to get political,” Jenner continued, “I’ve never been a big fan, I’m kind of more on the conservative side.”

“Are your a Republican?” Sawyer asked in response, to which Jenner replied, “Yeah! Is that a bad thing? I believe in the constitution.”

“Do you think that would be an unsettling thing for some people in the conservative wing of the party?” Sawyer asked.

“I’ve thought about that,” says Jenner, adding that neither political party has a monopoly on understanding.

“Tolerance? Not so much. Prior to the interview airing, progressives on Twitter offered lots of support for Jenner, and plenty of predictions about how conservatives would heap scorn on Jenner. After Jenner truly came out, their tone changed considerably, as Twitchy documented,” Ed adds.

Back in 2009, in the depths of ”We Are All Socialists Now” chest-thumping triumphalism of the Obama administration and their media operatives, former liberal turned conservative author Harry Stein wrote a book titled I Can’t Believe I’m Sitting Next to a Republican, which documented the “tolerant” left’s reflexive knee-jerk freak out reaction when actually confronted by ideological diversity:

My favorite tale in this regard comes from a friend who lives in Park Slope. She reports creating level-red discomfort, when the talk on a recent evening turned to gay marriage. Everyone was for it, of course, including my friend. “But wouldn’t it bother you if your own children were gay?” she added, all innocent curiosity. “After all, isn’t it natural to want your kids to mirror your experience? To have a traditional marriage and raise children in the traditional way? I can’t think of anything that would make them more foreign.” She reports that, hearing this, the liberals around the table “got very flustered — because of course they feel exactly the same way. There was a long silence, and then someone said: ‘I would be much more upset if my kids were Republican,’ and that let everyone off the hook.

That same year, comedian Paul Rodriguez described a near identical experience:

I remember many years since, trying to contemplate the idea of joining the Grand Old Party, and I said I better run this through Mom. I said, “Ma, Dad, sit down, I want to talk to you.” Before I could go any further, they said, “Oh, my God, he’s gay. (AUDIENCE LAUGHTER) Ay, Dios mio, he’s gay.” I said, “No, no, no, Mom, I’m thinking of being a Republican.” She said, “I wish you were gay. (AUDIENCE LAUGHTER) Please look, what have we done?”

And right on cue:

If I could pick one tweet to symbolize the intolerance of the left, I might pick this one. pic.twitter.com/LdB01grg2P

— Ken Gardner (@kesgardner) April 25, 2015

Don’t ever change, reactionary leftists.

When 2+2 = 5

April 25th, 2015 - 2:08 pm

Now is the time when we juxtapose, Small Dead Animals-style:

In all of these places, my experience has been that when it suits the ends of power, ideology can be invoked to prove that 2+2 = 5, or 3, or any other number that suits the state, and to demand that all embrace the madness. It is a truly frightening thing to interview a top-ranked nuclear scientist, or a distinguished brain surgeon, or a concert pianist, as I did in China under the sway of Mao, and to hear them, as ideological outcasts, justify with utter conviction the brutalities inflicted on them by their ideology-crazed persecutors — crushed fingers, smashed heads, broken marriages, vilification by their own families.

Elsewhere, the lunacy was of an order that invited a response of laughing mockery, if that were not potentially fatal to the system’s loyalists, or those pretending to be so. In North Korea, while Kim Il-sung was still alive, there was a brand new, high-tech hospital built in his name in Pyongyang, floor after floor laden with tens of millions of dollars in the latest American, Swiss and German equipment, but no patients to be seen. And why not? “As we have explained,” the most senior comrade-physician responded, “the Korean people’s great leader Comrade Kim Il-sung has taken such care for the health of his beloved people that none of his people gets sick.”

Not ever? “No, never,” was the reply.

“The Things I Carried Back,” John F. Burns, the New York Times, April 11th, 2015.

The Columbia University student being called a rapist by members of the media and a woman who has been carrying her mattress around for performance art is suing.

Paul Nungesser was accused by fellow Columbia student Emma Sulkowicz of brutally beating and raping her during a sexual encounter he insists was consensual. Despite a police investigation that failed to charge Nungesser and the university finding him “not responsible,” Sulkowicz and her enablers — including Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, have continued to harass Nungesser by calling him a “rapist.”

Now, Nungesser is suing his university, its president and trustees and the visual arts professor that allowed the mattress project to go forward.

“Columbia student defamed by mattress girl is suing,”Ashe Schow, the Washington Examiner, yesterday.

Left-leaning student activists at Oberlin College hung posters at the Christina Hoff Sommers event earlier this week that identified the students involved in bringing the individualist-feminist and AEI scholar to campus.

Each poster gave the name of a specific student-member of the Oberlin College Republicans and Libertarians and accused that person of perpetuating rape culture.

Images of the posters were sent to Reason via a source who asked not to be named for fear of retaliation. The last names of the students identified by the posters were blurred before Reason received them.

According to the source, a group of approximately 10 student-activists were behind the posters.

They have the right to denounce their fellow students as perpetuators of rape culture, I suppose, though the fact that some students would smear others with this charge for merely bringing a speaker to campus is disappointing. Do students no longer recognize that the entire point of challenge is to grapple with new and different ways of thinking about the world?

“Oberlin Activists Posted Creepy Messages Accusing Specific Students of Perpetuating Rape Culture: Their crime? Bringing Christina Hoff Sommers to campus,” Robby Soave, Reason, April 23rd.

Like my RedState colleague Bryan Pruitt, I feel sorry for these guys: “The gay New York City hoteliers who recently played host to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) have their own controversy to deal with: Activists are calling for the boycott of their properties, including a gay hotel and establishments on Fire Island.”  Essentially, Ian Reisner and Mati Weiderpass had a reception where they had Ted Cruz speak to a group on foreign policy, Israel (particularly noting its attitudes on gay rights) – and, shockingly, how Ted Cruz doesn’t think Barack Obama is doing well on either.  Oh, mustn’t forget: Ted Cruz will still love his kids if they turn out to be gay.

And so… for allowing this man to speak to their friends, Mr. Reisner and Mr. Weiderpass must of course be chastised.  In fact, they should consider themselves fortunate that their own side is not calling them to be burned at the stake for heresy. Yet.  The day is still young, after all.

“More on Ted Cruz and the Activist Left’s ‘SHUT UP!’ principle in action,” Moe Lane, yesterday.

After decades of left-wing intellectuals churning out treatises on the evils of “moral panics” and “shame culture,” the same crowd is now using these very tactics for their ends, utterly oblivious to their own hypocrisy.

That they are doing so should be very worrisome to conservatives, because enforcing orthodoxy against heretics is what the winners do to the losers. That is precisely why this phenomena is most powerful on college campuses — because that is where the secular orthodox are at their most powerful.

On campus and off, today’s losers — social conservatives, climate “deniers,” rape-panic skeptics, even supporters of free speech qua free speech — are being told that they must bend to the shaming of the mob. In the long run I don’t think it will work. But there’s no immutable law — of nature, democracy, modernity, morality whatever — that I can point to back up that conviction.

—The “We’re All Shamers” subsection of Jonah Goldberg’s weekly G-File column, online today.

Lambert and Stamp: The Men Who Made The Who

April 25th, 2015 - 1:43 pm

lambert_and_stamp_poster_4-25-15-1

In 1979, The Who, at the peak of their career, released the documentary summing up their career at that point, The Kids Are Alright. As veteran rock critic Dave Marsh wrote in his 1983 biography of the group, Before I Get Old, published to coincide with the band’s “first” farewell tour that year:

Kids is one of the most anarchic documentaries ever assembled, running two hours without a shred of narration and with not so much as a subtitle identifying characters or dates. Kids was the perfect cult item, and Who fans flocked to it. Hardly anyone else did, however, so even though it remained a staple of the midnight movie circuit, part of every kid’s introduction to the verities of the Rock of Ages, the film had little impact outside of the Who’s cult. The Kids Are Alright is, nevertheless, one of the great rock and roll movies, capturing all of the Who’s sass and humor and taking the wind out of the band’s pomposity at each and every opportunity.

Naturally, Keith Moon stole The Kids Are Alright, which became a summation of his career as the Who’s anarchic drummer, who passed away nine months before its release, choking on an overdose of the pills he was prescribed to battle his alcoholism.

This year, filmmaker James D. Cooper released Lambert and Stamp, a documentary about the Who’s first managers, a  film that can be thought of as the liner notes to The Kids Are Alright. If you’re a fan of the band, you owe it to yourself to see this film while it’s in the theaters (I saw it last night at a sparsely attended showing at the Camera 3 in San Jose), to get a sense of two men who did so much to shape the group in the 1960s. How much you know about the Who will shape how much you enjoy this new documentary, which is built around a lengthy series of interviews with Chris Stamp (1942-2012), the younger brother of veteran actor Terence Stamp (Superman II, Wall Street, The Limey), who also appears in the film, along with Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey, Daltrey’s wife Heather, and other Who insiders.

Instant Party

The Who were one of the most unlikeliest of bands; Pete Townshend, art school devotee and later follower of Sufi mystic and guru Meher Baba, was essentially the timekeeper of the group, even though he was the rhythm guitarist. Keith Moon’s anarchic surf-music-inspired drumming provided brilliant percussive colors; but keeping time was not his metier; he was not a man in search of a simple backbeat on the 2 and 4. With his fluid single-note runs, John Entwistle was in many ways the band’s lead guitarist, despite being the bassist. And Daltrey, the founder and nominally the frontman of the group, was forced to fight for attention as singer as his three innovative sidemen roared away alongside him. Somehow it worked — brilliantly — in spite of themselves.

Similarly, Lambert and Stamp were the most unlikeliest of rock managers. They hadn’t really planned to be managers at all. Kit Lambert (1935-1981) was the son of composer/conductor Constant Lambert, who sought to make a name for himself in the shadow of his famous father, who died, as Wikipedia notes, in 1951 “two days short of his forty-sixth birthday, of pneumonia and undiagnosed diabetes complicated by acute alcoholism.”

Britain didn’t legalize homosexuality until 1967; the upper-class Lambert was very much gay during that era. And the handsome, modish Stamp was equally aggressively heterosexual and working class, the son of a tugboat captain. The two originally didn’t want to be managers; after meeting while both were working at Shepperton  Studios in the early 1970s, they were looking for the perfect rock group to feature in a documentary on the exploding British rock scene in the wake of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, when they stumbled into the Railway Hotel in Harrow where the Who were playing Motown songs to an overpacked room crammed mostly with hundreds of young Mod men. As the documentary explains, Lambert and Stamp were instantly convinced they had found the perfect group for their film; the band was instantly convinced they were the authorities, about to close down the gig as a fire hazard. While they did shoot some early footage of the group, Lambert and Stamp decided instead they’d rather be Brian Epstein than filmmakers, and quickly began managing the group.

Keith Moon brilliantly summed up the tone of the two men in the early days in his 1972 Rolling Stone interview:

Kit Lambert came to see us playing at the Railway ‘Otel in ‘Arrow. We had a meeting. We didn’t like each other at first, really. Kit and Chris. They went ’round together. And they were . . . are . . . as incongruous a team as we are. You got Chris on one hand [goes into unintelligible East London cockney]: “Oh well, f**k it, jus, jus whack ‘im in-a ‘ead, ‘it ‘im in ee balls an’ all.” And Kit says [slipping into a proper Oxonian]: “Well, I don’t agree, Chris; the thing is . . . the whole thing needs to be thought out in damned fine detail.” These people were perfect for us, because there’s me, bouncing about, full of pills, full of everything I could get me ‘ands on . . . and there’s Pete, very serious, never laughed, always cool, a grass-’ead. I was working at about ten times the speed Pete was. And Kit and Chris were like the epitome of what we were.

Lambert was a brilliant ideas man; he shaped The Who’s image as sharply-dressed mods, encouraged Townshend and Moon’s guitar and drum smashing, and hired a graphic artist to design The Who’s iconic “Maximum R&B” poster (a copy of which is hanging behind me in my home office as I write this). Lambert also moved Townshend into Lambert’s flat in the posh Belgravia section of London, giving the band a veneer of success far beyond what they were earning as working musicians. Meanwhile Stamp was largely funding the band’s early days via his work as a second assistant director on the Kirk Douglas WWII movie, The Heroes of Telemark.

Lambert fueled Townshend’s composing skills, convincing him to link together several short, incomplete songs into one nine minute number in 1966 called “A Quick One,” which the two called “their mini-opera,” and which Townshend credits for inspiring some of the ideas on Sgt. Pepper, the Beatles’ landmark concept album the following year. That album would go on to inspire the Who’s double album “rock opera,” Tommy, released in 1969.

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‘Hillary Thinks She Is Bigger Than God’

April 24th, 2015 - 2:36 pm

In 1993, “the politics of meaning” was introduced by Hillary Clinton into the vernacular of the times, when she said during a commencement speech:

“We need a new politics of meaning. We need a new ethos of individual responsibility and caring. We need a new definition of civil society which answers the unanswerable questions posed by both the market forces and the governmental ones, as to how we can have a society that fills us up again and makes us feel that we are part of something bigger than ourselves.”

For most Americans, “the unanswerable questions posed by both the market forces and the governmental ones” are answered quite satisfactorily by religion. For self-admitted “Progressives” such as Hillary, that’s rather…problematic…to borrow the hip word all the cool kids are saying these days. Because for over 150 years,  “Progressivism” and religion have been two fundamentally opposed forces. Which is why last night, Hillary told the attendees at the 2015 Women in The World Summit:

“Far too many women are denied access to reproductive health care and safe childbirth, and laws don’t count for much if they’re not enforced. Rights have to exist in practice — not just on paper,” Clinton said.

“Laws have to be backed up with resources and political will,” she explained. “And deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed. As I have said and as I believe, the advancement of the full participation of women and girls in every aspect of their societies is the great unfinished business of the 21st century and not just for women but for everyone — and not just in far away countries but right here in the United States.”

Comparing the bolded line above to Obama’s infamous “bitter clingers” speech, Ed Morrissey writes at Hot Air that Hillary is striking a very different pose today from 2008, when she thought that she had the Democrats’ nomination locked up, and needed to only worry about some tyro anti-religious rookie politician to her left named Barack Obama and could safely pivot to the center:

In one sense, this shows just how extreme the pro-abortion caucus actually is. As Hillary admits here — albeit unwittingly — the at-will destruction of the unborn goes against religious beliefs, long-held cultural values, and the structural “biases” that exist to recognize the value of human life. That’s what the “clump of cells” fallacy has to overcome, and as Hillary and the Left have discovered, it’s a tall order. And it’s not just abortion, but also same-sex marriage and forced participation in it, euthanasia dressed up as “right to die” movements, and the rest.

Politically speaking, this kind of hostility to religion plays well … among the “safe space,” “trigger warning” crowd. Running for president on the basis of promising to use the power of government to change “deep seated cultural codes [and] religious beliefs” might be the most honest progressive slogan in history, but it’s not going to endear Hillary to the people who got offended by Barack Obama’s “bitterly clinging” comments — which she exploited in 2008 to paint herself as the friend of those denizens of middle America. Those voters will now see the real Hillary Clinton, the one who dismisses their faith just the same as Obama did, and this time publicly rather than in a private fundraiser.

What does Hillary do to counter this? I’m waiting to hear If you like your religion, you can keep your religion. That will fit the progressive pattern well.

The headline quoted above by Hugh Hewitt co-blogger John Schroeder neatly sums up Hillary’s worldview, and it’s not a new one. When Jonah Goldberg published Liberal Fascism in late 2007, it was written with the assumption that Hillary was likely the next Democrat nominee for the presidency, and her worldview dominates the second half of the book; Barack Obama is only mentioned twice, if my Kindle search function is accurate. Hillary believed since at least her college days that religion needed a serious overhaul if not entire junking; a trait that has been believed by every dyed-in-the-wool “Progressive” since the 19th century. As Jonah wrote in his chapter on “Brave New Village: Hillary Clinton and the Meaning of Liberal Fascism:”

The politics of meaning is in many respects the most thoroughly totalitarian conception of politics offered by a leading American political figure in the last half century. Hillary’s views have more in common with the totalizing Christian ideologies of Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell than they do with the “secular atheism” such Christian conservatives ascribe to her. But they have even more in common with the God-state Progressivism of John Dewey, Richard Ely, Herbert Croly, and Woodrow Wilson and other left-wing Hegelians. Hillary’s vision holds that America suffers from a profound “spiritual crisis” requiring the construction of a new man as part of a society-wide restoration and reconstruction effort leading to a new national community that will provide meaning and authenticity to every individual. Hers is a Third Way approach that promises to be neither left nor right, but a synthesis of both, under which the state and big business will work hand in hand. It is a fundamentally religious vision hiding in the Trojan horse of social justice that seeks to imbue social policy with spiritual imperatives.

* * * * * * * *

Hillary is no führer, and her notion of the “common good” doesn’t involve racial purity or concentration camps. But she indisputably draws her vision from the same eternal instinct to impose order on society, to create an all-encompassing community, to get past endless squabbles and ensconce each individual in the security blanket of the state. Hers is a political religion, an updated Social Gospel—light on the Gospel, heavy on the Social—spoken in soothing tones and conjuring a reassuring vision of cooperation and community. But it remains a singular vision, and there’s no room in it for those still suffering from the “stupidity of habit-bound minds,” to borrow Dewey’s phrase. The village may have replaced “the state,” and it in turn may have replaced the fist with the hug, but an unwanted embrace from which you cannot escape is just a nicer form of tyranny.

If you’d like a real insight into Hillary’s worldview (beyond her pure money-grubbing avarice that makes Gordon Gekko look like a piker, of course), the later chapters of Liberal Fascism are real eye-openers, and I urge you to read them, if you haven’t yet.

….Unless of course, as a result of her myriad fundraising scandals, Hillary really is “Dead Candidate Walking,” as Michael Walsh believes today over at his PJM column.

Related: The Giver: A Chilling Cinematic Peek into Hillary Clinton’s Infamous Village.”

Breaking News from 2007

April 24th, 2015 - 12:04 pm

 

Failed presidential run followed by botched tenure as Secretary of State? Earning lots of wealth outside of the free market? Lots of botox? Speaking in Orwellian doublethink?

As Twitchy asks, rounding up response to the usual JuiceVox socialist sophistry, “Is Hillary Clinton cementing herself into the pantheon of rich liberal windsurfing hobbyists? If so, Vox declares it a good thing.” It looks like you’re going to need a much more limber, not to mention waterproof and gyroscopically balanced exoskeleton if Hillary will be hitting the high seas.

Another area though, where both archleftists are similar, is in their cold and aloof hauteur. In his column today, asking “Will the Clinton-Cash Scandal Doom Hillary’s White House Bid?”, Jonah Goldberg describes Hillary as a “Tudor of the Ozarks:”

Sure, the Clintons like money. That’s obvious. But the money is incidental to what’s really behind all of this: a mixture of entitlement and machine politics.

The Clintons are like the Tudors of the Ozarks. They believe they are royalty, but they also understand that even monarchs need friends. The Clinton Foundation is the perfect vehicle for their ambition. Like the medieval Catholic Church, it blurs the lines between ideals and interests. On the one hand, it does yeoman’s work in the Church of Liberal Dogoodery, but it also provides a conduit for business interests, foreign governments, academics, activists, and journalists to gain access to the imperial court-in-waiting.

Even if Hillary hadn’t conveniently wiped her servers clean, I suspect there wouldn’t be a lot of e-mails about quid-pro-quos. Such transactions aren’t made in the language of the bazaar, but in the lingua franca of loyalty, friendship, and noblesse oblige. Yes, Clinton Inc. needs money, but the money is likely seen more as tribute than bribery, a bit of coin offered up as a sign of loyalty to the coming Ozarkian Restoration — a restoration that may just have to wait for Chelsea.

There is one big difference though between Hillary and the British monarchy. “The House of Windsor is certainly more transparent” than the House of Clinton, Mark Steyn told Hugh Hewitt yesterday:

MS: Hugh, there is no ‘Clinton Foundation’… The only purpose of this foundation is to enable this family to lead the lifestyle of a head of state after it has ceased to be head of state. They spent $70 million dollars on travel at the Clinton Foundation. By comparison, the entire Royal Family, to fly between their various realms – the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, that’s a lot of air miles – the entire Royal Family in one year spent $7 million dollars. So in other words, the Clintons have ten times the airplane costs of the Royal Family, who are heads of state of dozens of bits of real estate around the world. The Clinton Foundation is a hollow shell foundation playing the usual shell game with U.S. taxation. There’s no need for a Clinton Foundation except for them to rake in money from Kazakhs and Ukrainians and Iranians and Saudis and everybody else…HH: Well, let me ask you. There are two questions. Which is more transparent – the Windsor or the Clinton family? And which is less tacky – the Windsors or the Clintons?

MS: Well, one can make arguments about the last point, but the House of Windsor is certainly, the House of Windsor is certainly more transparent. You can go to I think it’s Royalty.gov.uk, and the Lord Chamberlain who runs the Queen’s Household posts every itemized bit of travel. So if you were to ask the Queen, if you happened to be meeting the Queen and you happened to say why did Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Gloucester, spend $700 dollars getting from Calgary to Bermuda in 2009, she’ll give you a straight answer. Whereas if you ask a similar question to Hillary Rodham Clinton, she’ll say ‘Oh, well, these are just more distractions from the right-wing Koch-funded media, and I’m just here to talk to everyday Americans as long as they’ve undergone a background check and have been pre-screened so that it’s safe for me to pretend to interact with them…’

If Hillary acts like she has much to hide, it may be because she has much to hide. Mitt Romney, a very different Massachusetts Brahmin than Kerry, was succinct yesterday while speaking with Hugh:

“You know, I’ve got to tell you, I was stunned by it. I mean, it looks like bribery. I mean, there is every appearance that Hillary Clinton was bribed to grease the sale of, what, 20% of America’s uranium production to Russia, and then it was covered up by lying about a meeting at her home with the principals, and by erasing emails. And you know, I presume we might know for sure whether there was or was not bribery if she hadn’t wiped out thousands of emails. But this is a very, very serious series of facts, and it looks like bribery.”

Exit quote: “This time it wasn’t about logos or burritos, but rather uranium, foreign affairs and serious corruption. The New York Times published an exposé on ties between the Clintons and a sketchy deal which left Putin in control of a significant portion of America’s uranium; uranium it can now sell to Iran and other bad actors in the world.”

 

One of worst aspects of the legacy media in recent years has been their attempts at columns devoted to “fact-checking,” often awarding two, three or four pieces of Pinocchio clip art to whatever they determine is a “lie” spoken by a candidate or politician. And invariably, these columns are wildly partisan, first seen in the nuclear-level attacks on Sarah Palin when she pointed out ObamaCare’s potential for rationing via what she described vividly as “Death Panels.” DefCon 1! Burn the witch! Fire all the Pinocchio clip art at her! But as Mark Halperin, then of Time magazine, admitted during a video interview with Newsmax’s Steve Malzberg in November of 2013 during ObamaCare’s disastrous roll-out:

The Affordable Care Act contains provisions for “death panels,” which decide which critically-ill patients receive care and which won’t, according to Mark Halperin, senior political analyst for Time magazine.

“It’s built into the plan. It’s not like a guess or like a judgment. That’s going to be part of how costs are controlled,” Halperin told [Malzberg].

Yesterday, Hugh Hewitt had on young leftwing Washington Post “fact checker” Michelle Ye Hee, who, as Jim Treacher notes above, doesn’t grasp the difference between facts and opinions. And also doesn’t know much about the subject she’s “fact checking.”

As Hugh says in his transcript:

Almost every would-be GOP nominee has made an issue of America’s declining naval strength.  This morning The Washington Post’s Michelle Ye Hee Lee gave “three Pinocchios” to Lindesy Graham and Scott Walker for recalling Ronald Reagan’s 600 ship Navy and deploring our drop to 273 ships today.

Not only does Ms. Lee suggest untruthfulness about these absolutely factual assertions by Graham and Walker, she does so without finding even one expert who challenges their assertions about U.S. naval strength hitting dangerous lows.  She joined me to defend her conclusion, but I wasn’t persuaded and believe the Post should issue a correction for putting out as a “fact check” a thinly disguised and actually poorly informed opinion of one of its writers.  I appreciate that Ms. Lee would come on to defend her piece but this issue is too important to leave to the “fact checkers” who aren’t actually checking facts:

* * * * * * * * *

HH: Now why do you call it a zombie claim? Because every naval expert I’ve talked to believes we’re in a crisis when it comes to ship count and strategic ability to project force, every single one. And as I read your piece, I didn’t actually find anyone disagreeing with Lindsey Graham or Scott Walker.

MYHL: Well, the zombie claim is sort of a reader-friendly way to describe that this is something that had been talked about in the past, and that it had been challenged in the past as well. And you know, we sort of use it to say hey, you know, we’ve been there before, we’ll say it again. So that’s sort of a reader-friendly way to put it that way. You know, I don’t think it’s that people disagree necessarily with the claim that there needs to be more ships, or that the current fleet is not sufficient compared to what the combatant commanders say they need. But it’s, again, going back to the idea that you know, the needs of, the need and capability of ships evolve over time. So to compare the number of ships in 2015 versus the number of ships in 1915, ’16, ’17 or in the 1980s is just not an apples to apples comparison.

HH: Now I’m going to disagree with you. I want to be respectful here, but I was around in 1980, and when President Reagan campaigned for a 600 ship Navy, he was saying we need a much larger Navy to meet a strategic challenge. When you quote Lindsey Graham and Scott Walker today, and George Pataki said to me last hour, they’re saying we’ve given away strategic advantage. So I think it is apples to apples, and I’d go specifically to, for example, are you familiar with the Ohio Class submarine, Michelle.

MYHL: Um-hmm.

HH: And so do you know how many we had when Ronald Reagan took over?

MYHL: I don’t know the exact figure.

HH: Zero. Zip. He invented them. And so he deployed two dozen of them. Now, they’re all going to age out by 2025-2030.

* * * * * * * *

HH: But isn’t that, what my point is, that’s an editorial judgment. That’s a political opinion. You and I disagree. That’s not a fact, because I think we should use the 600 ship Navy, because that was Reagan’s way of saying strategic deficit, we have…the ocean hasn’t gotten smaller, Michelle. We need a lot of ship bottoms out there. Maybe we don’t need 600, but we need a whole lot more than we’ve got. We’ve got a strategic deficit. Now you might disagree with me on that. But when you do fact checking, my problem with this is, is you’re asserting that they lied when you use Pinocchio. And they didn’t lie. You just disagree, and perhaps they have a knowledge advantage over you, for example, as with regards to the Ohio Class submarines or aircraft carriers or ship bottoms. Is that not a legitimate point of view for me to have?

MYHL: Well, I don’t think this has anything to do with my personal point of view. That’s not where I’m coming at this from. You know, to a certain extent, when you give a Pinocchio rating, you’re going to disagree. You and I are going to disagree. Other people and I will probably disagree. But you try to assess it on a consistent level using the same standards that you have done before. And that’s all I did in this case.

HH: But…

MYHL: And you know, no worries. If Hillary repeats a lie that Obama used in the last campaign, we’ll be consistent with her as well.

HH: No, but that’s not, the point is if you were wrong four years ago, you’re still wrong today. And to assert Pinocchios is to assert they’re lying, isn’t it?

MYHL: That it’s not the truth.

HH: And it is. And what Walker and Graham said is the truth. So I just think you’re editorializing under the guise of fact checking, and it’s a strategic, this is very important stuff, right? Our naval strength is very important. Should the Post be editorializing as opposed to just putting it on the opinion page, which I wouldn’t mind if you wanted to disagree and say hey, we’re not that small. That would be fine. But I mean, to argue Pinocchios, you’re putting it in a different category, aren’t you?

MYHL: I don’t think so. You know, I don’t agree with that. I’m not here to editorialize. I’m not trying to opine. I am trying to do my job of putting these numbers into context, trying to shed extra information to put them into context, and that’s what I aimed to do.

HH: I appreciate you coming on, Michelle Ye Hee Lee. Come back again. I love talking to Dan Balz and Philip Rucker, but I, this is a swing and a miss. I’d have to give you four Pinocchios on this story, but that would be my opinion, not a fact. Michelle Ye Hee Lee, thank you.

Read the whole thing — it’s a vivid reminder of the declining level of MSM journalism, partisanship in the guise of “objectivity” (On her linked-in page, Lee describes one of her influences as Arianna Huffington), and that every GOP presidential candidate is running against both the Democrat candidates, and their operatives with bylines.

“Exclusive: Clinton charities will refile tax returns, audit for other errors,” says a Reuters headline today. Errors?

Hillary Clinton’s family’s charities are refiling at least five annual tax returns after a Reuters review found errors in how they reported donations from governments, and said they may audit other Clinton Foundation returns in case of other errors.

The foundation and its list of donors have been under intense scrutiny in recent weeks. Republican critics say the foundation makes Clinton, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, vulnerable to undue influence. Her campaign team calls these claims “absurd conspiracy theories.”

Damn those crazy right-wing conspiracy-obsessed nutjobs at the New York Times!

In a Fox News preview of “The Tangled Clinton Web,” a New York Times reporter accused the Clinton Foundation of lying to her about a meeting Bill Clinton had with Kazatomprom officials regarding the sale of uranium to Russia.

“Frank Giustra arranged for officials to go to Bill Clinton’s house in Chappaqua,” reporter Jo Becker said.

“When I first contacted the Clinton Foundation, they denied any such meeting ever took place. And when we told them we have already talked to the head, who not only told us all about the meeting but actually has a picture of him and Bill at the home, that he proudly displays on his office wall, they then acknowledge the meeting had taken place.”

Becker’s scathing report based off of allegations in the book Clinton Cash found that the Clinton Foundation received millions of dollars in return for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton approving the transaction of American uranium into Russian hands.

And now back to the Reuters article, already in progress:

For three years in a row beginning in 2010, the Clinton Foundation reported to the IRS that it received zero in funds from foreign and U.S. governments, a dramatic fall-off* from the tens of millions of dollars in foreign government contributions reported in preceding years.

Those entries were errors, according to the foundation: several foreign governments continued to give tens of millions of dollars toward the foundation’s work on climate change and economic development through this three-year period. Those governments were identified on the foundation’s annually updated donor list, along with broad indications of how much each had cumulatively given since they began donating.

And of course, Politico’s Glenn Thrush is eager to provide the dopey pro-Hillary spin:

Badass! Meanwhile, at the New York Post, John Podhoretz spots the return of a golden oldie from the 1990s. Right on cue, “The ‘vast right-wing conspiracy’ is back,” courtesy of Team Hillary:

That was the phrase Hillary Clinton herself used to describe the villainous puppet masters behind the Monica Lewinsky scandal back in 1998. And now, her camp has decided to reanimate this ludicrous bogeyman from the days when pets.com was the talk of Wall Street to combat new allegations of Clintonian malfeasance — allegations the substance of which she and we don’t even yet know.

The material dug up by the conservative writer Peter Schweizer for his new book, “Clinton Cash,” is credible enough to have led several news organizations not normally friendly to the right (The New York Times and The Washington Post) to strike deals with Schweizer and his publisher to share and independently substantiate some of its charges.

This a novel arrangement — and the imprimatur of news organizations that liberals like — has clearly frightened the Clintonians in a way past negative books did not.

Naturally, ’90s-era archliberal Vermont governor turned would 2004 presidential candidate Howard Dean was happy to play along with the meme on MSNBC, but received pushback from a curious source:

Even Mika Brzezinski appeared unconvinced by Dean’s line of argumentation when he refused to say that the optics of this scandal should have led Bill Clinton to cancel a speech in Moscow for which he was compensated to the tune of half a million dollars. The old slur centering on the notion that a vast conspiracy was afoot to discredit the Clintons no longer has legs. Perhaps that is because the Clintons have done so much in the intervening decades to demonstrate that they don’t need help from a shadowy cabal in order to disgrace themselves. Whatever the reason, the press seems disinclined to help Hillary Clinton cast herself as a victim as more and more allegations involving her improper conduct as secretary of state dominate the headlines.

Exit quote:

And it’s a test of how badly the MSM want to continue posing as Hillary’s palace guard, as well.

* A dramatic fall-off? Um, try again Reuters:

Past performance is no guarantee of future results:

“Reducing Your Carbon Footprint.”

—Headline, New York Times, February 15, 2013.

“Air-Conditioning Is an Environmental Quandary.”

—Headline, New York Times, August 18, 2012.

“The Year Without Toilet Paper.”

—Headline, New York Times, March 22, 2007

●  “The Biggest Carbon Sin: Air Travel.”

—Headline, New York Times, January 26, 2013.

“An Ecological Kristallnacht. Listen.”

—Headline, New York Times, March 19, 1989.

Flash-forward to today, the day after “Earth Day,” that most serious of faux-holidays for the committed eco-pagan, in which the New York Times cheerfully explains what went  into “the Making of Our Walking New York Cover” for the New York Times Sunday magazine:

Aliyev’s picture was then printed on 62 strips of paper. On April 11, JR and his 20-person crew took these strips to Flatiron plaza and began affixing them to the ground at 4 a.m. The pasting took about three and a half hours and resulted in a 150-foot-tall image of Aliyev striding eastward. The sun came up. Pedestrians began to wander over Aliyev. Just as JR had predicted, they often walked right over him without even noticing.

To make out the image, you had to be high above. In the middle of the day, when the angles of shadow were favorable, JR went up in a helicopter and photographed the pasting, with all the cheerful and untidy street life of an early spring day in New York City happening on and around it.

You allowed a photographer to waste all that paper, and paid for him to hire a helicopter to photograph it for an result that looks like something any teenager with rudimentary Photoshop chops could have layered onto a stock overhead shot of the Flatiron building, just to sell a few extra newspapers? (Which itself consume plenty of dead trees.) And you bragged about it the day after “Earth Day,” after spending the last quarter century hectoring your readers that the world was about to come to an end unless the entire globe  returned lockstep to a pre-industrial revolution agrarian lifestyle? Nice violation of Alinsky’s Rule Four, fellas.

As the Professor likes to say, I’ll believe global warming is a crisis “when the people who keep telling me it’s a crisis start acting like it’s a crisis” themselves, and…

…”I don’t want to hear another goddamn word about my carbon footprint,” especially from the Times, which just invalidated any environmental hectoring it might have ran yesterday.

Earlier: “Two Time-Warners in One” — with a special zero gravity appearance from Kate Upton!

As Always, Life Imitates the Onion

April 23rd, 2015 - 10:26 am

“Alzheimer’s Disease Causing Baby Boomers To Misremember 1960s Even More.”

—Headline, the Onion, February 4th, 2010.

“Marijuana users may have ‘false memories’: Brain scans reveal how cannabis smokers can live in their own reality.”

—Headline, the London Daily Mail today.

As for the latter story, Barack Obama could not be reached for comment.

obama_smoking_joint_3-16-12

“There is something to be said for the warm cocoon of academia, and its ability to draw out the true thoughts of radicals,” Jorge Bonilla writes at NewsBusters. “Univision News President and Fusion CEO Isaac Lee’s recent presentation at the University of Texas at Austin was certainly no exception:”

Lee’s eye-popping remarks should serve as a timely reality check for conservatives looking at how to factor in Univision as part of their Hispanic outreach/inclusion strategies. During a Q&A with NYU professor Jay Rosen, Lee was asked about Univision’s “theory of trust” as related to the network’s impartiality and news coverage. Here is the crux of the Univision News President’s answer in all its glory.

“I think if you are an American journalist covering the Second World War, it’s not a problem for you to want the Nazis to lose. And I don’t think you need to be saying ‘Well, you know, the Allied Expeditionary Force Commander says this, and on the other hand the Fuhrer says that.’ I think it’s ok to understand that sometimes you have to be on the right side of the issues in history,” said Lee.

Strangely enough, I find that Lee’s reductio ad Hitlerum of those who are ideologically opposed to Univision’s agenda is both horrifying and refreshingly honest. Conservatives should know exactly where they stand in terms of what coverage to expect on the issues — immigration and beyond — and should conduct themselves accordingly.

Click over to see the video of Lee’s paranoid style* in all its glory, and his non-sequitur of a reply — you can deem yourself as being “on the right side of history” — no matter how big a cliche that phrase is — and still report to the best of your ability both sides of a story, as most American news agencies did during WWII. But sadly, Lee’s far from the only prominent socialist at a national TV network who paradoxically views his opponents as National Socialists. In 1964, Walter Cronkite and Daniel Schorr infamously smeared Barry Goldwater, descended from Russian-Jewish immigrants, as a crypto-Nazi,  a disgusting slur magnified by the power of midcentury mass media, a period when CBS represented well over a third of TV news coverage, given ABC’s comparatively anemic ratings at the time. In 1996, Ted Turner, likely terrified of the potential ratings success of Fox News (and justifiably so in retrospect), described the network to the L.A. Times by saying that “The late Führer, the first thing he did, like all dictators, was take over the press and use it to further his agenda. Basically, that is what Rupert Murdoch does with his media.”

More recently, the host of the CBS Evening News, picking up where Uncle Walter left off, when asked why he didn’t feature both sides of the global warming debate in his presentation responded,  “If I do an interview with [Holocaust survivor] Elie Wiesel, am I required as a journalist to find a Holocaust denier?” (Wow, what a terrible thing to imply about Barack Obama!)

And just today, MSNBC* ran the photo on the right-hand side of this tweet to smear Scott Walker:

You stay classy, old media.

* And don’t get Jay Rosen started on news media figures he disagrees with, of course.

** And speaking of MSNBC

…By continuing to reduce the noxious emissions of state government:

No seriously — if you’re going to make the environmentalist catch-22 argument as Democrats John Kerry and Claire McCaskill have, that a shrinking economy is good for the environment because of less carbon emissions, then you have to agree that the same holds true for shrinking the government as well. Radical environmentalism isn’t my religion, but the Book of Saul demands that its practitioners stay faithful to their own tenets.

“Contra Mother Jones, though: I don’t think that Scott Walker deliberately set out to lay off those folks on Earth Day itself,” Moe Lane posits.

“Instead, I simply think that Scott Walker doesn’t give a flying leap about Earth Day one way, or the other. Which is, frankly, more entertaining.” As Jonthan Chait’s bete noire would say, heh, indeed.™

Certainly, Walker’s doing more for the environment than this plutocratic carbon-destroying One Percenter.

Shot:


Chaser:


That level of carbon waste is so bad, Hollywood director Joss Whedon is pondering if he would withhold penicillin from the president should, Gaia forbid, he become ill. Particularly since Mr. Obama has been jetting away on “Earth Day” since the very start of his administration:
.

.
Update: I don’t think I need to remind most regular Ed Driscoll.com readers of this factoid, but for those newly tuning in:

 

Gavin McInnes: All You Eds Look Alike to Me

April 22nd, 2015 - 12:18 pm
gavin_mcinnes_driscoll_morrissey_schultz_whatever_4-22-15-1

Click screencap to watch.

Ed Morrissey, Ed Schultz, Ed Driscoll — I guess all of us Eds look alike to Gavin McInnes of The Rebel.media, the founder of Vice.com, and a frequent guest at Fox’s Red Eye (and who sports an amazing hipster beard, unlike us Eds*), who makes an amusing gaffe about 30 seconds into his latest video, as screencapped above.

Don’t sweat it, Gavin — it happens a lot. I always like to tell people that while I’ve actually been blogging longer than Ed Morrissey**, I’m still a civilian, unlike Capt. Ed of Hot Air.com.

As for Ed Schultz — well, we Eds don’t like to talk about what happened to that side of our family…

* Maybe I should regrow my old beard, as seen in this 1998 photo, taken with the mighty Les Paul? It can definitely reach or exceed hipster proportions.

** Readers can confuse both Blogospheric Eds in person at Bullets and Bourbon in December.

Glenn Reynolds has a new video produced by PJTV at the recent NRA convention; at Power Line, Scott Johnson links to it and writes:

In the video [above], Glenn Reynolds files a video commentary from the NRA convention earlier this month in Nashville. Although it’s only two minutes long, Glenn’s report mixes personal observation with reference to his own contributions to the scholarship of the Second Amendment. Glenn alludes to his work in the field going back some 20 years, to his Tennessee Law Review article “A critical guide to the Second Amendment.”

Although Glenn doesn’t claim any credit, his scholarship has something to do with the happiness he observed at the NRA convention. He draws on his scholarly expertise as he notes: “They’re winning. It hasn’t always been that way.”

There are many more battles to be fought — freedom isn’t free, to coin a phrase. And if you want to simultaneously hear what’s next, and celebrate the success so far, we’d love to see you in December at our Bullets & Bourbon event at Rough Creek Lodge, about an hour and a half southwest from the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, which my wife and I are organizing. The event takes place December 3-5, 2015, and will feature the aforementioned Glenn Reynolds along with:

  • Maximum Pajamahadeen Emeritus Roger L. Simon
  • Stephen Green, your friendly neighborhood Vodkapundit
  • Ed Morrissey of Hot Air
  • Dana Loesch of Glenn Beck’s The Blaze
  • Kevin Williamson of National Review
  • Strength training guru Mark Rippetoe
  • With special guest appearance by Dr. Helen Smith

bullets_bourbon_button_twitter_2-4-15-1Rough Creek Lodge is a luxurious corporate retreat with excellent hunting and shooting facilities.  This is a very small event, so in addition to hearing lectures by our world class speakers, attendees will have ample opportunity to share their views and spend time with the speakers.  Gourmet meals will be shared by attendees and speakers, and Rough Creek has an amazing array of shooting and non-shooting activities.  The event will also feature a bourbon tasting with some special bourbons that are not readily available outside of Texas. More information and registration material is available on our website www.bullets-and-bourbon.com, and follow us on Twitter here.

Here’s my video look at Rough Creek Lodge from 2007; the location’s swank amenities have expanded considerably in the years since:

Donna Brazile, attempting to praise Hillary, commits a Kinsley-esque gaffe that inadvertently winds up describing two centuries of artistic “progress” instead:

It’s low-key and voter-focused — solid, but not exciting. And according to Democrats close to Clinton and her team, that was more or less the point for phase one. Excitement can wait, they said in interviews last week, so long as she proves — as her campaign aides have repeated again and again — that this time, she is taking “nothing for granted.”

“There’s a rhythm. She’s starting off like Beethoven, with melodies and chords that people understand. But she’s got to end up like Beyoncé,” said Donna Brazile, the Democratic strategist who worked on both of Bill Clinton’s presidential campaigns.

As Andrew Stiles asks at the Washington Free Beacon, “What does this even mean?”

Beethoven is the boring simpleton that everyone can relate to, and Beyoncé’s expertly packaged quadruple-bylined pop hits are the sophisticated catalog of musical elites? And that’s a good thing? Who knows? A much better analogy for Hillary’s efforts to interact with everyday Americans and prove she’s one of them would be Beethoven performing in front of a stadium full of Beyoncé fans, or perhaps Hillary herself trying to learn to choreography to “Crazy in Love.”

Beyond the backwards “progress” of commercial music from Beethoven to Beyoncé, there’s the candidate herself. In 2007 and 2008, Obama was comparatively young, fresh, new, and undefined, a self-described “blank screen,” an “exotic who says nothing” as one Democrat operative with a byline wrote to bolster the kickoff of his presidential run. The rock star comparisons could work and helped to explain away his domestic political inexperience, and as we now know, his unpreparedness to be a world leader. In sharp contrast, comparing Hillary to an energetic 33-year old musician-dancer is, well, quite a stretch, unless top scientists can make remarkable progress with titanium exoskeleton systems in the next six months.

But in any case, is the typical rock star, having guzzled a half-gallon of scotch or cognac and a multitude of white powdery substances really who you want in charge of the federal government, let alone answering the phone at 3:00 in the morning?  (And we all know how well Hillary actually did during that moment.)

Donald Trump is berrrry berrrry angry with Jonah Goldberg for some reason. Perhaps violating Garry Trudeau’s self-imposed rule for criticism, Jonah is punching down — far down — when he writes back:

Still, that was four years ago and my most recent comment about Trump was four months ago. A bit tongue-in-cheek, I called him the “bane of humanity” and chastised the media, including some of my colleagues at Fox News, for taking him so seriously.

I guess Trump’s Olympian self-regard can lead him to never forget a slight, harbor grudges against critics for a very long time, and drive him to engage in childish name-calling late into the night, which are obviously some of the attributes we all look for in a presidential candidate. A huge ego and a penchant for spite is totally the kind of guy we should entrust the nuclear football to.

Still, I take this all very seriously. First of all, I love National Review. And while it seems like Mr. Trump is under the impression that I am somehow running the magazine, maybe he knows something I don’t. After all, any man who could bankrupt a casino knows more about bankruptcy than I could ever learn.

Trump also knows more about self-promotion than almost anybody alive, Lady Gaga included. So he must have some kind of plan here. And if his goal is to get people talking about him — and that’s always one of his goals — it’s already succeeded. But the overwhelming reaction on Twitter has been very negative (thanks for the support folks). And if the real aim is a run for the GOP nomination, I’m not sure I understand why he wants to arouse the animosity of not just me and Steve, but Michelle Malkin, George Will, and Bret Baier (while praising MSNBC’s Ed Schultz):

* * * * * *

Again, if Trump is a tenth as brilliant as he says he is, there’s a really clever scheme hiding amidst all of this juvenile whining, like a shiny pony obscured by piles of manure. The thing is, I’m too dumb to see it. All I see is a guy who’s been preening for attention with bogus talk about running for president for years who’s deeply offended that nobody believes him or cares anymore.

If you followed politics in the 1980s and early 1990s, you invariably saw third or fourth (or fifth) down on the quadrennial presidential ballot, the name “Harold Stassen,” whom Wikipedia describes thusly:

Harold Edward Stassen (April 13, 1907 – March 4, 2001) was the 25th Governor of Minnesota from 1939 to 1943. After service in World War II, he was president of the University of Pennsylvania from 1948 to 1953. In popular culture, his name has become most identified with his fame as a perennial candidate for other offices, most notably and frequently President of the United States.

* * * * * *

Stassen was later best known for being a perennial candidate for the Republican Party nomination for President of the United States, seeking it 10 times between 1940 and 2000 (1940, 1944, 1948, 1952, 1964, 1968, 1980, 1984, 1988, and 1992). He never won the Republican nomination, much less the presidency; in fact, after 1952, he never even came close, but continued to campaign actively and seriously for President until just a year before his death.

And in later years, Stassen’s thinning hair was covered by an increasingly hirsute otter renting space atop his cranium, which made the products produced by Morrie’s Wig Shop in Goodfellas look subtle and realistic. Coincidence?

“There’s a new movie called Ex Machina whose message can be summed up as ‘don’t fall in love with a robot,’” John Podhoretz writes in the Weekly Standard:

Nobody actually calls Ava, the titular machina of Ex Machina, a robot. That would not be cool, and the film’s writer-director Alex Garland wants Ex Machina to be cool, above all things. All but the opening two minutes and the final 30 seconds are set in a spectacular underground mansion that’s part Bond-villain lair, part Apple Store. (It was filmed at a resort in Norway that you’ve probably already toured from your couch during a World’s Hottest Hotels special on the Travel Channel.) She is the construct of a billionaire who is half Zuckerberg and half Jobs, an oddly sybaritic recluse played by the wonderful Oscar Isaac. He refers to Ava solely as an “A.I.,” because those two letters are cooler than Capek’s original five letters, and these days you can buy a robot with free shipping from Amazon Prime that looks like the 1970s memory game Simon and will attempt and fail to vacuum your floors. Who would want to spoon with a Roomba anyway?

But you can’t fool me. This A.I. may have a glowing translucent brain, but she’s also got titanium arms, things whirr and click when she moves, and she’s drop-dead gorgeous, so of course she’s a robot. She is played by the Swedish actress Alicia Vikander, who will be in five other major movies this year, which is not surprising, because she speaks English beautifully and as a visual object she’s practically perfect in every way.

And this brings up the other thing. Let’s face it, the whole female-robot scenario is a deeply disturbing one, since it’s basically a creepy wish fulfillment about a woman with no personality who will do everything and anything a man tells her to.

Didn’t we all see this movie 30 years ago?

“As George Orwell put it, ‘Every joke is a tiny revolution.’ Free speech isn’t about having the right to criticize comfortably. It’s about confronting the unconfrontable,” Gavin McInnes writes at the Federalist:

The whole thing displays a jaw-dropping lack of self-awareness that can only come from growing up in a bubble of self-congratulation. Overindulged cowards such as Trudeau have cloaked their fear of the unwashed masses in some kind of holier-than-thou blanket of superiority, yet both are equally disgusting. It’s vile to refuse to mock one particular group because you’re scared of them, and it’s even worse to pretend you’re doing it because you’re better than them. That’s the very definition of a white supremacist.

* * * * * * *

Charlie Hebdo didn’t target Muslims, as the liberal media so often declares. It simply included them. USA Today points out, of the 38 covers Charlie Hebdo published mocking religion, the vast majority (21) attacked Christianity while only seven ridiculed Islam.

So, why can’t we make fun of them, again—because they’re “a powerless, disenfranchised minority” as Gary puts it? Last time I checked, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates were doing pretty well. They’re not disenfranchised, either. Islam is too big to be classified that way. The only one thing you can say about a religion that includes 1.57 billion people is it is remarkably intolerant (and disproportionately inbred). Trudeau singles out the extremists as some kind of exception, but, as Ben Shapiro pointed out, this is a myth and the real percentage of extremist thought goes well into the majority.

Entirely unrelated news: “Revealed: The Alabama student who tricked her parents and fled to Syria to become an ISIS bride. Now she’s radicalizing other Americans into carrying out attacks on U.S. soil.”

(Via Kathy Shaidle, who dubs the effete cartoonist, “Garry Trudeau, white supremacist.”)

Shot:

 

 

 

 


Chaser:

Notices went out that classes would resume on 24 Dhu al-Hijjah 1435 in the Islamic calendar (or October 18, 2014, in the Western calendar), about four months after ISIS overran the city.

But some subjects would be banned — democracy and political thought, also hotel management and tourism and archaeology.

“The banning of archaeology is not a surprise,” says Al-Tamimi, who is a Shillman-Ginsburg Fellow at the Middle East Forum at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, in Israel. “We see that reflected in ISIS destruction of ancient artifacts. ISIS regards pre-Islamic artifacts as relics from the ‘period of ignorance’, jahiliyah. Their main concern with archaeology is that it would become a subject turning to idol worship, which is strictly forbidden in Islam…

Mosul University still has the same professors and teachers, Al-Tamimi says. “But now teachers are subjected to Sharia sessions, to learn what is and what is not acceptable to ISIS. So, they have preserved the prior system but within ISIS Sharia law conditions.”

“ISIS bans archaeology,” CNN, today. Link safe, goes to Hot Air.

In other news from a rapidly reprimitivizing American academia, make sure you’ve taken any necessary high blood pressure medication before reading this, or clicking through to see the photos.

Earlier: No Black Armband Left Behind.

monopoly_hillary_4-20-15-1

“Hillary Clinton admitted today that she was ‘surprised’ to learn that the people who told her small businesses have struggled in recent years were actually correct,” Joel Gehrke writes at NRO:

Clinton noted that small business creation has “stalled out,” to her chagrin. “I was very surprised to see that when I began to dig into it,” she said while campaigning in New Hampshire. “Because people were telling me this as I traveled around the country the last two years, but I didn’t know what they were saying and it turns out that we are not producing as many small businesses as we use to.”

The struggles of small businesses during President Obama’s administration are hardly a new subject on the campaign trail. Mitt Romney raised the issue throughout the 2012 presidential election.

“Small businesses lack the confidence they need to expand and hire new workers, and the President’s looming tax hikes are threatening to destroy another 700,000 jobs,” Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said in September of 2012, for instance.

In a statement, Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus mocked Clinton for expressing such surprise, pointing to reports of the cost increases Obamacare has imposed on small businesses.

”At every turn, Hillary Clinton has supported top-down Washington-driven policies that have stacked the deck against small businesses,” Priebus said. “Hillary Clinton can’t possibly be a champion for everyday Americans when she doesn’t understand their most basic economic concerns and was ‘surprised’ to learn that small businesses are struggling.”

Not that Hillary actually cares; last year she blurted out this pathetic Elizabeth Warren meets Obama “You didn’t build that” imitation:

“Don’t let anyone tell that, ah, you know, it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs,” Hillary Clinton proclaimed to loud applause at a political rally in Boston on October 24.

“You know that old theory — trickle-down economics,” she continued. “That has been tried. That has failed. It has failed rather spectacularly.”

I agree; trickling-down money from DC to failed corporatist ventures like Solyndra has been a disaster, but her previous boss wanted to “spread the wealth around,” to coin a phrase. Another “risky tax scheme,” as Al Gore would say, inasmuch as taxpayers were on the hook when it went bust, was forcing banks to trickle-down mortgages to credit risks who should have never owned homes in the first place; that was her largely her husband’s idea, a ticking fiscal time-bomb that blew up spectacularly in the fall of 2008:

Exit quote, from the late Tony Snow in 1999:

When told [in 1994, that Hillarycare, the prototype for Obamacare] could bankrupt small businesses, Mrs. Clinton sighed, “I can’t be responsible for every undercapitalized small business in America.” When a woman complained that she didn’t want to get shoved into a plan not of her choosing, the first lady lectured, “It’s time to put the common good, the national interest, ahead of individuals.”

Hey, that last sentence sounds even better in the original German: “Gemeinnutz geht vor Eigennutz.”