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Ed Driscoll

The Future and its Enemies

Well, of course. But it’s always nice to have confirmation:

“The longer individuals were exposed to socialism, the more likely they were to cheat on our task,” according to a new study, “The (True) Legacy of Two Really Existing Economic Systems,” from Duke University and the University of Munich. The team of researchers concluded this after working with 259 participants from Berlin who grew up on opposite sides of the infamous wall.

When playing a dice game that could earn them €6 ($8), subjects originally from the East, which was for four decades under socialist rule, were more likely than their market economy counterparts in West to lie about how they fared. The Economist explains the task:

The game was simple enough. Each participant was asked to throw a die 40 times and record each roll on a piece of paper. A higher overall tally earned a bigger payoff. Before each roll, players had to commit themselves to write down the number that was on either the top or the bottom side of the die. However, they did not have to tell anyone which side they had chosen, which made it easy to cheat by rolling the die first and then pretending that they had selected the side with the highest number. If they picked the top and then rolled a two, for example, they would have an incentive to claim—falsely—that they had chosen the bottom, which would be a five.

The results were that “East Germans cheated twice as much as West Germans overall,” leaving the researchers to conclude the “the political regime of socialism has a lasting impact on citizens’ basic morality.”

And then there’s the game that asks: who goes national socialist? 

Popular during the predecessor regime to the former East and West Germany and increasingly en vogue today.

Update: QED.

“It’s a genuine pleasure to watch Trey Gowdy work,” Jim Treacher writes. “Why should he bother to hide his contempt for someone who holds such obvious contempt for the truth, and for United States taxpayers?”

Meanwhile,  Democrat Rep. Elijah Cummings — who doesn’t know the names of the Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee –  “calls for end to ‘public harassment’ of IRS chief John Koskinen,” Glenn Reynolds notes, adding that “Naming and shaming is all we’ve got, when the machinery of government has been totally politicized.”

It’s Deja Socialism All Over Again

July 21st, 2014 - 7:26 pm

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

“Elizabeth Warren Would Be the Most Liberal Democratic Nominee Since 1972.”

– Headline, FiveThirtyEight, today.

“Study: Obama most liberal senator last year — A new study suggests Obama had the most liberal voting record in 2007.”

– Headline and lede at CNN, January 31st, 2008.

In both cases, the headline writers spelled Leftist wrong — and in both cases, the far left senators had nightmarish theme songs to kick off what seemed at the time like longshot presidential bids. And in both cases — well, if I was Hillary’s campaign advisor, I’d be more than a little worried right now.

Minor language and sanity warnings apply:

The Bear Is Loose

July 21st, 2014 - 2:51 pm

Former President Barack Obama’s* penchant for fundraising during world crises is explored by Matthew Continetti at the Washington Free Beacon:

“The bear is loose!” President Obama has been saying, whenever he leaves the White House to visit Starbucks, or sandwich shops, or burger joints, or BBQ shacks, or neighborhood diners, in his increasingly rote and pathetic attempts to “connect” with “real people.” Obama, we have been told, is frustrated, “restless,” bored with the responsibilities and chores of office. He thinks of himself as the bear—intimidating, wild, untamed, roving—escaping his den. But he is flattering himself. Obama is not the bear. He is the cub: aimless, naïve, self-interested, self-indulgent, irresponsible, irresolute. The bear is in Moscow.

As Steve Green writes, “That might be the single most devastatingly accurate paragraph I’ve ever read about Professor Ditherton Wiggleroom, but you’ll want to read the whole thing.” An earlier president knew who the bear was, and take him seriously — and was ultimately rewarded for his efforts:

*Hey, if Obama has decided to check himself out of the day to day process of what was once called “running of the federal government,” he should be titled accordingly…

The Sleeping Policeman

July 21st, 2014 - 12:28 pm

Greg Gutfeld writes that when America had executive leadership, we used to understand “that small matters when confronted, as a group, can prevent bigger matters. Now we see everything as ‘not our business,’ without taking the next step and asking, ‘Then whose business is it?’

So what should be done here about that field of horror in Ukraine? What should the leader of the free world do?

That field is no longer a war zone. It is an international crime scene, and we must lead the way, immediately, to secure it. And save the evidence, and seek justice. If Putin sees this as troubling, then it is up to him to make the “hard choices,” lend a hand—or back off and vote “present.”

Here’s a plan: 12 nations had victims on that plane. Those nations must be assembled together into a force of investigators, by the United States, who are pretty good at this kind of thing. That crew must go to the site, asap.

Of course, we must demand a cease fire, and all “bystanders” currently in control (or rather, standing in the way), must go. It’s not up to Russia; it’s up to the Dutch, the Malaysians, the US, Australia, etc. The sooner we stop the movement of wreckage, evidence and bodies, the better. We must comb the area and track down all witnesses, if they haven’t already been terrified into silence.

We need those black boxes and must fly their manufacturers in to determine whether they’ve been tampered with (once we retrieve them). If the boxes are gone, then an investigation must determine where they went. And if they’re in Moscow, those boxes must come back—or become the costliest of Putin’s possessions. According to the latest reports, the rebels claim they’ll be handing these boxes over, but it would be foolish at this point to believe it.

Oh please, let’s see the Obama administration forcefully demand the black box from the plane be recovered in a condition where the data can be retrieved. In the areas of record keeping and data recovery, the Obama administration is absolutely unimpeachable….

As for America being a sleeping policeman, hey, its attorney general is forever vigilant when it comes to “homegrown violent extremists” — whom he defines as anybody who disagrees in the slightest with whatever the Obama administration’s worldview is on any given day.

The O By Numbers

July 21st, 2014 - 10:55 am

As Twitchy notes, “Obama by the numbers puts things in devastating perspective.” They link to the Washington Post’s “The Fix” blog which notes:

According to author Brendan J. Doherty, from 2008 to 2012 Obama went to 321 events, compared to just 80 for Ronald Reagan.  And, as the chart below shows, he’s done 72 events in his second term – 34 this year alone. So far, he’s ahead of  the pace of George W. Bush, who had been to 30 events at this point in 2006. In his two presidential terms combined, Bush hosted 318 fundraisers. Obama has already smashed that number with 393 events to date.

Talk about the law of diminishing returns — and expectations.

Audio Interview: Ed Klein on Blood Feud

July 20th, 2014 - 11:26 pm

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Much to the chagrin of the Washington Post, Ed Klein’s Blood Feud is outselling Hillary Clinton’s new memoirs.  Naturally, Klein is elated. “It is a terrific thrill to knock Hillary off the top of the [best-seller] list, I have to tell you. She helped me a lot, because she put out a committee-written book that has absolutely nothing new in it.”

In contrast, Klein’s Blood Feud is loaded with juicy details, and dramatic scenes of five of the most powerful people on the planet scheming against each other.

Five? In addition to his portraits of the Clintons and the Obamas, Klein’s Blood Feud sheds new light on one of the most mysterious members of Barack and Michelle’s inner circle, Valerie Jarrett. As Klein describes Jarrett, she’s the distaff equivalent of Tom Hagen, the dangerous consigliere pulling the strings behind the scenes of The Godfather.

During our 18-minute long interview, Klein will discuss:

● What roles did Jarrett and Hillary play in the Benghazi debacle starting on September 11, 2012?

● What was the key promise that the Obamas made to Bill and Hillary, that the president would later renege on?

● Obama’s political skills versus his performance on the job he’s landed with them.

● How will Hillary perform on the campaign trail in 2015 and 2016 and, if she wins, as president?

● What are the health issues plaguing Bill and Hillary, and how serious a threat are they?

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(18 minutes, 50 seconds long; 17.2 MB file size. Want to download instead of streaming? Right click here to download this interview to your hard drive. Or right click here to download the 5.38 MB lo-fi edition.)

If the above Flash audio player is not be compatible with your browser, click on the video player below, or click here to be taken directly to YouTube, for an audio-only YouTube clip. Between one of those versions, you should find a format that plays on your system.

Transcript of our interview begins on the following page; for our many previous podcasts, start here and keep scrolling.

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“Liberals are increasingly religious about their own liberalism, treating it like a comprehensive view of reality and the human good,” Damon Linker writes at The Week:

From the dawn of the modern age, religious thinkers have warned that, strictly speaking, secular politics is impossible — that without the transcendent foundation of Judeo-Christian monotheism to limit the political sphere, ostensibly secular citizens would begin to invest political ideas and ideologies with transcendent, theological meaning.

Put somewhat differently: Human beings will be religious one way or another. Either they will be religious about religious things, or they will be religious about political things.

With traditional faith in rapid retreat over the past decade, liberals have begun to grow increasingly religious about their own liberalism, which they are treating as a comprehensive view of reality and the human good.

But liberalism’s leading theoreticians (Locke, Montesquieu, Jefferson, Madison, Tocqueville, Mill) never intended it to serve as a comprehensive view of reality and the human good. On the contrary, liberalism was supposed to act as a narrowly political strategy for living peacefully in a world of inexorably clashing comprehensive views of reality and the human good.

The key to the strategy was the promulgation of the pluralistic principle of toleration.

Which is why the proper response to the distinctive dogmatism of our time is to urge liberals to return to their tolerant roots. That’s what I’ve been trying to do in my own writing, and my efforts will continue until more liberals come to their senses and begin recalling their comrades to a robust defense of their own pluralistic principles.

Two comments: First, this is all old news to anyone who read Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism six year ago. And second, a return to liberalism’s “tolerant roots?” Good luck with that, champ.

(Photo at top of page of the Joe Louis fist memorial in Detroit, placed there in 1986, during the disastrous and racist 20 year reign of Democrat Mayor Coleman Young. Photo by James Marvin Phelps, Shutterstock.com.)

‘Schrödinger’s Crime’

July 20th, 2014 - 3:04 pm

“FedEx Indicted For Failing To Look Into Its Packages To See If Any Online Pharmacies Were Sending Drugs,” TechDirt reports:

Back in March of last year, we were somewhat disturbed by UPS agreeing to forfeit $40 million to the US government for shipping drugs from “illegal internet pharmacies.” Not that such drugs or pharmacies should be legal (that’s a whole different discussion), but it’s insane to pin the blame for the shipments on the shipping company, whose sole job is to get packages from point A to point B. In fact, we don’t want shipping companies to be liable for what’s in packages, because then they have not just the incentive, but the mandate to snoop through all our packages.

Apparently, FedEx was unwilling to fall on its sword and cough up a similar amount to the US government, so the DEA and DOJ have announced they’ve gotten a grand jury to indict the company for delivering drugs associated with internet pharmacies. You can read the full indictment, which tries to spin a variety of stories into evidence that somehow FedEx “knew” what was in those packages.

As several of Instapundit’s commenters note, FedEx is but the latest non-union company to be shaken down by the Obama administration. “Unexpectedly.”

(Headline via Twitter user “The Hired Mind.”)

Jim Geraghty on our asleep-at-the-wheel administration:

Russian president Vladimir Putin didn’t order the separatists to shoot down the airliner. But his intelligence agencies and military have provided all kinds of support to these separatists. To borrow P.J. O’Rourke’s metaphor, Putin gave whiskey and car keys – and powerful explosives – to teenage boys. The disastrous consequences were not hard to foresee. You can see it in the absurd, nonsensical, instant justification by one of the speakers that if the plane is labeled, ‘Malaysia Airlines,’ it must be a disguise for a spy plane. Putin didn’t commit murder; just reckless endangerment.

There will be a lot of debates and discussions about what the United States can or should do in response to this reckless, deadly decision. But let’s begin by asking, if we had the opportunity to reach out and strike 23 Russian separatists involved in the decision to launch this missile, would we do it? I’d like to think so. Fighting a war is not inherently evil, nor is stupidity, but the combination of the two is a fertile ground for evil. These guys need to be taught a lesson, and it’s not clear who can teach them.

Commercial airliners fly – usually quite highly – over dangerous or not-so-friendly parts of the world all the time. Right now commercial jets are avoiding Eastern Ukraine. Should they avoid Syria, too? Iran? Iraq? Afghanistan? If so, you’ve just cut off India and a big chunk of Asia from Europe.

These guys need to pay – and Putin needs to see consequences of his reckless support of these dumb, brutal goons.

Moe Lane: “I never thought that I’d see the day that the US government would just shrug off a no-fooling war crime committed against our citizens.”

Well, we know that the State Department has far more important things to do — such as tweeting out fashion tips.

And the president has far more important things to do — such as expressing his love of guacamole.

Perhaps they’re simply waiting for one of the FLOTUS’ talking shopping carts to provide instructions, HAL 9000-style.

Fortunately though, Mr. Obama’s would-be successor is pouncing at the opportunity to set a much more focused example of what she would do if in office. Nahh, just kidding:

No, Obama’s caution is another example of the president refusing to address crises in a timely fashion due to what he probably believes is an attachment to the doctrinal fantasy that the United States is overextended in the world. Hillary Clinton confirmed that when she told Charlie Rose on Thursday night that this whole plane mess is really Europe’s problem.

“As you know, the Europeans have tried to figure out the best way forward,” she said when asked how the United States should respond to clear evidence that pro-Russian separatists using Russian hardware killed nearly 300 foreign civilians. “From my perspective — and I have the benefit of not being in the government — if there is evidence linking Russia to this, that should inspire the Europeans to do much more.”

After noting that the world should put “[Russian President Vladimir] Putin on notice” and not “stand idly by,” Clinton reassured Rose that the United States would stand idly by.

“So Europeans have to be the ones to take the lead on this,” said the former secretary. “It was a flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur over European territory. There should be outrage in European capitals.”

That sucking sound you hear is the rapid formation of a power vacuum in Europe as the United States signals its noninterest in matters of regional and global security.

Hey, after World War II, Europe was happy to hand over their defense to America, so that they could spend all of their taxpayers’ money on expanding their socialist welfare states. And they loathed America’s past “Cowboy Presidents” and their lack of nuance and politesse.

I guess European leaders never counted on their defense winding up in the hands of wannabe Europeans. But then, to be fair, neither did most Americans.

When America Fell Apart

July 17th, 2014 - 12:28 pm

“The summer of 2014 will go down in history as the season when America fell apart. Let’s take a tour of the disasters,” Victor Davis Hanson writes. After going through Obama’s alienation of Germany, Japan, terrorists running rampant over the Middle East, looming war between the Palestinians and Israel, Putin’s efforts to swallow up Crimea and Ukraine, Snowden’s leaks, the shrinking American economy, the stillborn “Stimulus” program, the disaster at the American border, the IRS scandal, Obama, Susan Rice and Hillary lying about a video causing Benghazi, and the Bowe Berghdal debacle, VDH writes, “The scandals now come so fast and furiously that we no sooner hear of one than yet another new mess makes us forget it:”

What keeps the country afloat this terrible summer?

Some American companies produce more gas and oil than ever despite, not because of, the Obama administration. Most Americans still get up every day, work hard, and pay more taxes than they receive in subsidies. American soldiers remain the most formidable in the world despite the confusion of their superiors. The law, regardless of the administration, is still followed by most. And most do not duck out on their daily responsibilities to golf, play pool, or go on junkets.

It is still a hard thing to derail America in a summer — but then again, we have a long way to go until fall.

Yes, Obama’s “dense-pack” assault of endless recurring scandals and disasters actually works in his favor by numbing voters — and the media, both of whom are overwhelmed by the sheer scope of the debacle. Just imagine how the MSM would be reporting the endlessly horrible news if there was a Republican in the White House, or in the case of LBJ in 1968, a fellow Democrat they actually loathed:

“It’s not pretty, even if your credentials are impeccable,” Neo-Neocon writes:

John Christy, a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, says he remembers the morning he spotted a well-known colleague at a gathering of climate experts.

“I walked over and held out my hand to greet him,” Dr. Christy recalled. “He looked me in the eye, and he said, ‘No.’ I said, ‘Come on, shake hands with me.’ And he said, ‘No.’ ”

Neo adds, “It’s fortunate for Dr. Christy that burning at the stake has gone out of style.” But paradoxically amongst carbon-obsessed warmists, book-burning is making a rapid comeback, at least at San Jose State:

At speaking of the academic left believing that books have evil talismanic powers, Aaron Clarey spots a hilariously overblown reaction from a librarian who came across my February interview with Aaron on his then-new book Bachelor Pad Economics.

A hundred years ago, a central tenet of the left was “epater la bourgeoisie” — or shock the middle class. Apparently, they didn’t consider that their ideology would become so sclerotic and brittle that it would eventually transform them into a remarkably vapour-prone class of the bourgeois in constant search of the fainting couch. But then, as original Saturday Night Live writer Anne Beatts once said, you can only be avant-garde for so long before you come garde.

Besides being a terrific read, Rosenbaum’s book is sort of like Hell’s production of Citizen Kane — recording the attempts by American and German intellectuals to boil Hitler — and the causes of World War II — down to a single Rosebud-like explanation: Hitler had syphilis, he was unloved by his parents, had malformed genitalia, etc. Ultimately such efforts, as Rosenbaum writes, do little to explain the epoch-shattering events of the 1930s and ’40s, but like the cast of Citizen Kane, tell us far more about the people who conjure them up — and in many cases, their reasons why. (See also: Rosenbaum’s brilliant critique of German novel and subsequent big-budget film adaptation of The Reader, which attempted to explain away German complicity in the Holocaust through the metaphor of illiteracy.)

As Kathy Shaidle writes, Explaining Hitler is finally out on Kindle, along with a new interview with Rosenbaum on its updated version.

Oh and by the way, “California Eighth Graders Denied Holocaust In Essays After Reading Required Bizarro Screeds,” the Daily Caller reports.

I shudder to think how we’ll collectively look back in World War II ten years from now. Or maybe even right now:

How Not to Promote Immigration Reform

July 15th, 2014 - 3:15 pm

“This CNN story makes it sound like Jose Antonio Vargas worked very hard to get arrested. Which I guess makes sense,” Mollie Hemingway tweeted earlier today. Jonathan S. Tobin of Commentary adds that Vargas isn’t helping his cause:

Today, America’s most prominent illegal immigrant arrived at the border between Mexico and the United States to demonstrate his solidarity with the tens of thousands of people streaming into the country without permission. But the stunt by which former journalist Jose Antonio Vargas got himself arrested did more to undermine support for immigration reform than to foster sympathy for the illegals.

Vargas became a national figure three years ago when the former Washington Post reporter outed himself in the New York Times as an illegal immigrant. Vargas came to the United States at 12 from the Philippines to live with his grandparents who were naturalized citizens. But he was brought here by a “coyote” without a legal visa and spent the rest of his life lying about his status and using fake documents. After graduating college he consulted an immigration lawyer who told him his only path to citizenship was to return to his home country, wait ten years and then apply to come back with permission. On the cusp of a successful career he refused and continued lying even as he was part of a Post team that won a Pulitzer. Eventually, he tired of the deceit as he continued to rise in mainstream journalism and decided to put himself forward as a symbol of the plight of the so-called “dreamers”—people who were brought to the country illegally as kids and who went on to make a contribution to society.

“Spent the rest of his life lying about his status and using fake documents.” Vargas will never make it as a leftwing journalist with those sorts of tactics.

Oh wait — let me check with Dan Rather, Matt Yglesias, and Touré on that last supposition and get back to you.

And I better run it past the president, and academia, just to make certain.

Dispatches from Tranquility Base

July 15th, 2014 - 11:48 am

Which of these dueling headlines is real? You make the call!

“Obama Contends With Arc of Instability Not Seen Since ‘70s.”

—The Wall Street Journal, July 13th.

“WH: We’ve ‘Substantially Improved the Tranquility of the Global Community’”

CNS News, quoting the paradoxically named White House press secretary Josh Earnest, yesterday.

Which one is real? Well, to paraphrase Alvy Singer in 1977, I have to go now Josh, because I’m due back on Planet Earth. And speaking of the 1970s, as Steve Hayward writes at Power Line, linking to the above Wall Street Journal article, “Can the killer rabbit be very long in coming?”

As we noted here the other day, Obama has fully matched Jimmy Carter’s fecklessness, reviving Henry Kissinger’s summation, which is worth repeating:

“The Carter administration has managed the extraordinary feat of having, at one and the same time, the worst relations with our allies, the worst relations with our adversaries, and the most serious upheavals in the developing world since the end of the Second World War.”

I think it was Glenn Reynolds who first remarked that a rerun of Carter might be a best-case scenario for the Obama presidency, and it appears he has understated the depth of the problem.  This is what happens when you have a president who decides the U.S. can simply check out of world leadership.

Not to mention a president who has personally checked out as well from leadership of the federal government.

Chris Cabrea, Border Patrol Union vice president, tells Fox News’ Martha MacCallum that, as Breitbart TV reports, “‘a lot of our guys’ are coming down with diseases:”

“Coming off the long journey they have been subjected to and then diseases some agents are contracting. We had one get bacterial pneumonia a couple days ago,” Cabrea said. “A lot of our guys are coming down with scabies or lice.”

Cabrea added: “The border patrol is trying to play catch up and we’re having a lot of diseases coming in and some we haven’t seen in decades and we are worried they’ll spread throughout the United States especially if they are being released and have the disease.”

Shades of the opening of Tom Wolfe’s classic “Great Relearning” essay originally from 1987, updated in his 2000 non-fiction anthology, Hooking Up:

In 1968, in San Francisco, I came across a curious footnote to the hippie movement. At the Haight-Ashbury Free Clinic, there were doctors treating diseases no living doctor had ever encountered before, diseases that had disappeared so long ago they had never even picked up Latin names, diseases such as the mange, the grunge, the itch, the twitch, the thrush, the scroff, the rot. And how was it that they now returned? It had to do with the fact that thousands of young men and women had migrated to San Francisco to live communally in what I think history will record as one of the most extraordinary religious fevers of all time.

The hippies sought nothing less than to sweep aside all codes and restraints of the past and start from zero.

Among the codes and restraints that people in the communes swept aside–quite purposely–were those that said you shouldn’t use other people’s toothbrushes or sleep on other people’s mattresses without changing the sheets, or as was more likely, without using any sheets at all, or that you and five other people shouldn’t drink from the same bottle of Shasta or take tokes from the same cigarette. And now, in 1968, they were relearning…the laws of hygiene…by getting the mange, the grunge, the itch, the twitch, the thrush, the scroff, the rot.

This process, namely the relearning — following a Promethean and unprecedented start from zero — seems to me to be the leitmotif of the twenty-first century in America.

The notion of “Start From Zero” has echoes of the terrifying phrase “Year Zero,” which socialist regimes invariably impose on their blighted captive subjects. As Wikipedia notes — and they’re actually right on this one — “The term Year Zero applied to the takeover of Cambodia in April 1975 by the Khmer Rouge, is an analogy to the Year One of the French Revolutionary Calendar:”

During the French Revolution, after the abolition of the French monarchy (September 20, 1792), the National Convention instituted a new calendar and declared the beginning of the Year I. The Khmer Rouge takeover of Phnom Penh was rapidly followed by a series of drastic revolutionary de-industrialization policies resulting in a death toll that vastly exceeded that of the French Reign of Terror.

The idea behind Year Zero is that all culture and traditions within a society must be completely destroyed or discarded and a new revolutionary culture must replace it, starting from scratch. All history of a nation or people before Year Zero is deemed largely irrelevant, as it will (as an ideal) be purged and replaced from the ground up.

In Cambodia, teachers, artists, and intellectuals were especially singled out and executed during the purges accompanying Year Zero.

Fortunately, American politics don’t quite play for those stakes — at least not yet — but there was plenty of Year Zero and Start From Zero-style talk amongst the fever swamps of Mr. Obama’s zanier supporters in 2008 and early 2009. Obama himself promised a “fundamental transformation” of America, as New Republic pundits openly called for Marxism, formerly staid Newsweek ran pro-socialism cover stories, and Spike Lee blurted out in late October of 2008 on Democrat house organ MSNBC his prediction that 2009 would usher in a BC/AD-rivaling millennial shift. “You have B.B.: Before Barack and A.B.: After Barack,” Lee promised:

What he’s done is historic. This coalition which he’s gotten: black, white, Hispanic, Asian, gay, straight, whatever. It’s come together, and this has never been done before. And I think this thing is, predeortained [sic!] or whatever you want to call it. I’m not gonna say that it’s God. But this is not a mistake this is happening now. I don’t think it’s a mistake it’s happening, that he’s here when this country is at its lowest in many, many years.

Whenever I’ve quoted Wolfe’s “Great Relearning” essay, I’ve usually asked, “So when exactly does the Great Relearning begin?” But perhaps, things have gotten bad enough during the A.B. era to start the slow process rolling. Last fall, Roger L. Simon dubbed the president a “Libertarian Manufacturing Machine.” Perhaps the distinct lack of “prededeortainment” of illegal immigrants, the collapse of American foreign policy in the Middle East, the flat-lined economy, and a president who’d much rather party with rock stars and engage in late-night dorm room BS sessions than actually do the drudgework of managing the federal government has shaken some Americans out of their slumber in time for 2016, as Victor Davis Hanson writes in his latest article.

…If there still is an America in 2016, that is.

Related: Oh, and speaking of the Return of the Primitive and The Great Relearning

Al Gore Hardest Hit

July 14th, 2014 - 12:38 pm

“People who claim to worry about climate change use more electricity,” the London Telegraph reports:

People who claim to worry about climate change use more electricity than those who do not, a Government study has found.

Those who say they are concerned about the prospect of climate change consume more energy than those who say it is “too far into the future to worry about,” the study commissioned by the Department for Energy and Climate Change found.

That is in part due to age, as people over 65 are more frugal with electricity but much less concerned about global warming.

However, even when pensioners are discounted, there is only a “weak trend” to show that people who profess to care about climate change do much to cut their energy use.

Al Gore could not be reached to comment from the other side of his three monitors, plasma screen TVs, private jets, mansions and former TV channel sold in 2013 to an Arab oil emirate.

al_gore_energy_hog_2007

I Question the Premise

July 14th, 2014 - 10:57 am

It’s rare that a journalist gets it so spectacularly wrong in the first 50 words of his article, but in the Financial Times yesterday titled “A farewell to trust: Obama’s Germany syndrome,” British journalist Henry Luce augers the plane deeply into the ground without even leaving the runway:

What did the president know, and when did he know it? Such was demanded of Richard Nixon, who resigned 40 years ago next month. In no sense can President Barack Obama be morally compared with the man who brought us Watergate. He is neither a crook nor a liar.

Well other than the greatest generational wealth theft in American history, the IRS and Fast & Furious scandals, and the greatest example of serial lying by a president ever. Even leftwing house organ, the Orwellian-named “Politifact” heaved a big Al Gore-level sigh and reluctantly awarded Mr. Obama The Lie of the Year at the end of 2013:

Which may explain the 180 that Luce does in his next paragraph:

But Mr Obama shares one problem that could cripple what remains of his presidency – most people no longer trust him. The sentiment spans foreign allies as well as domestic critics. When trust goes, respect is seldom far behind.

Unexpectedly, as the president’s defenders at Bloomberg.com would reflexively say. The same goes for journalism as well, particularly those who still write such naive material about a president who has spun so dramatically out of control.

But then, as Wikipedia notes in Luce’s biography:

His first job was as a correspondent for The Guardian in Geneva. He first joined the Financial Times in 1995 and reported for the FT from the Philippines, after which he took one year sabbatical working in Washington, DC as the speech writer to Lawrence Summers, then US treasury secretary (1999–2001) during the Clinton administration.

Unexpectedly.

Camille Paglia calls for “an end to the bitter feminist war on men,” along with “the cliquish, tunnel-vision intolerance that afflicts too many feminists,” and seeks “a more flexible psychology” from her fellow feminists. Good luck with all that — but as always when Paglia sits down for an interview, a fun read is the end result:

As for playing “devil’s advocate”, I can’t imagine a committed feminist engaging in that kind of silly game. The real problem is the cliquish, tunnel-vision intolerance that afflicts too many feminists, who seem unprepared to recognise and analyse ideas. In both the U.S. and Britain, there has been far too much addiction to “theory” in post-structuralist and post-modernist gender studies. With its opaque jargon and elitist poses, theory is no way to build a real-world movement. My system of pro-sex feminism has been constructed by a combination of scholarly research and every-day social observation.

The infamous faxes between you and Julie Burchill in The Modern Review are still very much the stuff of legend in the UK’s media. Any regret about the whole thing? If you were mentoring a young Camille today how would you tell her to deal with that kind of situation? All guns blazing, take her down and combative, or would you be recommending some mindfulness, meditation and understanding?

There is not a single thing I would change in my handling of that acrimonious 1993 episode. British journalist Julie Burchill gratuitously attacked and insulted me, and I responded in kind. Our exchanges continued, with my replies getting longer and hers getting shorter, until she realised she had misjudged her opponent and “bottled out” (a British locution for beating a hasty retreat that I heard for the first time from an amused Times reporter commenting on the battle).

I learned how to jab and parry from my early models, Oscar Wilde, Dorothy Parker, and Mary McCarthy. Germaine Greer, whom I deeply admire, has always been glorious in combat. As for mentoring a young Camille Paglia, I would tell her to study my martial arts moves and do likewise!

Heh. Read the whole thing.

“Activists on both sides of the the heightening Israeli-Palestinian crisis have taken to social media this week to advocate their views, though a particularly incendiary hashtag is now raising some eyebrows,” the Boston Globe reports:

The hashtag #HitlerWasRight was briefly trending on Twitter Saturday evening, and while that may be attributable to the high number of users expressing their revulsion about the topic, others in the thread expressed genuine admiration for Hitler and the Nazi Holocaust.

According to the Twitter analytics website Hashtags.org, the topic was at its peak around 5 p.m.

We collected some of the messages below. Be warned—some of the tweets contain disturbing language or images:

Yes, identifying with the Nazis will tend to do that — and note that as Jeffrey Herf of the University of Maryland wrote in his 2010 book Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World, Middle Eastern Arabs got in at that ground floor of that equation.

And speaking of Twitter, yet another reminder to be this guy:

Found via Yair Rosenberg of Tablet magazine, who tweets, “RIP Humanity.”

In addition to the Boston Globe’s archive, Twitchy has also rounded up another of the pro-Hitler tweets, including those later deleted by their authors as a reminder of their vilest impulses.