November 25, 2015

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Plus, please do any Christmas or Hanukkah shopping through the InstaPundit Amazon links. I thank you, and my family thanks you.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN FINDS SOMETHING TO BE THANKFUL FOR: Amidst turmoil, a victory for the future.


The Statue of Liberty was originally designed to be a Muslim woman, the Smithsonian Institution’s magazine says.
An article on the government-administered museum’s blog, Smart News, claims one of the designers of Lady Liberty drew inspiration from monuments in Egypt and originally intended to construct a veiled female peasant on the Suez Canal.

But the Smithsonian gets its knickers in a twist over the sight of a WWII B-29 and in 2013, published an excerpt from a since massively debunked biography of Norman Rockwell, which attempted to retcon the beloved American artist into, as his granddaughter wrote in response, “a repressed homosexual with pedophilic impulses,” so take the above story with a grain of salt. (As Cuffy tweets, “Last week called, wants its clickbait back.”)

I blame myself for this latest bit of clickbait. In early 2011, for the PJM homepage illustration accompanying an article by contributor Howard Rotberg titled “Obama’s 2015 State of the Union Address,” I created the following image:
Shortly afterward, some organization calling itself “Shariah4America” issued a statement demanding a burkha on the Statue of Liberty. And now the Smithsonian gets into the act. Oh well — Photoshopped in haste, repented at leisure.

KURT SCHLICHTER: Why the ‘Jon Stewarting’ of America’s Youth Is Awful For Political Discourse.

TOM BROKAW TURNED INTO WILLIAM DEVANE SO SLOWLY, I HARDLY EVEN NOTICED: For actor turned precious metals pitchman Devane, it’s always a good time to buy gold, no matter how well or how poorly the stock market is performing.

For newsreader turned Obama pitchman Tom Brokaw, it’s always a good time to raise the gas tax, whether the economy has just flatlined, or whether ISIS just terrorized a major European city.

In January, when “4 Of 5 Top Papers [Called] For Federal Gas Tax Hike,” the Media Research Center noted that the “Washington Post’s editorial board called it the ‘perfect time’ for Congress to raise the federal gas tax.” But for Brokaw and the rest of the MSM, when isn’t it the perfect time to raise the gas tax?

STUART TAYLOR: A Little-Understood Engine of Campus Unrest: Racial Admissions Preferences.

Why are some of the most privileged students in the nation plunging into a racial grievance culture and upending their campuses as though oppressed by Halloween costumes they don’t approve, imagined racial slights, portraits of Woodrow Wilson, a tiny handful of real racial epithets, and the like?

The reasons are of course multifaceted. But one deserves far more attention than it has gotten: Many or most of the African-American student protesters really are victims — but not of old-fashioned racism.

Most are, rather, victims of the very large admissions preferences that set up racial-minority students for academic struggle at the selective universities that have cynically misled them into thinking they are well qualified to compete with classmates who are, in fact, far stronger academically.

The reality is that most good black and Hispanic students, who would be academically competitive at many selective schools, are not competitive at the more selective schools that they attend.

That’s why it takes very large racial preferences to get them admitted. An inevitable result is that many black and (to a lesser extent) Hispanic students cannot keep up with better-prepared classmates and rank low in their classes no matter how hard they work.

Studies show that this academic “mismatch effect” forces them to drop science and other challenging courses; to move into soft, easily graded, courses disproportionately populated by other preferentially admitted students; and to abandon career hopes such as engineering and pre-med. Many lose intellectual self-confidence and become unhappy even if they avoid flunking out.

This depresses black performance at virtually all selective schools because of what experts call the cascade effect. . . .

It is critical to understand that these are not bad students. They did well in high school and could excel at somewhat less selective universities where they would arrive roughly as well prepared as their classmates.

But due to racial preferences, they find themselves for the first time in their lives competing against classmates who have a huge head start in terms of previous education, academic ability, or both.


COVERING THE IMPORTANT NEWS: How to Talk About Star Wars at Thanksgiving With Your Ignorant, Rebellion-Backing Uncle.

Related: NRO’s Katherine Timpf: “I Will Not Apologize for Making a Joke About Star Wars:”

More than a month ago, I made some jokes about Star Wars on Red Eye, a satirical political comedy show that airs at 3 a.m., and it has resulted in me being verbally abused and told to die by a mob of enraged fans for the past four days now.

The capital-offense comments were:

“I have never had any interest in watching space nerds poke each other with their little space nerd sticks, and I’m not going to start now.”


“Yesterday I tweeted something, and all I said was that I wasn’t  familiar with Star Wars because I’ve been too busy liking cool things and being attractive.”

Now, I received a few death threats right after I posted the aforementioned tweet — which, by the way, was why I was saying Star Wars fans were “crazy” in the first place. Overall, though, it wasn’t a big deal, and I kind of forgot about it.

Then, this week, one Star Wars super-super-super fan who calls himself “AlphaOmegaSin” made a ten-minute (!) video brutally ripping me apart.

She probably should consulted fellow NR contributor James Lileks, who discovered firsthand nearly 20 years ago just how much of the dark side of the Force Star Wars obsessives will conjure up, if you dare badmouth their imaginary universe.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN FINDS SOMETHING TO BE THANKFUL FOR: Amidst turmoil, a victory for the future.

ROOTING FOR INJURIES: New York Democrats Bill de Blasio and Andrew Cuomo are having a homelessness-related “pre-Thanksgiving spat,” according to Daily News:

Mayor de Blasio pointed the finger back at Gov. Cuomo on the city’s homelessness problem, as the pair continued their pre-Thanksgiving spat over the issue.

“It’s time for the governor to step up,” de Blasio said Wednesday on Good Day New York.

Cuomo had charged Tuesday de Blasio’s failures of management — and intelligence — were to blame for the increasing number of homeless people on the streets. “Throwing money at the problem is not always the answer,” Cuomo said. “It’s understanding the problem and being smart enough to know how to manage the problem.”

Mark this day in the calendar — a Democrat actually admits that “Throwing money at the problem is not always the answer.” The first step towards the road to recovery from any addiction is admitting that there’s a problem.

On the other hand, Cuomo and de Blasio can collaborate well together when there’s serious work to be done — like removing the fascist-themed ads for Amazon’s new Man in the High Castle streaming video series from New York’s subway cars, thus generating massive amounts of free publicity for the Ridley Scott-produced venture. (Whose first two episodes were pretty darn good, by the way.)

PEAK GUARDIAN FINALLY REACHED: “Gender is a prison we all live in.”


NEWS YOU CAN USE: William Shatner and State Farm present “Eat, Fry, Love,” a turkey fryer fire cautionary tale (video):

At some point in his post-Airplane II career, Shatner apparently took Kevin Pollak’s impersonation of Shatner, made it his own, and dialed it up to Warp Factor 11. Who knew ham on Thanksgiving could be so much fun?

OBAMA SIGNS DEFENSE BILL DESPITE GITMO PROVISIONS: President Obama has quietly (and on the eve of Thanksgiving) signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which renews tight prohibitions against using any federal funds for the transfer of Gitmo detainees to the U.S.

Obama has previously intimated that he would transfer Gitmo prisoners to the U.S. despite congressional opposition. It is unclear whether Obama’s decision to sign the NDAA indicates that he has abandoned plans for U.S. transfer, or whether (as some former Obama Administration officials have argued) Obama believes he has the independent constitutional authority to transfer the detainees to the U.S. anyway.

ANALYSIS: TRUE. This obsession with ‘cultural appropriation’ is leading us down a very dark path. “The idea of ‘cultural appropriation’ sums up everything rotten in today’s intensifying politics of identity. It’s fuelled by the borderline racist idea that to mix cultures is bad. It isn’t only yoga that’s getting it in its supple neck from these new cultural purists: white rappers like Iggy Azalea are slammed for appropriating black culture; students have been banned from wearing sombreros lest Mexicans feel mocked; non-black celebs who try out the cornrow hairstyle can expect to be Twitch-hunted by mobs of these new cultural purists who think black people and white people should stick to their own cultural camps.”

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Thrush basically has two gaslighting modes when bad news strikes Democrats — explain it away as “badass,” which is he he described Hillary’s now-infamous email server, and bored y’all, which was the mode he switched to when the Obamacare servers blew up in the fall of 2013, and today.

The Washington Post isn’t much better — the young staffer writing up a leading news and opinion Website offering a “no surprises” interview to Chelsea Clinton dismisses it as “Politico just handed Republicans a ‘liberal media’ talking point.”

And there are so, so few of those to go around these days.

Related: “WaPo Attacks Republicans For Politico Offering Chelsea Clinton a Puff Interview” — “Democrats sure got it good.”

BURIED LEDE: “Officials confirmed Wednesday that Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered them removed.”

NEVER LIBEL A LAWYER WITH A BLOG: John Hinderaker: Apology Accepted.

KEEP TRYING, GUYS: 11 Outlandish Attempts To Build The Next Concorde.

MASTERING THE ART OF THE BABY JUGGLE AT HOLIDAY GATHERINGS: Sounds like much more fun than mastering the art of dealing with the crazy uncle who loaded up on Vox and HuffPo Thanksgiving socialist talking points.

NANOTECHNOLOGY UPDATE: New Method for Producing Nanowires Could Offer a Commercial Avenue.

P.C. RUN AMOK: Political correctness likely contributed to a flash mob theft of a designer store in Georgetown. The store–a Diesel clothing store on M Street–was overtaken by a mob of more than 20 juveniles Tuesday evening, who stole more than $12,000 worth of merchandise within a matter of minutes. The Washington Post story conveniently omits the racial identity of these juveniles.

Some in the Georgetown area started using the app service in February, 2014 after the business organization — Georgetown Business Improvement District — worked with police in the District to launch it. The service called “Operation GroupMe” was meant, some in the area said, as a tool to try to reduce shoplifting in the area. Georgetown is one of the nation’s poshest shopping districts.

But a look at the bulk of the correspondence over a nine-month period of those using the service had some people expressing suspicions about African Americans. About 90 percent of the photographs that were put up showed blacks. And there were descriptions in offensive language.

Joe Sternlieb, chief executive of the Georgetown business group, had said there were concerns that the app could be used to violate shoppers’ “civil rights and individual dignity.”

Um, does anyone care about the rights, dignity, or safety of the store owners, patrons, and employees who work in these stores? If blacks are suspected of crimes in an area, it isn’t “racial profiling” to report suspicion of such individuals. If they are black, they are black. If they are white, they are white. If they are Asian, they are Asian. Simply reporting a suspect’s race is not racial profiling. It is reporting a fact that is useful in preventing crime. Geez. Political correctness is becoming very dangerous.

I GUESS THIS IS WHY WE’RE LOSING: Think Campus P.C. Is Out of Control? Look at the Military.

THEY NEED TO CRYOGENICALLY FREEZE IT: Senator John Barroso (R-WY) has an oped in today’s Wall Street Journal, “Congress Can Cool Off Obama’s Climate Change Plans.”

When the U.N. climate-change talks convene in Paris next week, the risks will be high for American taxpayers. President Obama wants a climate deal and is willing to pay dearly to get it. The inevitable outcome is a plan with unproven benefits and unreachable goals, but very real costs. It will be up to Congress to check the president’s ambition of committing the U.S. to an international green scheme that will produce little or no return. . . .

Todd Stern, the chief American negotiator heading to Paris, has tried to justify the disconnect. Mr. Stern recently told the Senate that developing countries need to be allowed to keep emitting so that their economies can continue to grow by 8%-9% a year. . . .

Why should the U.S. accept a plan—and pay to grease the deal—that keeps its economy stuck at 2% growth while American taxpayers subsidize other countries’ economies growing at 9%?

Almost as bad is that President Obama will likely pledge $3 billion of taxpayers’ money to the U.N.’s Green Climate Fund. Developing nations are eager to accept this cash, which in theory they will use to address the effects of extreme weather. It seems more likely that the money will end up in the pockets of government officials in Africa, Asia and elsewhere. . . .

The envoys in Paris should understand: Congress does not support the president’s $3 billion promise. Earlier this year Mr. Obama requested in his budget the first $500 million installment. That budget was voted down 98-1. Congress should continue to reject this spending and insist that any agreement reached in Paris be subject to Senate approval—regardless of whether or not the administration formally calls it a treaty.

Whatever comes of the Paris talks, there is reason to be wary. We’ve seen the Obama administration’s negotiating skills. Anyone who watched the Iran nuclear agreement play out has good reason to be nervous about the concessions this administration will make in closed-door negotiations.

So here we go again: The President of the United States is hellbent on accomplishing a goal that is opposed by the majority of Americans. He is looking for a way (once again) to “work around” Congress. He is willing to strike a deal that puts the U.S. at a disadvantage, in the name of “helping” other “developing” countries, and the “globe” (even though it won’t actually help the latter).  Who does he think he’s the President of, exactly? Because it sure doesn’t seem to be Americans.

Let’s hope Congress shows more courage and intelligence in stopping the President this time than it did with the Iran deal. I won’t hold my breath.

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: On Wisconsin!: State Appeals Court rules man can possess a switchblade in his home. “The appellate court found the possession prohibition is unconstitutional as applied specifically to the facts of Herrmann’s particular case. The judges said the state’s argument that the prohibition protects public safety has nothing to do with Herrmann’s case since possession in a home for self-defense poses little to no danger to the public.”

Specifically rooted in Heller and the Right to Arms. More here. Of course, progressive, civil-rights-conscious states, like Tennessee, have opened up knife rights in and out of the home by statute. Perhaps Wisconsin will catch up.

IN THE MAIL: From E. N. McMahon’s Fly By Night.

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TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 930.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: So you’ve been caught smuggling potato chips into your school — as in, like, maybe a crate or two?

SPRINGTIME FOR CLIMATE CHANGE: Forget ISIS: Climate Change Caused Hitler!

And despite his party’s best efforts at nascent environmentalism, the Fuehrer will likely never be dubbed by history as ”history’s greenest conqueror” — unlike Genghis Khan.

(Now there’s a “Hitler freaks out over the news of…” Downfall parody clip just waiting to be uploaded to YouTube.)


You just look at how many of our collective bigotries we have overcome in America in the last 100 years. We are less racist than we used to be, we are less sexist than we used to be. We are less religiously bigoted than we used to be. We are less homophobic than we used to be. We have one remaining bigotry: We don’t want to be around anybody that disagrees with us.


The candidate for First Man also said, “the polarization of American politics is present not just in Washington, but in American life.” Clinton didn’t call out any institutions in particular, but one wonders if he had the recent campus meltdowns in mind. American universities in some ways epitomize the trends Clinton has described: They pursue aggressive affirmative action, they are saturated with centers for race and gender and LGBT students, their brochures are shot through with paeans to diversity and tolerance—and yet they are now cementing their reputations as the most ideologically intolerant institutions in the country.

For good and ill, there is no reason to think that the trends Clinton described are abating. As we noted last week, millennials are more tolerant of different identities than older generations, but they are also most eager to censor offensive opinions.

This Turkey Day, be thankful that America is winning the war on racism and sexism. And ignore the torrent of articles telling you how to DESTROY your relatives for their incorrect opinions.

Good advice.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Brown University’s $100 Million Inclusivity Plan.

Here’s my plan: Randomly admit a bunch of students, then use the $100 million to give them free tuition. This will never happen, because it doesn’t produce jobs for educrats, and when the random admits did just as well as the special snowflakes who braved the regular admissions process, it would undermine the Ivy League’s rationale.

Better still, if you’re really concerned about inequality, abolish the Ivy League!

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THIS IS CNN: Suspended CNN Reporter Appears to Have Coordinated Tweets with State Department in 2013.

Candy Crowley could not be reached for comment.

HILLARY CLINTON’S DENIALISM IS THE OTHER EXTREME OF TRUMP’S RHETORIC ON ISLAM: “It’s telling that much of the media find only one of the views extreme.”

DISPATCHES FROM THE NIHILISTIC LEFT, from the far left Forward (sic) Website: “What Does Meditation Have To Do With Fighting ISIS Terror?”

Beyond the article’s highly problematic cultural appropriation, and its author’s thinly-veiled racism directed towards the one black man running for the presidency, file this one under “questions nobody is asking.”

But wait, it gets better! “HUFFPO WRITER: A Bernie Sanders Presidency Is THE ONLY WAY TO DEFEAT ISIS.”

So I guess a manbun-equipped Berniebro practicing meditation with “Imagine” playing in the background while chanting about global warming and full-on Soviet-level socialism should really finish off ISIS for good. Or as Mark Steyn would say, “‘Why do they hate us?’ was never the right question. ‘Why do they despise us?’ is a better one.”

IT WAS GOING TO END POORLY, ONE WAY OR ANOTHER: Teen Islamic State pin-up girl changes her mind, is ‘beaten to death:’

A TEENAGE girl who ran away from her Austrian home to join IS has reportedly been killed after trying to flee the terrorist capital of Raqqa.

Samra Kesinovic, 17, went to Syria in April 2014 with her 16-year-old friend Sabina Selimovic, where they became propaganda poster girls for the Islamist group.

Now several Austrian newspapers are claiming Samra has been beaten to death, citing insider sources and an interview with a Tunisian woman who lived with the pair before escaping.

A year ago, Lee Smith of Tablet magazine explored: “Why the Teenage Girls of Europe Are Joining ISIS.” Note the prescient and chilling turn the last paragraph quoted below takes:

It is a striking fact that ISIS appeals not only to young men, but also young European women, many hundreds of whom have gone to Syria and Iraq to marry Islamic State fighters. Sure, some of them, like at least one teenaged French Jewish girl who left for Syria, may have come to regret their decision. But that hardly alters the essential point: The girls sought out IS fighters because the West seems weak and unmanly and they pine for real men who are willing to kill and die for what they believe in.

Why? Europe’s got great health care, welfare, and lots of attractive young men and attractive women who, unlike the vast majority of women in the Middle East outside of Israel, are sexually available. So, why given a choice between a comfortable, if somewhat boring, life as a pharmacist in Hamburg, or fighting and dying in the desert, are thousands of Western Muslims opting for the latter?

Because, for all the awesome social services and consumer goods it can offer, Europe has become incapable of endowing the lives of its citizens, Muslim or not, with meaning. A generation of young European Muslims are giving up their relatively easy lives in Malmö, Marseilles, and Manchester for the battlefields of Syria and Iraq, because Europe is devoid of values worth living—or dying—for. They are leaving for the same reason that Europe’s Jews are moving to Israel: Strength and a sense of purpose can be found elsewhere, whether it’s ISIS, Vladimir Putin, Ali Khameni, or the IDF.

European security services are worried that the large number of jihadist fighters with Western passports are destined to cause trouble should they come back to the continent. They’re worried, they say, about the special skills militants might obtain abroad and then employ at home—like Mehdi Nemmouche, the Frenchman who killed four people at the Brussels Museum in May.

Joyce Carol Oates used to enjoy writing about the temptations faced by teenage girls — perhaps she could deign to write some thoughts on what drove Samra and Sabrina to chuck it all and join ISIS.

Related: At Ace of Spades, “Fundamental Concepts — Nothing to Believe In.”

WELL, ACCEPTING THAT WOULD LESSEN THE OPPORTUNITIES FOR GRAFT: Women’s group can’t accept that ‘rape culture’ just might not be a thing.

When you’re committed to perpetuating the myth of a rampant “rape culture” on college campuses, evidence to the contrary becomes baffling.

And so it goes for the American Association of University Women, which analyzed 2014 reporting data from colleges and universities across the country and found that 91 percent of schools had no reported incidents of rape. Most people would see that number and cheer. Hooray! College women aren’t being raped in the U.S. at rates on par with the Congo!

But not the AAUW. Accompanying that percentage on a chart on its website are the words: “What’s wrong with this picture?”

Read the whole thing. Today, as we saw with the UVA scandal, a feminist is someone who’s horrified at the thought that a woman might not have been raped.


NEWS YOU CAN USE: “How To Spot And Critique Censorship Tropes In The Media’s Coverage Of Free Speech Controversies,” including one of the most insidious:

Trope Two: “Like shouting fire in a crowded theater”

Example: ” There is no freedom to shout ‘fire’ in a crowded theater.” Prof. Thane Rosenbaum, Daily Beast, January 30, 2014.

Nearly 100 years ago Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., voting to uphold the Espionage Act conviction of a man who wrote and circulated anti-draft pamphlets during World War I, said”[t]he most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic.”

That flourish — now usually shortened to “shout fire in a crowded theater” — is the media’s go-to trope to support the proposition that some speech is illegal. But it’s empty rhetoric. I previously explained at length how Holmes said it in the context of the Supreme Court’s strong wartime pro-censorship push and subsequently retreated from it. That history illustrates its insidious nature. Holmes cynically used the phrase as a rhetorical device to justify jailing people for anti-war advocacy, an activity that is now (and was soon thereafter) unquestionably protected by the First Amendment. It’s an old tool, but still useful, versatile enough to be invoked as a generic argument for censorship whenever one is needed. But it’s null-content, because all it says is some speech can be banned — which, as we’ll see in the next trope, is not controversial. The phrase does not advance a discussion of which speech falls outside of the protection of the First Amendment.

Read the whole thing.

QUESTION ASKED AND ANSWERED: David Axelrod told where to direct his questions about shooting death of Laquan McDonald.



Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 2.43.05 PM


● “Justly revered as our great Constitution is, it could be stripped off and thrown aside like a garment, and the nation would still stand forth in the living vestment of flesh and sinew, warm with the heart-blood of one people, ready to recreate constitutions and laws.”

—Woodrow Wilson, as quoted in 2008 by Robert Curry in “Woodrow Wilson’s Constitution.”

“Student Fascists Win Again: Princeton to Chisel Woodrow Wilson’s Name Off Buildings.”

—Ben Shapiro, November 20th. Ben asks, “What’s the point of the purge? By wiping away history, the left gets to place itself at the top of the moral pantheon, deciding by godlike whim who is a saint and who a sinner. We can’t learn from the past – we have to excise it wholesale to build the new world. History is a foundation of Western civilization; Western civilization is exploitative and evil, and so its history must be erased.”

Oddly enough, Wilson, one the early popularizers of the “living Constitution,” would have likely approved the sentiment driving today’s Princetonians, even if he never thought he’d eventually become one of the left’s unpersons.

Related: “Arushi Garg, left, a law student, said the 1920s made her uncomfortable.”

ROGER SIMON: Islam Needs an Intervention:

Think about a family.  When there’s a cousin addicted to crystal meth, what do you do?  Give him money for more or stage an intervention?  The latter obviously.  Only in this case the size of the intervention is huge,  almost incomprehensibly so.  But it is necessary. Otherwise, there is no reason to think it will ever stop.

How do you make an intervention so huge?  Well, obviously, you have to destroy ISIS military and totally.  But that, as I indicated, is only temporary. Beyond that, we have to launch a major ideological war. This will take allies in the Islamic world like Egypt’s al-Sisi, a man who says Islam needs reform but whom, not surprisingly, our president disdains.

Sharia law should be outlawed in the United States and in as many Western countries as possible since it is in direct contradistinction to Western values in its misogyny and homophobia.  Those from the Islamic world who seek to immigrate should be required to take classes explaining our values and why Sharia is unacceptable to us.  Otherwise they should not be admitted.  This may not work, but it is a start.

Don’t look for much change (or hope) until after next year at the earliest, though.

THE YALE PROBLEM BEGINS IN HIGH SCHOOL: “A month before the Yale Halloween meltdown, I had a bizarre and illuminating experience at an elite private high school on the West Coast. I’ll call it Centerville High,” Jonathan Haidt writes, adding that he asked the kids a series of questions as to the type of school they wanted, versus what they were mentally trapped within:

So let me get this straight. You were unanimous in saying that you want your school to be a place where people feel free to speak up, even if you strongly dislike their views. But you don’t have such a school. In fact, you have exactly the sort of “tolerance” that Herbert Marcuse advocated [which I had discussed in my lecture, and which you can read about here]. You have a school in which only people in the preferred groups get to speak, and everyone else is afraid. What are you going to do about this? Let’s talk.

Read the whole thing.

OBAMA HAS JUST BEGUN, Victor Davis Hanson writes, asking “How much damage can he do in his last year in office?” Well, a lot, obvious, just look at the headlines coming out of the Islamic Mideast and the American Midwest:

Insidiously and inadvertently, Barack Obama is alienating the people and moving the country to the right. If he keeps it up, by 2017 it will be a reactionary nation. But, counterintuitive as it seems, that is fine with Obama: Après nous le déluge.

And that’s precisely the reaction of his friends at the New Republic, who have discovered an even greater looming threat to mankind than ISIS or global warming — a (wait for it!) Republican White House.

Expect an increasing amount of rhetoric along those lines next year, especially if her operatives with bylines suspect that Hillary just might not have what it takes to make it to electoral nirvana next November.

OOPS: The commander in chief’s meltdown in the polls. “President Obama’s petulant news conference in Turkey insisting there is no need to shift our strategy for fighting the Islamic State might have been the low point in his presidency. But that does not mean he’s hit rock bottom.”

BUT YOU GET TO FEEL SMUG: Electric Cars And The Coal That Runs Them.

EUROPE AND ISLAM — A CLASH OF FAILURES: At The Week, Michael Brendan Dougherty writes:

As I wrote last week, for some Muslims, the modern world presents a crisis for Islam. If Allah grants victories to the faithful community of believers, then Islam’s current situation is a problem. The Islamic world has been in retreat for decades, if not centuries. The exit of colonial powers has left the Middle East and surrounding regions to corrupt governments, seduced by foreign intrigue or foreign aid. Globalization sends constant reminders of the economic superiority of the West into the Muslim world, along with messages preaching the superiority of Western hedonism, human rights, and feminism. For certain Muslims, this is not an unfortunate turn in history, but a sign of the Muslim world’s defection from Allah. Islam must be purified to restore the ummah to the conditions of the early centuries of the faith. Islam’s failure to conquer, or even to produce workable, livable arrangements with its own domain, becomes an invitation to fundamentalism and conflict.

Something similar is happening to French society. After World War II, France devoted itself evermore fully to its conceptions of universal values. France disavowed political nationalism, and joined the European project with enthusiasm. France was to show that if French men were to become Nietzsche’s last men, well, what’s wrong with that? Every man wants to be free, prosperous, leisured. History has a direction, away from religion, prejudice, divisive nationalism, and toward reason. History was a march toward universally applicable and universally appealing human rights. In a few years, the sons of Algerian and Iraqi immigrants will drink coffee, a little Bordeaux too. They will pretend to be existentialists, and organize to keep French working hours distinctively French. Everyone in their heart wants this, no?

It turns out not.

Read the whole thing.

THEIR ROOTS KEEP SHOWING: Progressive Overshoot: Efforts Begin as Liberalization, End as Stalinism.

SO WE MIGHT ACTUALLY GET SOMEWHERE? The new space race is a private-sector affair.


YES, THAT GLOBAL WARMING: Standoff over government climate study provokes national uproar by scientists.

SPEAKING OF GLOBAL WARMING: German Professor: NASA Has Fiddled Climate Data On ‘Unbelievable’ Scale.

BARRACK HUSSEIN OBAMA, SUPERGENIUS: The anti-ISIS coalition guarantees the chaos will spread. But hey, the Jihadists will be really upset when they hear our president is pivoting to global warming.  Or something.

November 24, 2015

BUSTED: CAUGHT ON TAPE: Lying Campus Feminists Report GamerGater To Police For Non-Existent ‘Threatening Comments.’ “A GamerGate supporter who snuck into an anti-GamerGate panel at Northeastern Illinois University and streamed it online was reported to the police and falsely accused of making “threatening comments.” He caught the whole thing on film.” Obviously, those making the false reports should themselves be reported, and perhaps sued for slander or libel.

AT AMAZON: Black Friday Deals Week: Musical Instruments.

JOURNALISM: Emails Show Politico’s Mike Allen Promised Positive Coverage of Chelsea Clinton. “Allen’s eager attempt to draft “no-risk” interview questions with Chelsea Clinton’s camp is especially noteworthy given Allen’s public opposition to low-risk interviews with powerful figures. . . . In Chelsea Clinton’s case, Allen pledged much more than a ‘super-safe, softball interview’—he literally promised her team total and precise control over the interview questions he would pose to her.”


…And here we go:

“Video: The shooting of Laquan McDonald.”

—Allahpundit, at Hot Air.

● “Did Corrupt Rahm Emanuel Wait to After Election to Release Video?

—Steve Bartin, Newsalert. (And a reminder to a suddenly and “unexpectedly” incurious MSM: “This ‘Mayor of Chicago’ who suppressed Laquan McDonald tape was Obama’s WH Chief of Staff, Chairman of House Dem Caucus, & Chairman of DCCC.”

“CHICAGO ERUPTS! Laquan McDonald Protesters ATTACK POLICE, Toss BOTTLES, Steal Police Bikes (Video).”

—Jim Hoft, Gateway Pundit.

“Chicago Releases Video of Police Shooting of Suspect; City Braces for Violence That Some Predict Could Be Described as ‘Tuesday’”

—Ace of Spades.

And finally, good advice from John Nolte, as the media gets ready to whip up a hot fresh riot in time for Thanksgiving (and in honor of the one year anniversary of last year’s holiday season riots): “Praying for my many family members in Chicago. Told them if they see any CNN trucks, they need to run.”

Indeed. ™

THE 21st CENTURY ISN’T TURNING OUT AS I’D EXPECTED: Feminist blogger boldly makes bread with yeast from her own vagina.

But at well over a century old, isn’t this whole “shocking the bourgeoisie” shtick getting awfully long in the tooth?

(Let me know in the comments — I need to walk my lobster before boiling him for dinner.)

SEAN COLLINS: The University Of Racial Indoctrination: The rise of the race therapy complex on campus. You know, I’m beginning to think that Stuart Taylor is right, and this all stems from the various discomforts arising out of affirmative action.

YOU’VE COME A LONG WAY, BABY: American Women Are Drinking More Like Men.

SOMEDAY, WE WILL LOOK BACK ON THIS AS THE MOMENT WHEN THE TIDE OF WAR HAD TURNED: Rick Astley is brought in to fight ISIS: Anonymous hijack Islamic State Twitter feeds by tricking jihadis into watching “Never Gonna Give You Up” video.

BULLETS AND BOURBON UPDATE: The event organizers asked us to extend their warmest Thanksgiving Wishes to all of the Insta-readers.  And we hope, whether you’re attending B&B or not, you’ll stop by the B&B Website and thank some of our sponsors, including the Texas Concealed Handgun Association, and Kangaroo Carry, and

I THOUGHT THE SCIENCE WAS SETTLED: Everything you think you know about healthy food could be WRONG, new study reveals.

BUT THE ELECTION WAS SWUNG, AND HE’LL BE TAKEN CARE OF LATER: DeMaio Accuser, Todd Bosnich, Sentenced for Obstructing Justice: The sentencing judge said Todd Bosnich’s false accusations played a factor in Carl DeMaio’s loss of the 52nd Congressional District seat. And note that he didn’t get any jail time. “While he avoided jail time, Todd Bosnich will also have to complete 240 hours community service, to take part in a mental health treatment program and to pay a $2,500 fine. In June, Bosnich pleaded guilty in federal court to a felony count of obstructing justice, admitting he lied to the FBI when questioned about that email.”

I’m cynical enough to think that if he’d done this to a Democrat, he would have been punished more severely.


Travel at your own risk.

Just in time for the holidays, the State Department issued a global travel alert to U.S. citizens warning of the increased likelihood of terror attacks by legions of terrorists — including the murderous Islamic State.

The terse warning, posted on the State Department website Monday, said American travelers should use “particular caution” in the coming weeks and through Feb. 24.

“Current information suggests that (ISIS), Al Qaeda, Boko Haram and other terrorist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks in multiple regions,” the State Department wrote.

The possible attacks could include “a wide variety of tactics … targeting both official and private interests,” the State Department added.

That’s odd – 11 days ago, on Friday morning before their Paris attack, President Obama reassured us all that ISIS is “contained.” Perhaps Mr. Obama failed to add, “within our solar system.”

But speaking of being afraid, journalists at the Daily News, serving as Charles Schumer’s Democratic operatives with bylines, are way ahead of Barry on the fear front:


As AWR Hawkins writes at Big Government, “NY Daily News Sets Up NRA To Be Scapegoat For Future Terror Attack:”

After a week of subtly baiting the NRA to enter into a shouting match over the Democrats’ efforts to expand background checks to include the no-fly list, the New York Daily News is taking the not-so-subtle approach of setting up the NRA to be the scapegoat for any future firearm-related terror attack.

The NY Daily News is going about this in the classic leftist sense by vilifying NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre–criticizing him for refusing to take the Democrats’ bait and come out swinging in the wake of the heinous Paris terror attacks. And having vilified him, they then continue their attack without ever feeling the need to explain why a no-fly list that includes a 4-year old going to visit his grandmother is supposed to be part of the database through which background checks are run.

Moreover, they do not explain how a no-fly list so imprecise that it once barred Senator Ted Kennedy from commercial flights is now the key to keeping American safe.

Instead, the NY Daily News overlooks the imprecision of the no-fly list and quotes Senator Church Schumer (D-NY) saying, “The same nefarious individual we monitor and bar from our planes, we turn the other way when it comes to allowing them to get guns and explosives. The NRA has fought tooth and nail to prevent these individuals from the terror watchlist from being added over the past several years.”

And for good reason, Sean Davis adds at the Federalist.Sorry Democrats, But There Is No ‘Loophole’ That Allows Terrorists To Legally Buy Guns — In their zeal to defeat Republican terrorists, Democrats have decided that the constitutional right to due process is a loophole that must be closed:”

According to several Democratic sponsors of the bill, the proposed law would allow the attorney general to deny a criminal background check clearance to any individual whose name appears on the national terror watch list. The huge problem with this expansive new power is that there are precisely zero statutory criteria for inclusion on this massive list. In fact, when statutory authority for the centralized government database was first codified into law via the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, Congress gave all authority for determining criteria for inclusion in the watch list to unelected, unaccountable government bureaucrats. If some faceless Beltway bureaucrat decides you might be a terrorist, then you’re a terrorist. End of story.

It gets even worse, though. If your name erroneously appears on that watch list, which as of 2013 included nearly 900,000 names, the Democrats’ proposed legislation renders you virtually powerless to find out why your name is on there, let alone to have it removed. And having your name erroneously or fraudulently added to that list isn’t as far-fetched as you might think.

In 2014, for example, Weekly Standard writer and Fox News contributor Stephen F. Hayes was informed that somebody added his name to the Department of Homeland Security’s terrorist watch list. There is zero credible evidence that he has any ties whatsoever to terrorism or to any terrorist organizations. Yet, under the Democrats’ new bill, he and everyone else who is erroneously listed would be banned from ever purchasing or possessing a firearm. Hayes’ apparent crime was traveling overseas for a cruise. Hayes is not alone. Each year, thousands of names end up on the terror watch list for no good reason whatsoever.

Under the Democrats’ proposal, the government doesn’t have to tell you why your name is on the list. The proposed law allows the government to keep that information secret. And if you decide to take the government to court over it, the Democrats’ bill creates a brand new legal standard that tilts the scales of justice against you.

As Charles Cooke writes, “Let us avoid gloss or euphemism and speak plainly: This idea flies directly in the face of every cherished American conception of justice, and it should be rejected with extreme prejudice:”

You will note, I hope, that Reid, Schumer, Jentleson, and co. are not proposing to place restrictions on those who have been “accused,” “charged,” or “convicted,” but upon those who are “suspected.” They are not referring to those who are working their way through the judicial system, but to those who remain outside of it. They are not seeking to limit the rights of those who are out on bail or awaiting trial, but those who have not so much as been handcuffed. Loudly and proudly, they are arguing in favor of removing fundamental rights from anyone whose name has been written down on a list. Because they hope to confuse the public, their talk is peppered with references to “Paris-style” “assault” rifles and “automatic” weapons. But this is a red herring: Their proposal applies equally to guns of all types, not just those that give Shannon Watts and Diane Feinstein the willies.

In times past, officials advocating the simultaneous undermining of a range of constitutional rights would have been tarred, feathered, and dumped into the sea, along with their staff, their press agents, and anyone else who saw fit to acquiesce in the scheme. A little of that spirit might be welcome here.

However the press might cast it, there are not in fact “two sides” to this issue. It is not a “tricky question.” It is not a “thorny one” or a “gray area” or a “difficult choice.” It is tyranny. Somewhere, deep down, its advocates must know this. Presumably, Chuck Schumer would not submit that those on a terror watch list should be deprived of their right to speak? Presumably, Harry Reid would not contend that they must be kept away from their mosques? Presumably, Diane Feinstein would not argue that they should be subjected to warrantless searches and seizures? Such proposals would properly be considered disgraceful — perhaps, even, as an overture to American fascism. Alas, there is something about guns that causes otherwise reasonable people to lose their minds.

And lose their minds the bill’s champions have. As of today, there are almost one million names on the terror watch list — that’s names, not identities — of which around 280,000 are linked to nothing much at all. This should not surprise, for one does not in fact have to do a great deal in order to find one’s way onto the list. Perhaps you know someone who is already on it? That’s suspicious, right? On you go! Perhaps you have annoyed someone powerful? Oops! On you go! Perhaps you once said something intemperate in public? Better to be safe. On you go! Perhaps you are a Muslim? On. You. Go.

Oh well – “travel at your own risk,” the New York Daily News would likely sniff in response.

Related: Schumer plans for Senate Democrats to “bring a universal background check bill to the floor of the Senate early next year.” Moe Lane responds, “Senate Democrats could have done this in 2009 when they had sixty votes in the Senate, instead of the forty-five they have now.  Of course, if they had we’d probably have sixty votes in the Senate right now and a President who would have cheerfully signed a repeal bill in 2013. What is Senator Schumer’s victory condition, here? Does he even know?”

ISLAM: ‘THE STRONGEST RETROGRADE FORCE IN THE WORLD,’ Roger Kimball writes, borrowing his headline from President Obama’s Voldemort:

George Orwell famously observed that an indispensable adjunct to freedom is a willingness to call things by their real names. Islamic extremism is not, as a British home secretary once fatuously declared, “anti-Islamic activity,” nor is the slaughter of a baker’s dozen U.S. soldiers in Texas by a radicalized Muslim officer an instance of “workplace violence.” Euphemism is the enemy of true security.

What is the relation between Islamic extremism and “mainstream” Islamic thought? That is not, we would suggest with sadness, an easy question to answer. Winston Churchill, writing about Islam back in 1899 in The River War, observed that “no stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund:”

Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science—the science against which it had vainly struggled—the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome.

These days, it is worth noting, Islamic entities are scrambling to achieve mastery of “the strong arms of science,” as Iran’s rapidly accelerating nuclear program should remind us. “Death to America!” is a chant one often hears echoing from the mullah-besotted crowds in Iran. Ayaan Hirsi Ali outlined one possible course of action. Barack Obama, who seems to believe that the greatest threat to national security is Republicans, not ISIS, pointed to another when, a couple of days after the massacre in Paris, he noted impatiently that “what I’m not interested in doing is posing or pursuing some notion of American leadership or America winning or whatever other slogans they come up with. . . . I’m too busy for that.” It’s not pretty, but at least we know where we stand.

Huh — Roger spelled “supine” wrong in that last sentence. But read the whole thing anyway.

NAZISM, LIKE OTHER FORMS OF SOCIALISM, IS AN OPPORTUNISTIC INFECTION THAT APPEARS WHEN THE BODY POLITIC IS WEAKENED: Guards at Berlin refugee office ‘used Nazi language and called for asylum-seekers to be sent to concentration camps.’ “‘In two years there will be a revolution here and we’ll clean it all out,’ the guard appears to say.”


The location is New Orleans; home of many political footballs in the last decade. The incident was a shooting; the most (forgive me) triggering situation possible in American discourse. The number of victims was 17; more than were shot in Charleston. The setting? A playground.

A playground.

This is news from Louisiana on Sunday. Seventeen people were shot but survived when gunfire erupted on on a playground where a block party was going in New Orleans. If you did not hear about it, do not be surprised. It was barely news. It is amazing to think that there was not a huge media blitz, that there were not the standard outrageous, grandstanding tweets, or the ridiculous parade of pseudo-experts on CNN and MSNBC to spend hours talking about gun control. The endless blog posts, the overwrought editorials. None of those. And why is that?

Read the whole thing.

THIS ISN’T REALLY A SURPRISE: Agriculture Linked to DNA Changes in Ancient Europe. “The agricultural revolution was one of the most profound events in human history, leading to the rise of modern civilization. Now, in the first study of its kind, an international team of scientists has found that after agriculture arrived in Europe 8,500 years ago, people’s DNA underwent widespread changes, altering their height, digestion, immune system and skin color.” Evolution seems to happen faster than we used to believe, and genetic variances among populations seem to be more than cosmetic.

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THIS IS CNN: Christiane Amanpour Shames U.S. for Not Taking Unvettable Syrian Refugees — Then Fails to Vet Her Radical Muslim Guest.

Earlier: MSNBC’s ‘No-Fly List Is Islamophobia’ Poster Boy Arrested in Turkey as Part of ISIS Cell.


● “Athens on edge after explosion severely damages buildings — No injuries in timed blast in Greek capital, but it is feared anarchists angry at austerity policies may be launching wave of violence.”

The London Guardian today.

Gee, wouldn’t anarchists welcome less government collectivism — or could it be that we’ve always been looking for anarchists in all the wrong places? If so, why does the left continue to brand them as “anarchists,” instead of embracing them as their shock troops breaking a few eggs now and then to keep advancing the change (never mind the “hope”)?

REVIEW: The 2017 Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe Is a Supercar for the Real World.

PRINCETON STUDENTS FIGHT BACK: Steven Hayward over at Power Line shares a letter that a group of intrepid Princeton students has sent to the President of the University:

Dear President Eisgruber,

We write on behalf of the Princeton Open Campus Coalition to request a meeting with you so that we may present our perspectives on the events of recent weeks. We are concerned mainly with the importance of preserving an intellectual culture in which allmembers of the Princeton community feel free to engage in civil discussion and to express their convictions without fear of being subjected to intimidation or abuse. Thanks to recent polls, surveys, and petitions, we have reason to believe that our concerns are shared by a majority of our fellow Princeton undergraduates. . . .

This dialogue is necessary because many students have shared with us that they are afraid to state publicly their opinions on recent events for fear of being vilified, slandered, and subjected to hatred, either by fellow students or faculty. Many who questioned the protest were labeled racist, and black students who expressed disagreement with the protesters were called “white sympathizers” and were told they were “not black.” We, the Princeton Open Campus Coalition, refuse to let our peers be intimidated or bullied into silence on these–or any–important matters. . . . 

We oppose efforts to purge (and literally paint over) recognitions of Woodrow Wilson’s achievements, including Wilson College, the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and his mural in Wilcox Dining Hall. As you have noted, Wilson, like all other historical figures, has a mixed legacy. It is not for his contemptible racism, but for his contributions as president of both Princeton and the United States that we honor Wilson. Moreover, if we cease honoring flawed individuals, there will be no names adorning our buildings, no statues decorating our courtyards, and no biographies capable of inspiring future generations.

We worry that the proposed distribution requirement will contribute to the politicization of the University and facilitate groupthink. However, we, too, are concerned about diversity in the classroom and offer our own solution to this problem. While we do not wish to impose additional distribution requirements on students for fear of stifling academic exploration, we believe that all students should be encouraged to take courses taught by professors who will challenge their preconceived mindsets. To this end, the University should make every effort to attract outstanding faculty representing a wider range of viewpoints–even controversial viewpoints–across all departments. Princeton needs more Peter Singers, more Cornel Wests, and more Robert Georges.

Similarly, we believe that requiring cultural competency training for faculty threatens to impose orthodoxies on issues about which people of good faith often disagree. As Professor Sergiu Klainerman has observed, it reeks of the reeducation programs to which people in his native Romania were subjected under communist rule.

As Hayward observes, “May I suggest that employers write down the names of each of these signatories, for the obvious reason that they’re the kind of young people you want to hire.”


“This Thanksgiving, Remember America’s Pilgrims Were Refugees, Too.”

—Igor Bobic, Associate Politics Editor, The Huffington Post, yesterday.

● “Why Thanksgiving Is A ‘National Day Of Mourning’ For Some Americans — ‘Some would say, ‘Why be so dark about it?’ Well, it’s real, it’s truthful, it was a holocaust,’ says the head of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribal council.”

—Sam Levine, Associate Politics Editor, The Huffington Post, yesterday.

Given that for the left “the personal is political,” isn’t everyone an “associate politics editor” at the Huffington Post?

And as Daniel Payne of the Federalist tweets, “The holiday season always makes liberals insanely paranoid.”


THIS JUST MEANS THAT RICH PEOPLE WILL BE GUINEA PIGS FOR EVERYONE ELSE: Early Gene Therapies Will Have 6 and 7 Figure Price Tags. Prices will start out high, but drop dramatically over time. That said, saving extra money for retirement to fund potentially very expensive treatments — or, perhaps, treatments only available outside the U.S. — is a good idea.

THAT SOUNDS GREAT, THOUGH ALSO LIKE THE PREMISE FOR SOME SORT OF APOCALYPTIC SCIENCE FICTION MOVIE: Mutagenic chain reaction could knock malaria out of mosquitoes for good: Infectious DNA spreads parasite-resistance to whole population of biting insects.

THE DEATH OF COMEDY: Read the whole thing.

And relax — it will be all right on the night.

ALSO, CHEATING: VW’s Slow Agony Illustrates Carmakers’ Problem With Software.


Since none of your gentle rebukes have worked, it’s time to level with your ThinkProgress blogger niece. “Honey, everyone at this table loves you very much. But today isn’t about arguing. Thanksgiving is about counting our blessings and sharing just one day with family from around the country. All of us have different views on politics, religion, football and everything else. But today is about setting all that aside and remembering what we have in common: Family. Now, who wants seconds?”

Read the whole thing.

SO SHE’S EMBRACING A TERRORISTS’ VETO? Hillary Clinton says blocking Syrian refugees will make Muslims angry at police officers.

Clinton, who wants to import thousands of Syrian refugees, told reporters in Reno that it would look bad not to let in Syrian refugees, and that might inflame Muslims against law enforcement.

“If you’re in law enforcement, … you want the people in the communities that you are looking to get information from to feel like they want to help you,” Clinton said at a Nevada roundtable. “And if the message from people who are running for president, for example, is that we don’t want to take any Muslims whatsoever, that’s not good for law enforcement.”

“Let’s not be casting this broad, negative rejection of everybody who might be Muslim. That is not smart to protect ourselves. And I want people to understand — that is a law enforcement issue,” Clinton added.

Translated: We’d better let every Muslim refugee in, otherwise Muslims already present in the U.S. will commit acts of terrorism and other violence. Well, that sounds logical.

LIFE IN THE 21ST CENTURY: The self-driving car is almost here: Volvo latest to unveil its version.

RICHARD EPSTEIN: Obama’s ISIS Paralysis.

Plus: Obama’s Syrian Refugee Debacle.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 929.

‘BLACK LIVES MATTER’ GETS ONE RIGHT: Woodrow Wilson Was a Terrible Racist:

Wilson even wrote a book that served as the foundation for the infamous movie The Birth of a Nation.

Princeton should rescind every honor given to this vile man.

But to be consistent, the university must also make an effort to explain to the Black Lives Matter students that Wilson’s racism was intrinsically linked to his Progressivism. The dangerous political ideology believes all individuals are servants to the state; I don’t expect that correcting this side of the Wilson story will be prioritized over there anytime soon.

Of course not – the essence of “Progressivism” is to sell collectivism under the guise of wild hedonism and Nietzschean extreme individualism, a sleight of hand that’s been going strong on (at least) two continents for a century or so.

JIM GERAGHTY: Why the Facts of American Muslims and 9/11 Matter. “We cannot be a party or a movement that gets its understanding of the world from chain-e-mails from Uncle Leo.”

I dunno, it worked okay for Obama. And I think anger at that fact is why so many people don’t care about Trump’s various excesses. You want no rules? Okay! No rules it is! That’s not good for the country, of course, but then, few of Obama’s legacies are.

GANGSTER GOVERNMENT: Analysts Accuse CENTCOM of Covering Up Cooked ISIS Intelligence. “At the heart of the analysts’ allegations is what they describe as a persistent effort by Grove and his team to downplay or even change reports that that questioned how much progress a U.S.-led coalition is making in the Obama administration’s stated goal to degrade, destroy, and defeat ISIS.”

When Obama found out about it in the newspapers, he was more angry than anyone.

JAMIE KIRCHICK: Jeremy Corbyn And the Derangement Of The British Left: Revisiting the 1982 novel that foretold Jeremy Corbyn’s rise—and revealed the conspiratorial worldview at the heart of contemporary Leftist politics.

Corbyn is the most radical politician ever to be elected leader of a mainstream British political party and today stands as perhaps the most radical leader of a social democratic party in the Western world. An unreconstructed socialist, he is the sort of figure whom former Prime Minister Tony Blair was supposed to have consigned to irrelevance with his “New Labour” modernization project, which began with eliminating the clause from the party constitution mandating the struggle for “common ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange.” Nary a colleague at Westminster—on whose backbenches Corbyn had noisily sat for his entire 32 year career as an MP, not once serving in a Labour government or Shadow Cabinet—could have expected that this bearded sexagenarian would ever obtain a leadership position, never mind become party leader himself. It wasn’t just Corbyn’s extreme left-wing views that made such a scenario implausible. A loner whose hobbies consist of making his own jam and taking pictures of manhole covers, Corbyn isn’t the clubbable bloke who gathers political chits. He’s a variation on another British type, the eccentric of the vegetarian teetotaler variety. . . .

This conviction that “bourgeois democracy” is a mere façade for the ruling capitalist class to exploit the masses has its origins, of course, in the theories of Karl Marx. German philosopher Herbert Marcuse later devised the term “repressive tolerance” to characterize Western democracy as a massive confidence trick: Its vaunted “tolerance” for classical liberal rights like freedom of speech, voting, and the rule of law is actually “repressive” as it “impedes possible improvement of the human condition” by blinding people to the inherently unfair and oppressive system under which they live. What Marcuse proposed, by contrast, was “liberating tolerance”, a deviously oxymoronic concept meaning “intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left.”

Such philosophical legitimization for totalitarianism, in its pettier form, has inspired the poisonous climate of political correctness on American college campuses, where staged outrage has become a key tool of what used to be called revolutionary intolerance. As a political agenda, however, it justifies trampling on countless millions in the realization of teleological “progress.” Marcuse arrogated to “small, powerless minorities”—a.k.a. the Leninist vanguard—a right to use force in achieving their ends, bringing about the demise of Western liberal democratic societies in the process. For “if they use violence, they do not start a new chain of violence but try to break an established one”, the “established” “chain of violence” being Western societies themselves. In this addled dispensation, the way in which the basic components of “bourgeois democracy”—private enterprise, independent media, the criminal justice system, etc.—keep power in the hands of the ruling class is “structural violence”, a form of coercion whose pervasiveness is matched only by its subtlety. Once a term rarely heard outside university sociology departments, “structural violence” has come into vogue again as a bogeyman of the anti-policing movement now sweeping the United States. . . . Jeremy Corbyn has spent his entire political career marinating in this same extremist political milieu, where notions like freedom of speech and the rule of law are considered superficial trappings propping up an unjust system.

I remember explaining “Critical Legal Studies” to a sitting judge back in the 1980s. “Crap,” he said, “I thought that shit died with Marcuse.” If only.


POLITICIANS LIKE IT THIS WAY, BECAUSE THE LONG-TERM WELFARE OF THE COMMUNITY IS NOT A PRIORITY FOR THEM: The Accounting Rules That Bankrupt Cities: The cash-basis accounting system allows governments to make financial commitments that they won’t be able to fulfill in the future.

But why would you give power to people for whom the long-term welfare of the community is not a priority?

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MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Obama’s Syrian Refugee Debacle: Characterizing Republicans as xenophobes won’t hide the fact that president’s foreign policy failures created refugee crisis. To be fair, he had a lot of help from Hillary.

AND NOW FOR A SPOT OF GOOD NEWS: Jeff Bezos just launched and landed the world’s first reusable suborbital rocket.

Here’s more from Bezos himself. “We are building Blue Origin to seed an enduring human presence in space, to help us move beyond this blue planet that is the origin of all we know.”

UPDATE: More here.