April 20, 2015

ONWARD, CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS! Er, okay, so maybe he’s not exactly a Christian soldier: A Colorado Biker Who Calls Himself ‘Necromancer’ Is Fighting ISIS In Iraq. “I’m here for the people, nobody else. I’m here for all of those who want to live a peaceful life that has been deprived to them by ISIS. I don’t care about politics or religion. That’s not what I’m here for.”

JOHN FUND: Fiorina Has Hillary Defenders Worried. I like Carly Fiorina. She fights. Can we find out what she drinks, and send it to all the other Republicans?

DON’T WORRY! WE HAVE SMART DIPLOMACYTM ON THE JOB! Oh, by the way: The U.S. and Iran may be headed for war off the coast of Yemen. Sink ‘em all!

LAWS ARE FOR THE LITTLE PEOPLE: Scooby hits the road at 92 MPH! Secret Service zooms Hillary to dinner through driving rain following secret afternoon house party. To be fair, if I were driving Hillary around I’d be in a hurry to reach the destination too.

ED DRISCOLL: How an Internet Stuffed to the Gills with ‘Nonjudgmental’ Users Became a Shame-Storm.

Lefties aren’t non-judgmental. They’re just afraid of being judged.

TONI MORRISON: “I want to see a cop shoot a white unarmed teenager in the back.” Get a grip, you old hater.

You know, I was reading some piece of historical fiction or other where physicians were talking about curing the plague by putting a dead rat over the buboes to draw the poisons to the surface. Barack Obama is our dead rat. Since he has occupied the White House, all manner of poisons — already there, but not visible — have been drawn to the surface. Toni Morrison is just the latest example. Though, if she weren’t a bitter racist, she’d know about stories like this one.

UPDATE: Ed Driscoll remembers when lefties were swearing off the rhetoric of violence. Yeah, that didn’t last long. It never does with them.

OBAMA’S NATIONAL SECURITY DREAM TEAM:  . . . is more like a nightmare.  Scott Johnson over at Powerline catalogs the top Obama security advisors, and reading it, one can’t help but feel like Edvard Munch’s The Scream.

It reminds me of a scrawny JV team (with DOD Secretary Ashton Carter as the only promising prospect), which is ironic, considering that President Obama referred to ISIS as an al Qaeda JV.


This is one of the creepiest articles I have ever read. It reminds me of my experience being SWATted — having armed police rush into my home in what looked like retaliation for my speech. Yet in the case described in the article, the SWATting is actually being carried out . . . by the government.

In Wisconsin, citizens had cops bust into their homes with battering rams. Property was taken from their homes, in full view of the neighbors — and in some cases officers mocked them. Then the citizens were told that they could tell nobody about what had happened. If they did, they could go to jail.

All for exercising their First Amendment rights. Essentially, for being conservatives.

And on Twitter, some lefties — including allegedly reputable outfits like the Alliance For Justice — are celebrating it. Alliance for Justice? More like “Alliance for Just Us.”

Related: “America, land of the free, home of battering-ram home invasions of conservative critics of state officials.”

UPDATE: Kevin Williamson:

Every time a local grand jury investigating a police department comes to a decision that some politicians don’t like, there is a call for a federal civil-rights investigation. In Wisconsin, we have a clear and obvious case of out-of-control authorities conducting a campaign, possibly criminal, of police suppression targeting people for their political beliefs, a gross violation of their civil rights.

Where’s the investigation?

Question for the lawyers here: Isn’t this a case for the Civil Rights Act of 1871, a.k.a. the Klan Act? That act forbids any state or local authority acting under color of law from depriving U.S. citizens of their civil rights under federal law. This seems like an obvious remedy to me.

Well, the Klan was a bunch of Democrats concerned about the locals getting uppity, too.

ANOTHER UPDATE: In the comments, Prof. Stephen Clark observes:

Every Democrat should repeatedly be asked whether they support the police state tactics used by Democrats in Wisconsin. As with Rand Paul every media interviewer should be asked by candidates to answer the same as the price for continuing the interview.

Wisconsin Democrats should be made into a public embarrassment for Democrats generally. Behavior of this kind will cease only when it carries a global political cost.

Indeed. Excellent point.

DISGRACEFUL: Automakers to gearheads: Stop repairing cars: Car Companies Say Home Repairs Are ‘Legally Problematic,’ Seek Copyright Restrictions. “Automakers are supporting provisions in copyright law that could prohibit home mechanics and car enthusiasts from repairing and modifying their own vehicles. In comments filed with a federal agency that will determine whether tinkering with a car constitutes a copyright violation, OEMs and their main lobbying organization say cars have become too complex and dangerous for consumers and third parties to handle.”

When you buy stuff, you should own it, and busybodies should stuff it. And this is just further proof that copyright law has gone way too far, and become a big-business-protection racket, not something devoted to promoting the progress of science and the useful arts.

WHISTLE, BLOWN: Fired staffer accuses Tammy Baldwin’s office of coverup in VA scandal.

WE VALUE DIVERSITY, WE JUST DON’T LIKE PEOPLE WHO ARE DIFFERENT: Calgary Expo faces consumer backlash after expelling female critics of feminism. “A group of female webcomic artists and online radio hosts have been ejected from the Calgary Expo, a Canadian pop culture convention, after publicly disagreeing with members of a feminist panel discussion. Staff at the expo informed them that they had received reports of ‘harassment’ at the panel, but footage of the discussion shows that no such behaviour took place. Consumers accused the Calgary Expo of engaging in political intolerance, and have begun a boycott of the convention’s sponsors. . . . Consumers aren’t just speaking out on Twitter. They’re also complaining to the Calgary Expo’s sponsors, which include CMP Chevrolet, Vue Weekly, Pattison Outdoor advertising, Air Electronics, and ATB Financial. Threads to co-ordinate the email campaign have been posted on Reddit and 8chan.”

SO THIS IS BASICALLY STATE-SANCTIONED HAZING: The Footwear Cadets Were Allegedly Forced to Wear During Political Event March Has Sparked an Uproar. As the commenters note, this was just an effort to humiliate men in the service of PC ideology.

UPDATE: From the comments:

The Canadian Army is deploying to the Ukraine.

The US Army is wearing high heels.


Hopey-changey. And admit it, if in 2012 I’d said, re-elect Obama and you’ll see American fighting men forced to march in red high heels, you’d have thought I was over the top crazy, wouldn’t you? But then, there were a lot of real predictions about Obama’s presidency that seemed crazy and paranoid, but that have also turned out to be true. . . .

TROLL LEVEL: GRANDMASTER. Kurt Schlichter: Sexy Conservatives Will Out-Breed Barren Liberals. “The last time some Twitter leftist sneered at me and called me a ‘breeder,’ I wondered whether this collectivist genius considered not reproducing to be a wise long-term strategy. . . . Liberal women, encouraged by the sour crones of the radical feminist movement, often wait far too long to marry and to begin families. They were lied to – you can’t have it all. Life is choices, and a family is a choice that means trade-offs. Choose unwisely, and one may not be able to undue the relentless ticking of the biological clock. And as far as liberal men go, well, just look at them. It’s hard muster raw sexual energy when you think foreplay consists of sobbing to your life partner about how you can’t bear the weight of your undeserved phallocentic privilege.”

BECAUSE EQUALITY! Pressure grows on Marines to consider lowering combat standards for women.

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MY THOUGHTS IN USA TODAY: Wisconsin’s Dirty Prosecutors Pull A Putin.


Eric O’Keefe and the Wisconsin Club for Growth — two of the targets in the John Doe investigations I wrote about today — have filed suit against the prosecution team that made their lives so unrelentingly miserable. Unfortunately, that lawsuit — like many lawsuits against the “deep state” — faces multiple hurdles that are wholly unrelated to the underlying merits of the case itself. In fact, the federal Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that O’Keefe’s case was barred by the federal Anti-Injunction Act, which prohibits federal courts from enjoining some state proceedings. O’Keefe and the Wisconsin Club for Growth have petitioned the Supreme Court for review, and the Court will determine whether to take the case very soon. Yet the Anti-Injunction Act is just one hurdle that litigants have to clear. Prosecutors enjoy extensive immunities, damages are notoriously difficult to obtain, and injunctions can’t turn back time to undo the effects of suppressed speech or make terrified families whole.

Nope. That’s why partisan prosecutor John Chisholm and his tame judge Barbara Kluka should be shunned, condemned, subjected to a shower of ethics complaints, protested wherever they appear, and otherwise given the kind of treatment that the Left dishes out to the people that it doesn’t like, until they have suffered more than their victims. Pour encourager les autres.


I say that I look forward to having a normal president again — or rather, a president whom people treat normally. A president whom the press criticizes, and gangs up on. A president whom comedians joke about. And a president who doesn’t treat all criticism, and all opposition, as illegitimate. (I’m talking about criticism of, and opposition to, himself, of course.)

Yeah, well, don’t expect that from Hillary.

CHILD SUPPORT NEWS: Skip Child Support. Go to Jail. Lose Job. Repeat.

By his own telling, the first time Walter L. Scott went to jail for failure to pay child support, it sent his life into a tailspin.

He lost what he called “the best job I ever had” when he spent two weeks in jail. Some years he paid. More recently, he had not. Two years ago, when his debt reached nearly $8,000 and he missed a court date, a warrant was issued for his arrest. By last month, the amount had more than doubled, to just over $18,000.

That warrant, his family now speculates, loomed large in Mr. Scott’s death. On April 4, he was pulled over for a broken taillight, fled on foot and, after a scuffle with a police officer, was fatally shot in the back.

The warrant, the threat of another stay behind bars and the potential loss of yet another job caused him to run, a brother, Rodney Scott, said.

“Every job he has had, he has gotten fired from because he went to jail because he was locked up for child support,” said Mr. Scott, whose brother was working as a forklift operator when he died. “He got to the point where he felt like it defeated the purpose.”

Related: Forgiving $38,750 in Child Support, for My Kids’ Sake.

Earlier this year, I spent three hours sitting on a hard, wooden bench in the Queens County Family Court, waiting for a judge to approve my petition to forgive $38,750 in child support arrears from my ex-husband.

The judge said, “Well this is a rare one,” then asked me several times if I was aware of what I was doing and if I had received legal counsel. When I told my single mom friends, they looked at me as if I had committed an act of treason. “Child support is all we have!” one friend exclaimed.

Is it?

This was not a decision for divorce lawyers or court clerks. Or the unofficial single moms club, for that matter. This was about redefining what child support really is, for our family — and it’s a redefinition that other families should consider.

We have too often reduced nonresidential fathers to being weighed and judged by a financial transaction. If you don’t pay, you’re a “dead beat.” End of one story, beginning of a new one, one that can mean suspended drivers’ licenses and professional licenses, seized bank deposits and tax refunds, and the very real risk of jail time. The family of Walter Scott, who was fatally shot in the back following a traffic stop, speculates that a similar narrative led him to flee the police, fearing another lost job and another jail stint. It can also mean some mothers blocking access to children (called “pay per view”) and children becoming pawns in a game that puts their development and psychological well-being on the line.

For many, many reasons, I was determined to ensure that our family story did not include any version of that too-common series of events.

And note this from the first item:

Rodney Scott said his brother resented that his ex-wife was not required to work and that the pressure was always on him to pay support. Critics of the child support system say this imbalance is reflected in rules that say that if a mother receives public assistance, the father must pay it back, even if he is also poor. . . .

Ms. Turetsky, the head of the federal child support office, said the system should be based on the expectation that both parents would contribute toward their children’s needs. “It’s nuts,” she said of the policy of making destitute fathers repay welfare. “She gets the assistance; he gets charged with the bill.”

The system takes a punitive approach to fathers that it would never take toward mothers.

BECAUSE DEATH IS SO FUNNY (OR BECAUSE THE DEAD DON’T VOTE?):   An op-ed in today’s Washington Post argues that it’s okay for health care professionals to make fun of dying patients.  And while I confess to chuckling at some of the euphemisms for death (e.g., “circling the drain”), overall I find such attitudes crass.  But in typical liberal/progressive style, the author tries to assure us that there are some limits:    “That’s not to excuse all humor by health-care professionals. For example, mocking disabilities and using racial, ethnic or other cruel epithets go too far.”

Okay, so let me get this straight:  It’s okay to make fun of the dying, but not their ethnicity or race.  Because racism and stuff.   Plus, cynically, dead people can’t vote Democrat, so they are fair game for off-color humor.  Well, wait a minute, that’s not quite true.

UPDATE:  As a viewer points out, apparently such macabre humor is completely unacceptable, however, when it emanates from conservatives, as the tea party candidate for U.S. Senate in Kansas (unsuccessfully challenging Pat Roberts), Dr. Milton Wolf,  found out.   As an added bonus, our informed reader notes that Dr. Wolf is a distant cousin of none other that President Obama.

OUT: STRING BIKINIS. In: C-String Bikinis.

DISPATCHES FROM LIBERTARIAN UTOPIA: Uber Driver With Carry Permit Stops Mass Killing By Shooting Gunman.

Authorities say no charges will be filed against an Uber driver who shot and wounded a gunman who opened fire on a crowd of people in Logan Square over the weekend.

The driver had a concealed-carry permit and acted in the defense of himself and others, Assistant State’s Attorney Barry Quinn said in court Sunday.

A group of people had been walking in front of the driver around 11:50 p.m. in the 2900 block of North Milwaukee Avenue when Everardo Custodio, 22, began firing into the crowd, Quinn said.

The driver pulled out a handgun and fired six shots at Custodio, hitting him several times, according to court records. Responding officers found Custodio lying on the ground, bleeding, Quinn said. No other injuries were reported.

Okay, it’s Chicago, which isn’t a libertarian utopia. But even there, tiny shards of libertarian utopia can creep through.

“HANDS UP, DON’T SHOOT!”:   But it’s not your stereotypical white-officer-in-minority-neighborhood situation, where we are admonished by the political left that “Black Lives Matter.“  Instead, it’s in America’s Heartland, Wisconsin.  And the targets are–gasp!–conservatives who supported modification of Wisconsin’s collective bargaining rules for public employees.  In this terrific new piece at National Review Online, David French breaks down the shocking excessive force used against conservative targets of the so-called “John Doe” investigation.  In the words of one target, “Anne”:

“It’s a matter of life or death.”

That was the first thought of “Anne” (not her real name). Someone was pounding at her front door. It was early in the morning — very early — and it was the kind of heavy pounding that meant someone was either fleeing from — or bringing — trouble.

“It was so hard. I’d never heard anything like it. I thought someone was dying outside.”

She ran to the door, opened it, and then chaos. “People came pouring in. For a second I thought it was a home invasion. It was terrifying. They were yelling and running, into every room in the house. One of the men was in my face, yelling at me over and over and over.”

It was indeed a home invasion, but the people who were pouring in were Wisconsin law-enforcement officers. Armed, uniformed police swarmed into the house. Plainclothes investigators cornered her and her newly awakened family. Soon, state officials were seizing the family’s personal property, including each person’s computer and smartphone, filled with the most intimate family information.

Why were the police at Anne’s home? She had no answers. The police were treating them the way they’d seen police treat drug dealers on television.

In fact, TV or movies were their only points of reference, because they weren’t criminals. They were law-abiding. They didn’t buy or sell drugs. They weren’t violent. They weren’t a danger to anyone. Yet there were cops — surrounding their house on the outside, swarming the house on the inside. They even taunted the family as if they were mere “perps.”

As if the home invasion, the appropriation of private property, and the verbal abuse weren’t enough, next came ominous warnings.

Don’t call your lawyer.

Don’t tell anyone about this raid. Not even your mother, your father, or your closest friends.

The entire neighborhood could see the police around their house, but they had to remain silent. This was not the “right to remain silent” as uttered by every cop on every legal drama on television — the right against self-incrimination. They couldn’t mount a public defense if they wanted — or even offer an explanation to family and friends.

Yet no one in this family was a “perp.” Instead, like Cindy, they were American citizens guilty of nothing more than exercising their First Amendment rights to support Act 10 and other conservative causes in Wisconsin. Sitting there shocked and terrified, this citizen — who is still too intimidated to speak on the record — kept thinking, “Is this America?”

Sadly, it is America, as controlled by a liberal/progressive agenda that inanely believes that conservatives who “coordinate” their political messages are somehow subverting the democratic process (rather than actually furthering it).

These secretive “John Doe” proceedings in Wisconsin are but a page in the progressives’ political playbook, evidenced by IRS targeting of tea party and other conservative groups, pressure on A&E to suspend Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson for making politically incorrect comments, and Rep. Raul Grijalva’s letter to 7 university presidents outing professors who dared to question global warming climate change (just to name a few): Harass conservatives; make it hard for them to raise money/make a living; get the media onboard to paint them as “shady,” subversive or dangerously ignorant; and tie them up with legal fees and lawsuits, with the goal of marginalizing and silencing them.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court is considering arguments in the case via papers only, to decide whether the secret prosecutions should be halted under Wisconsin law.  Oral arguments were cancelled to protect the identities of the targets.  Frankly, it’s shocking that it’s taken over 5 years to get consideration from the Wisconsin Supreme Court–5 years of abuse of free speech and association rights is too much.

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VELOCIPEDE WITH A CAGE: Babel Bike could be world’s safest bicycle. Video at the link.

OPERATOR ERROR: Tulsa Reserve Sheriff’s Deputy Mistakes Gun for TASER. Could It Happen to Anyone?

LIBYA’S MELTDOWN: Awkward Questions For Hillary.

I DUNNO, IT WAS AN ORGANIZED CONSPIRACY TO DEFRAUD THE GOVERNMENT: Atlanta’s cheating teachers are not mobsters. So while I agree that racketeering laws are overused, I’m not sure this case is as big a stretch as some.

“COMPLICIT:” FDR’s Refusal to Save the Jews on the MS St. Louis.

LAWS ARE FOR THE LITTLE PEOPLE: WRONG WAY RAHM: Mayor’s SUV Runs More Red Lights, Drives Wrong Way, City Cameras Show.


JOURNALISM: Media Mob Steps In It Again; Fails to Vet Britt McHenry Story in Rush to Judgment. “Another aspect that wasn’t even broached was the video clearly being edited via flash edits, which is often used in broadcast circles to marry different sound bites from one person without awkward jump cuts throughout (the flashes separate the bites while not breaking up the overall narrative).”

ROGER SIMON: Whatever You Think About Hillary, It’s Worse!

MYRON MAGNET: Free Speech In Peril. “If it sounds as though we are back in the days when ladies fainted at the mention of the legs of pianos, which had to wear skirts for decency, and when one couldn’t utter words ‘that would bring a blush to the cheek of a young person,’ as Dickens jeered, we are.” Punch back twice as hard. Censorship is less fun when it’s painful.

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TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 711.


The book, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times, asserts that foreign entities who made payments to the Clinton Foundation and to Mr. Clinton through high speaking fees received favors from Mrs. Clinton’s State Department in return.

“We will see a pattern of financial transactions involving the Clintons that occurred contemporaneous with favorable U.S. policy decisions benefiting those providing the funds,” Mr. Schweizer writes.

His examples include a free-trade agreement in Colombia that benefited a major foundation donor’s natural resource investments in the South American nation, development projects in the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake in 2010, and more than $1 million in payments to Mr. Clinton by a Canadian bank and major shareholder in the Keystone XL oil pipeline around the time the project was being debated in the State Department.

That sort of behavior is, of course, a carryover from Bill’s time in office. But here’s why Hillary should worry: “Major news organizations including The Times, The Washington Post and Fox News have exclusive agreements with the author to pursue the story lines found in the book.”

HUNTING THE WHITE MALE VOTER:  Democrats are beginning to reap the electoral effects of the hatred and divisiveness they’ve sown.  White, male voters are increasingly abandoning the Democrat party, which has shown disinterest in their concerns about economic opportunity and national security, preferring instead to focus on balkanizing Americans with the “war on women,” paranoia about/hostility toward police, and global warming climate change.

Good luck, Democrats.  With op-eds like this one from Charles Blow at the New York Times, I think you’ve got a lot of introspection and attitude readjustment to undertake before you will convince any Americans who define themselves as just “American” rather than “hyphen-American” to vote Democrat.  Blow’s attitude is typical:  Shut up and take it, white men.  You’re increasingly irrelevant, we think you are “privileged,” angry closet racists (talk about projection) and we don’t care about you.  Message received.

RELATED:  Former Virginia Senator Jim Webb has suggested he may challenge Hillary Clinton for the Democrat nomination because he thinks her campaign isn’t capable of wooing white male voters.  His perspective is almost quaint.  The post-Obama Democrat party is incapable, at present, of realizing the damage it has done and reforming its “divide and conquer” strategy.

FIRST JEFFREY EPSTEIN’S PEDO/RAPE ISLAND, NOW THIS: Menendez co-‘conspirator’ hosted Bill and Hillary at vacation getaway.

WHY MEN WON’T GET MARRIED: Sorry, ladies, but it’s all your fault.

An excerpt from Peter Lloyd’s Stand By Your Manhood, with a nice shoutout to the Insta-Wife’s Men On Strike.

ELIANA JOHNSON: Will Chris Christie Have A Comeback? “New Hampshirites see a lot of presidential hopefuls — there are no fewer than 17 here this weekend — but they seem to like Chris Christie. A crowd, not just the media, is here for this event, and it cheers him heartily. With so many candidates crisscrossing the state from small town to small town, that’s saying something. Christie’s performance in New Hampshire, now and in the coming months, will do a lot to determine his political future.”

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ED DRISCOLL: Jerry Brown’s Oedipal Struggle. “It isn’t just Jerry Brown; since the mid-1960s, the entire new left versus old, New Deal-era left struggle has been driven by an Oedipal Boomer-era hatred of their parents.”

ONLY IDIOTS EVER THOUGHT IT WAS INVINCIBLE: Oversight chairman: Capital’s ‘aura of invincibility’ has disappeared.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) on Sunday claimed that an incident involving a gyrocopter landing at the Capitol had raised concerns about protecting Washington, D.C.

“The aura of invincibility that law enforcement will prevail if someone jumps a fence or flies a gyrocopter has disappeared,” Chaffetz told host Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.”

“That shine is gone,” the House Oversight Committee chairman argued. “The question is what they’re going to do from here.”

Chaffetz said incidents like the gyrocopter landing or White House intrusions presented too much risk to vital Americans to treat lightly. After the 9/11 attacks, he continued, the stakes were too high for second guessing harsh defense measures.

“These are no-fail missions,” Chaffetz said of foiling potential safety threats. “You have to take them down and take them down hard.”

“You’ve got some real deranged people and some sophisticated terrorists that are going to come after us,” he continued. “This is going to happen again.”

The Utah lawmaker said he often worried about “coordination and cooperation” between Washington’s many law enforcement agencies. Their repeated failures, he continued, exposed major flaws in America’s domestic security.

My own feeling: There’s no reason to mount a big reaction here. The security agencies have been exposed as serially incompetent, and more money will probably just go for more hookers and blow. On the other hand, pretty much everything in the non-invincible capital is basically expendable. During the Cold War we used to worry that a Presidential assassination might be the precursor to a surprise massive nuclear attack, but those days are gone. The Republic would survive without you guys. It might even prosper. . . .

I THINK IT WAS IN NOVEMBER, 2008: When did America forget that it’s America? A lot of people did their best to help ensure that forgetfulness, though.

KEVIN WILLIAMSON: With Hillary, Appearances Are Everything.

Every Mystery Machine must have its Velma. You’ll remember Velma Dinkley, the grim-faced young fogey of the Scooby-Doo gang: turtleneck and knee socks, orange; pleated skirt and pumps, red; spectacle lenses a very groovy shade of aqua; hair in a severe, LPGA-ready bob. She was the thick and bookish counterpoint to the comely Daphne Blake. But the id moves in mysterious ways, and Velma has enjoyed a strange post-1970s career as a minor object of erotic fixation, being portrayed on film by the knockout Linda Cardellini and, in a dramatic illustration of Rule 34, by the pornographic actress Bobbi Starr. . . .

Sharon Stone, the Clintons, Scooby-Doo, the man-feminists of the New York art scene, the just-one-name-like-Sting-or-Cher thing: That Hillary Show has a distinctly retro feel to it already. We have seen this movie before: Last Vegas, The Bucket List, About Schmidt, John Podesta and Paul Begala starring in Grumpy Old Men. Once more unto the breach. The Lion in Winter, with all the domestic friction and succession drama but no lion.

Herself, who speaks in clichés and who gives some indication that she thinks in them, too, says that she is in the van — “Road trip!” she tweeted — because she is “hitting the road to earn your vote.” The Clintons — not too long ago “dead broke,” as Herself put it — have earned well more than $100 million since the president left office, the Washington Post reports, with his speech income alone amounting to some $105 million.

That’s armored-car money, and an armored car is of course what Herself is riding around in, as she did during her first Senate campaign. There is something ineffably Clintonesque in that: She declined the use of the customary limousine because she wanted to appear to share the lives and troubles of the ordinary people, so she rides around in a customized armored van, having spent a great deal of money — starting prices for such vehicles are comparable to those of Porsches — to avoid the appearance that she has a great deal of money. . . .

Appearances apparently do matter. That van is the cosmetic surgery of populism, the tummy tuck of a 1 percenter auditioning for a role somewhere between Evita and Auntie Mame. But the Clintons have always had a strange knack for getting people to admire them for their phoniness, not in spite of it. Their admirers — and there are many of them — are like those odd ducks who prefer breast implants to the genuine articles, the more obviously artificial the better.

That’s the strange thing about the career of Herself: Because she is a feminist, or at least a woman who plays one on television, to bring up the subject of her appearance is taken as prima facie chauvinism, boorish boobishness of the sort that illustrates exactly why we need a woman as president. (Maybe. But this woman?) At the same time, appearance is 83 percent of every presidential campaign, and 97 percent — at least — of a Hillary Rodham Clinton campaign. In some cases, the appeal is literally skin deep: When Team Herself unveiled its campaign icon — an uppercase “H” with a vector pointing to the right — the daft young actress Lena Dunham remarked that she wanted to get a “tramp stamp” tattoo of the logo.

Read the whole thing.

HMM: FBI agent testifies in Paula Broadwell cyberstalking case. “The FBI special agent who brought the David Petraeus-Paula Broadwell cyberstalking case to the attention of law enforcement recently testified that the FBI handled the case under political pressure because of the 2012 presidential election, ‘marginalizing’ and making crude insinuations about the victim in the case, Jill Kelley, whom they cast as ‘some femme fatale.’ . . . Though the Kelleys were the victims of the original cyberstalking case, as the Petraeus scandal exploded in the public, Jill Kelley’s name was dragged through the mud by unnamed Obama administration and law enforcement officials and many in the media painted her in a particularly unflattering light, the subject of the Kelley’s lawsuit.”

SO WHY ARE PEOPLE LEAVING? Every year since 2002, Minnesota has been losing residents to other states. What’s worse: Young adults are leaving in the greatest numbers. My first thought was that the cold climate hurts, and that they should be embracing global warming. But the evidence doesn’t really support that: “About a third of Minnesota’s ‘leavers’ tend to move to the border states of Wisconsin (16 percent), North Dakota (12 percent) and Iowa (6 percent).” Those are all pretty cold places.

TERRY MCAULIFFE, LOYAL FLACK: Va. governor defends Clinton’s ‘dead broke’ comments. “I cannot tell you the distress in that family at that time, with all the issues and all the legal fees, banks refusing to even give them a mortgage.”

Plus, from Chuck Todd: “They had nothing compared to a lot of rich friends.” Well, when you hang out with a lot of billionaires, yes, you have nothing compared with them. That’s not the same as “dead broke” except in a narcissistic psychological sense.

MICKEY KAUS: “Your Dem Dogma at Work: How to raise the (stagnant) median wage? Economist Jared Bernstein will propose anything – apprenticeship programs! pre-K education! refundable child care credits! – except tightening the labor market by controlling the influx of immigrant workers. … P.S.: Bernstein also wants something called ‘fair chance hiring’ for job seekers with criminal records. It would certainly be good if those people could get jobs. But does Bernstein really think employers will ever hire Americans ‘with criminal records’ if they can instead hire eager workers from an inexhaustible stream of immigrants?”

Bernstein won’t address this because the real point of immigration is to bring in a generation of docile Democratic voters.

CLICK AT YOUR PERIL: The Hillary Laugh Button.

April 19, 2015

IT’S COME TO THIS: Italian Government Says: We Must Bomb Libya To Make Sure Muslims Don’t Make Havoc In Italy. “Italy’s foreign minister, Paolo Gentiloni, is now calling for military airstrikes strikes against the Libyan coast in order to protect Italy from Muslim terrorists who want to enter the country through the coastal border, or bombard Italy with some sort of attack.”

The biblical references, however, would be better in PowerPoint.

SEE, FOR THOSE WHO DON’T KNOW ABOUT SMART DIPLOMACYTM THIS MAY SEEM LIKE A SERIOUS RISK: Russia and America: Stumbling to War. But for those of us who are familiar with Smart DiplomacyTM . . . it looks like a really serious risk.

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SARAH HOYT: Take Your Nose Off My Fist. “If your right to swing your fist ends at the tip of my nose, what if I move my nose and rest it on your fist, so you can’t move?” Well, that’s the whole point of “safe spaces,” “trigger warnings,” and the like.

SO, POPULAR SCIENCE BASICALLY PUBLISHED THE SAME ARTICLE ON THE HUGO FIGHT THAT ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY HAD TO RETRACT: Now Vox Day is threatening libel and demanding a retraction. Is it reckless disregard to publish claims that another publication already had to retract?

UPDATE: From the comments: “I thought the demand was a joke. Then I read the PopSci article and couldn’t believe that such a thing was printed. It’s the type of batshit crazy stuff you’d see in a Berkeley alternative paper, not a science magazine.” The decline of Popular Science into a PC opinion mag has occasioned a mixture of dismay and schadenfreude among the PopMech crowd for several years, but this is a new low, I believe.

I WOULDN’T CALL HIM ANGRY, I’D CALL HIM DETERMINED: Justified star Nick Searcy: Hollywood’s angriest conservative. I met him in LA a couple of years ago and he seemed like a very nice fellow.

Meanwhile, Justified is on the DVD/Blu-Ray deal of the week at Amazon.

GYROCOPTER STUNT SHOWS GOVERNMENT INCOMPETENCE:   When a left-wing, postal civil servant nut-job lands a gyrocopter on the Capitol Hill lawn to publicize the supposed need for campaign finance reform (i.e., to oppose Citizens United and free speech under the First Amendment), it seems pretty clear that D.C.–and the country in general–isn’t being adequately secured.

House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz is demanding a Secret Service briefing.

It’s good to have a hearing–especially about national security matters–but it seems to me that the Secret Service scandals under Obama’s watch are indicative of a larger theme of government incompetence/rulebreaking, and excessive liberal/progressive tolerance thereof, from the VA scandal to the DEA sex parties to the GSA Las Vegas parties to the EPA porn addict.

Congress would be better advised amending the Civil Service Act of 1978 to make it easier to fire incompetent employees and vigorously enforcing existing security measures, such as the Air Defense Identification Zone, rather than holding a bunch of dog-and-pony show hearings.  It’s the toleration of lawbreaking and bad behavior that sends a signal that the U.S. government will look the other way.

This liberal attitude toward lawbreakers also helps embolden Iran and other bad actors around the globe.

35 YEARS LATER, an oral history of Airplane.

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TAR AND FEATHERS MIGHT HELP, BUT SOMETHING NEEDS TO BE DONE: ‘Free-range’ flap in Maryland fans flames of national debate on parenting. As with sexuality, we’re regulating parenting according to the obsessions of neurotic upper-middle-class white women. And that’s not working out very well.

HUH. I WONDER WHAT HE’S TRYING TO SAY WITH THAT? NY Times Frank Bruni: Huma “Clings” To Hillary “So Tightly, Their Relationship Could Be Called Marsupial.”

IN THE DOG-EAT-DOG OBAMA ECONOMY, PEOPLE WILL TRY ANYTHING TO SURVIVE: Workers Seeking Productivity in a Pill Are Abusing A.D.H.D. Drugs.

Reliable data to quantify how many American workers misuse stimulants does not exist, several experts said.

But in interviews, dozens of people in a wide spectrum of professions said they and co-workers misused stimulants like Adderall, Vyvanse and Concerta to improve work performance. Most spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of losing their jobs or access to the medication.

Doctors and medical ethicists expressed concern for misusers’ health, as stimulants can cause anxiety, addiction and hallucinations when taken in high doses. But they also worried about added pressure in the workplace — where the use by some pressures more to join the trend.

“You’d see addiction in students, but it was pretty rare to see it in an adult,” said Dr. Kimberly Dennis, the medical director of Timberline Knolls, a substance-abuse treatment facility for women outside Chicago.

“We are definitely seeing more than one year ago, more than two years ago, especially in the age range of 25 to 45,” she said.

Elizabeth, a Long Island native in her late 20s, said that to not take Adderall while competitors did would be like playing tennis with a wood racket.

Well, there you have it.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE to get out of shape?

FROM CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’ TO CALIFORNIA NIGHTMARE:  Joel Kotkin over at Daily Beast has a great piece explaining how California’s drought crisis illustrates the State’s devolution into a feudalistic society dominated by an oligarchy of super-rich liberals who’ve handcuffed the State’s ability to grow and prosper:

But ultimately the responsibility for California’s future lies with our political leadership, who need to develop the kind of typically bold approaches past generations have embraced. One step would be building new storage capacity, which Governor Jerry Brown, after opposing it for years, has begun to admit is necessary. Desalinization, widely used in the even more arid Middle East, notably Israel, has been blocked by environmental interests but could tap a virtually unlimited supply of the wet stuff, and lies close to the state’s most densely populated areas. Essentially the state could build enough desalinization facilities, and the energy plants to run them, for less money than Brown wants to spend on his high-speed choo-choo to nowhere. This piece of infrastructure is so irrelevant to the state’s needs that even many progressives, such as Mother JonesKevin Drum, consider it a “ridiculous” waste of money.

And there needs to be, at least for the short term, an end to dumping water into San Francisco Bay for the purpose of restoring a long-gone salmon run, or to the Delta, in order to save a bait-fish, the Delta smelt, which may already be close to extinct. This dumping of water has continued even as the state has faced a potentially crippling water shortage; nothing is too good for our fish, or to salve the hyper-heated consciousness of the environmental illuminati.

Kotkin concludes:

What we are witnessing the breakdown of a once-expansive, open society into one dominated by a small group of plutocrats, largely in Silicon Valley, with an “amen” crew among the low-information donors of Hollywood, the public unions, the green lobby, and wealthy real estate developers favored by Brown’s pro-density policies. This coalition backs Brown and helps maintain the state’s essentially one-party system. No one is more adamant about reducing people’s carbon footprint than the jet set of Silicon Valley or the state’s planning elite, even if they choose not to live in a manner that they instruct all others.

Yep–pretty much sums up the progressives’ approach to problems:  Political correctness+ignorance+crony capitalism= preferred “solution.”   Read the whole thing.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 710.

ALEX NUNEZ: The evolving design themes of the 2015 Ford Mustang.

NEWSWEEK: The Bar Exam Is Unfair And Undemocratic. Actually, the requirement for three years of law school prior to taking the bar exam — which was quite consciously put in place to keep out the poor, and in particular Jewish immigrants — is what’s really unfair and undemocratic.

LIYA PALAGASHVILI: U.S. Regulations and Taxes Stifling Entrepreneurs. “According to a Gallup article, the U.S. has dropped to 12th among developed nations in terms of business startups. Economists also recently found evidence for this downward trend in business activity and attribute it to diminished incentives for entrepreneurs to start new firms.”

IS THAT REALLY A SPIDER, OR ARE YOU BEING MONITORED?:   Today’s Wall Street Journal oped by a Harvard Law prof and a Brookings Institution fellow assert that we need a “new social contract” to handle the coming privacy and security threats:

You walk into your shower and see a spider. You don’t know whether it is venomous—or whether it is even a real spider. It could be a personal surveillance mini-drone set loose by your nosy next-door neighbor, who may be monitoring the tiny octopod robot from her iPhone 12. A more menacing possibility: Your business competitor has sent a robotic attack spider, bought from a bankrupt military contractor, to take you out. Your assassin, who is vacationing in Provence, will direct the spider to shoot an infinitesimal needle containing a lethal dose of poison into your left leg—and then self-destruct.

Meanwhile, across town, an anarchist molecular-biology graduate student is secretly working to re-create the smallpox virus, using ordinary laboratory tools and gene-splicing equipment available online. Not content to merely revive an extinct virus to which the general population has no immunity, he uses public-source academic research to make it more lethal. Then he infects himself and, just as his symptoms start, strolls around the airport to infect as many people as he can.

They’re undoubtedly right about the nature and extent of these threats, but their proffered solution is itself quite frightening:

All this challenges our security—and the way we think about the state itself. The liberal state was predicated on a social contract: We give up a certain amount of liberty to a government, which promises in turn to protect us. But that promise is becoming increasingly difficult to keep as more Big Brothers—and lots of Little Brothers too—come to command awesome technological powers.

For the state as we know it to endure, we’ll have to adapt some of the most basic organizing principles of governance, both domestic and international. . . . Still, today’s international legal order remains very much boundary-centered. It gives countries the power to legislate and enforce laws within their territories but allows relatively little latitude to regulate the conduct of foreign subjects abroad—and even less latitude to actually enforce their laws beyond their borders.

Threats that routinely span borders will force states to routinely reach across their borders through legislation that governs foreign conduct, surveillance of citizens in foreign countries, and even targeted killings. A growing number of states are already claiming that more of their laws should apply beyond their territories—for instance, by unilaterally defining cyberattacks or cybercrimes and by enforcing their domestic laws against foreign offenders acting overseas. To avoid turning the world into the Wild West, we must ensure that this increased unilateralism is checked by greater international cooperation: better governance for fragile states, more information-sharing among states and more effective means of enforcing laws where jurisdictions are unclear.

In other words, the liberal/progressive solution to this growing privacy/security threat is more government, more and greater transfer of power away to international bodies such as the U.N.  They seem to have something in mind like a beefed up International Criminal Court, in which the U.S. has thus far wisely declined participation. One World Government, anyone?

No thanks.  The last thing the U.S. needs to do is relinquish sovereignty over privacy and security matters.

How about this alternative solution:  Beef up our military and national security surveillance, improve (voluntary) information sharing with our Allies, encourage the development of enhanced privacy and security devices for individual use, and enact tougher privacy laws to make sure that your nosy neighbor with that spider drone gets some time in the pokey.

MICHAEL WILLIAMSON HAS a new book coming out, set in the distant past.

Here is a post on his research.

HEY, MAYBE UNIVERSITIES SHOULD TRY THIS: Wal-Mart Cutting Layer Of Management, Raising Wages. I wish I could run a higher education bubble update with that.

ROSS DOUTHAT: Checking Charlie Hebdo’s Privilege. “Trudeau did not exactly say they had it coming, but he passed judgment on their sins — not the sin of blasphemy, but the sin of picking a politically unsuitable target for their jabs. . . . But on the contemporary left, the theory’s simplicity is becoming a kind of intellectual straitjacket. The Hebdo massacre is just one of many cases in which today’s progressives, in the name of overthrowing hierarchies, end up assuming that lines of power are predictable, permanent and clear. Which they are not, for several reasons.”

Yeah, if mocking savages who murder “blasphemers” is “punching down,” then I’m fine with punching down. Also shooting down, bombing down. . . .

Plus: “The terrorist’s veto on portrayals of Islam is itself a very real form of power, and as long as journalists who challenge it end up dead, the idea that they are ‘up’ and their targets are ‘down’ reflects a denial of life-and-death reality. Or, to take a related example, the hundreds of white women recently raped by Pakistani gangs in England’s industrial north were theoretically higher on a ladder of privilege than their assailants. But the gangs’ actual power over their victims was only enhanced by that notional ladder, because multicultural pieties were part of what induced the authorities to look the other way.”

Multicultural pieties are an ideological weapon, designed to paralyze societal defenders. They are not the unintended consequences of goofy good intentions, but deliberately honed tools of political power, wielded without good intentions of any sort.

ANOTHER TRAGIC CONSEQUENCE OF GLOBAL WARMING. . . WAIT, WHAT? Farming moves north with the temperatures.

A century ago, corn was not a viable crop above North Dakota’s southern third. But an average temperature rise of 2.7 degrees over that period has let North Dakota farmers grow feed corn up to the Canadian border. The growing season there is three weeks longer. In farming, that’s huge.

For similar reasons, soybeans now grow in upstate New York. And though the state’s Finger Lakes region has produced hardy wine grapes for a long time, milder winters have enabled it to nurture fancier European grape varieties.

As for New England, the hope is that some centuries-old farms will become profitable, as well as picturesque. Agriculture never disappeared there, but it had to concentrate on dairy products and niche crops, such as cranberries and wild blueberries. Warmer weather opens new possibilities. For example, peaches may become a commercial crop in Maine.

A paper out of Brandeis University predicts that by 2030, the New England region could have three times as much farmland as it does now, thanks to warmer weather. Should that happen, New England may end up producing half its food.

Oh, no!

IN THE MAIL: From Philip Kotler, Confronting Capitalism: Real Solutions for a Troubled Economic System.

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IF YOU’RE MALE AND BELONG TO A FRATERNITY, YOU HAVE NO RIGHTS. YOU EXIST ON SUFFERANCE. Kansas fraternity suspended over sexually vulgar text messages. Seriously. Remember: Crucifix in urine — vital free speech! Vulgar private messages — Death penalty offense!

UPDATE: ACLU Says Speech Protected By First Amendment. Ya think? What’s troubling is that so many university administrators seem to assume that the First Amendment only protects lefty groups, and that they have a free hand to do whatever they want to groups they dislike. These administrators should be shamed, and, ideally, fired.

The President of Washburn University is Jerry Farley. According to the story above, “Farley said he plans to implement disciplinary action once the students involved are identified.” Remember, he wants to discipline students for things said in private conversations. I wonder if what’s in his emails and texts is beyond all reproach?

PERHAPS THE BIGGEST WORRY ISN’T THE PR ANGLE: Fleeing Libya, Muslims Throw Christian Refugees Overboard.

Stories like this are catnip for nationalist parties in Europe worried about the cultural effects of immigration and inter-religious tension.

Moreover, the world is seeing enormous and possibly still growing levels of refugee migration. According to the New York Times, Syria’s neighbors are being overwhelmed by more than four million refugees, and many are taking steps to restrict the flow. Western governments have still only taken in a relatively small number of Syrian refugees, despite the UN’s calls for them to open their doors.

If “refugees” aren’t willing to act grateful and behave in a civilized fashion, let them find refuge elsewhere.

IT’S COME TO THIS: Christina Hoff Sommers gets Trigger Warnings at Georgetown. “Do these people call themselves adults?”

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HEH: Star Wars ‘reeks of misogyny’: SJW satirist punks BBC World Service.

Listeners of the BBC World Service’s World Have Your Say programme were treated to a bizarre analysis of the Star Wars franchise today by a caller who claimed that “Dark Raider” was a “racial stereotype” who listened to rap music and “the only female character ends up in a gold space bikini chained to a horny space slug.”

Godfrey Elfwick is a student from Sheffield who regularly fools observers with his parody Twitter account, an off-the-deep-end “social justice warrior” persona that tweets bizarrely and hilariously about racism, sexism, misogyny and other favoured topics of the political Left.

Elfwick attracted the attention of the BBC World Service today, when he tweeted that he had never seen Star Wars. A World Service presenter who was producing a segment in the wake of the recently-released trailer for Star Wars Episode VIII: The Force Awakens took the bait, inviting him onto the programme.

Because of course the BBC can’t tell the difference between an outlandish, obviously fake social-justice obsessed parody account and a normal member of the public.

Did I say “heh?” Heh. I mean, these people have pretty much moved beyond parody, which makes the successful parodists all the more heroic.

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: Judge: City can’t enforce proposed gun ban at music festival.

BECAUSE EQUALITY: Female Group Ejected From Comic Expo For Criticizing Feminism.

HEY, WAPO, YOU SPELLED “DEMOCRATS GRATUITUOUSLY INJECT RACE INTO DEBATE” WRONG: Race creeps into debate over stalled nomination for attorney general. Remember, she’s actually being held up over an abortion controversy.

That said, I think from now on we should only have white males in positions of authority, because they’re the only ones who can’t play the race/gender card whenever any criticism comes up. America, as the Obama experiment has demonstrated, isn’t ready for diversity in government yet.


The Justice Department and FBI have formally acknowledged that nearly every examiner in an elite FBI forensic unit gave flawed testimony in almost all trials in which they offered evidence against criminal defendants over more than a two-decade period before 2000.

Of 28 examiners with the FBI Laboratory’s microscopic hair comparison unit, 26 overstated forensic matches in ways that favored prosecutors in more than 95 percent of the 268 trials reviewed so far, according to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) and the Innocence Project, which are assisting the government with the country’s largest post-conviction review of questioned forensic evidence.

The cases include those of 32 defendants sentenced to death. Of those, 14 have been executed or died in prison, the groups said under an agreement with the government to release results after the review of the first 200 convictions.

The FBI errors alone do not mean there was not other evidence of a convict’s guilt. Defendants and federal and state prosecutors in 46 states and the District are being notified to determine whether there are grounds for appeals. Four defendants were previously exonerated.

The admissions mark a watershed in one of the country’s largest forensic scandals, highlighting the failure of the nation’s courts for decades to keep bogus scientific information from juries, legal analysts said.

Problems with the FBI forensic lab were a staple of InstaPundit in its very earliest days. And yet. . . . Would a private organization with such low standards have survived?

VICTOR SHARPE: There Is A Storm Coming.


BRENDAN O’NEILL: Hopkins Hate and the inhumanity of political correctness. “What kind of twisted society would be made more irate by 400 words in a newspaper column than by the deaths of 400 human beings at sea? Our society. Britain in 2015…. It’s official: we’re now more offended by words than by death. Behold the otherworldliness, even inhumanity, of political correctness, which bristles more at the terms used to describe a horrific event than it does at the event itself.”

MEGAN MCARDLE: How the Internet Became a Shame-Storm.

Shame is one way we enforced good behavior in small groups before there were laws or trading networks. It is a very powerful motivator, and it helps us to come together in large cooperative groups with high degrees of trust and sharing. A hatred of being shamed ourselves and a love of shaming others who have transgressed both literally helped to make us human. . . .

So we need shame. The problem is, maybe we don’t always need so much of it.

In the small groups we evolved to live in, shame is tempered by love and forgiveness. People are shamed for some transgression, then they are restored to the group. Ultimately, the shamed person is not an enemy; he or she is someone you need and want to get along with. This is how you make up with your spouse after one or both of you has done or said something terrible.

In a large group, shame is punishment, but it still has a restorative aspect. One of the most surprising passages of Ronson’s book reveals that the drunken driver who had to stand by the side of the road with a sign detailing his crimes got more compassion and support than bitter catcalls from the people who drove by him.

On the Internet, when all the social context is stripped away and you don’t even have to look at the face of the person you’re being mean to, shame loses its social, restorative function. Shame-storming isn’t punishment. It’s a weapon. And weapons aren’t supposed to be used against people in your community; they’re for strangers, people in some other group that you don’t like very much.

Hence the term “Social Justice Warrior.” War is what you wage on the enemy, the other. And that’s what they do. They’re not well-meaning people who want to make our shared society better, and sometimes just get carried away. They’re angry, vicious people who want to eliminate disagreement.

April 18, 2015

THEOLOGICAL THOUGHTS, from Dalrock: “One of the problems with modern Christian culture is the misconception that loving is a synonym for nice. Jesus is often considered to be a sort of passive non judgmental friend, instead of our Lord, our Master.”

I am reminded of one of the Narnia books, where it’s pointed out that Aslan isn’t a tame lion.

UPDATE: Heh. And, heh, again. Also, heh.

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