August 2, 2015

DENVER DA: Passing out leaflets informing jurors of their legal right to nullify convictions is “jury tampering.” No, it’s free speech.

OUTRAGE OVER FORFEITURE, ON THE OTHER HAND, IS NOT: CATO: Outrage over Forfeiture Reform Is Unjustified.

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The UC Regents approved 3 percent raises for 15 of the University of California’s highest-paid executives. The new pay scale for the five UC chancellors are: $772,500 for UC San Francisco’s Samuel Hawgood; $516,446 for UC Berkeley’s Nicholas Dirks; $441,334 for UCLA’s Gene Block; $436,120 for UC San Diego’s Pradeep Khosla; and $424,360 for UC Davis’ Linda Katehi, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Also included in the raises were $231,750 for Anne Shaw, chief of staff for the UC regents, to $991,942 for Mark Laret, chief executive of UC San Francisco’s medical center. Many of them had salaries well above $400,000 before the new increase.

These are public employees who also can look forward to rich pensions and lifetime health care in retirement… unless the system goes broke. But that’s another story. These people will live as millionaires in retirement, courtesy of the taxpayers. A $770,000 annual retirement for 30 years is $23 million. Is anyone really worth $23 million in retirement for something they did not build themselves?

Others on the UC pay raise list include the UC system’s chief investment officer, Jagdeep Bachher, whose salary now will be $633,450; UC’s general counsel, Charles Robinson, $441,334; and UC Davis’ medical center chief executive, Ann Madden Rice, $848,720.

Kevin Sabo, board chairman of the UC Student Association, denounced the pay raises as “shameful” and said the raises would hurt future lobbying efforts in Sacramento to boost state funds for UC. He’s right, but no one is listening. They really don’t care.

Academics assume that capitalists are callous exploiters of those who work for them, because the people that academics work for really are that way. . . .

FROM BORING TO BAFFLING: Theodore Dalrymple on The Economist:

The anonymity of the articles was intended to create the illusion that the magazine spoke from nothing so vulgar as a perspective, but rather from some Olympian height from which only the whole truth and nothing but the truth could be descried. It is the saving grace of every such magazine that no one remembers what he read in it the week before. Only by the amnesia of its readers can a magazine retain its reputation for perspicacity.

I found its style dull, too. How was it that correspondents from Lima to Limassol, from Cairo to Kathmandu, wrote in precisely the same fashion, as if everything that happened everywhere was fundamentally the same? Walter Bagehot, son-in-law of the founder of The Economist and its most famous editor, was a brilliant prose stylist and a wonderfully witty literary critic, among many other things; but The Economist has long been about as amusing as a speech by David Cameron. Its prose was the literary equivalent of IKEA furniture, prefabricated according to a manual of style; it tried to combine accessibility with judiciousness and arrived only at portentousness.

Who now reads it, and what for? I suppose there is a type of functionary who does not want to be caught out in ignorance of the latest political developments in Phnom Penh, or the supposed reasons for the latest uprising in Ouagadougou. The Economist is intellectual seriousness for middle management and MBAs. To be seen with it is a sign of belonging to, and of identifying with, a certain caste.

See also: the election of 2008, which the Economist went all in to manufacture, and continued to run worshipful covers of Obama posing Ever So Seriously in the years since. But as Mark Steyn wrote in 2009, when the bloom was first rubbing off the era of Hopenchange:

This is the point: The nuancey boys were wrong on Obama, and the knuckledragging morons were right. There is no post-partisan centrist “grappling” with the economy, only a transformative radical willing to make Americans poorer in the cause of massive government expansion. At some point, The Economist, Messrs Brooks, Buckley & Co are going to have to acknowledge this. If they’re planning on spending the rest of his term tutting that his management style is obstructing the effective implementation of his centrist agenda, it’s going to be a long four years.

And for the Economist (and the similarly corporatist Bloomberg “Unexpectedly” Business) the “fun” continues, as the blinders never came off.

(Found via Kathy Shaidle.)

DOUG WEINSTEIN WANTED TO BUILD SOMETHING LIKE THIS, ONLY DEEPER, AS A TOURIST ATTRACTION, BUT I DON’T THINK HE EVER FOUND ANY BACKERS: Homeowner Builds $2 Million Scuba Diving Pool In His Backyard. “In addition to having a water slide, wading area, grotto and other amenities, the pool in Springville, Utah is 140ft/43m long, 60ft/18m wide and at certain points 26ft/8m deep. The US$2 million pool — which holds about 360,000 gallons/1.4 million liters of water — was built so the avid scuba-diving owner could practice his skills without having to travel.”

IT’S ALWAYS NICE TO MAKE TWITCHY: Instapundit deflates Jon Stewart’s final ‘Daily Show’ appearance with one tweet.

THE CAREER ARC OF THE OBAMA TOADY IS BRIEF, BUT IT BENDS TOWARDS SCATOLOGY: Neatly summing up her brief career as an MSNBC show host/Democrat operative with a byline, “‘Woo! Sh*t!’: Alex Wagner Jokes and Curses in MSNBC Show Farewell,” just after the camera faded to black, but the sound hadn’t yet been cut.

FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS: I Did Hot Yoga With 98 Degrees and It Crushed My Teenage Dreams.

UNEXPECTEDLY: Seattle CEO who set firm’s minimum wage to $70G says he has hit hard times:

Dan Price, 31, tells the New York Times that things have gotten so bad he’s been forced to rent out his house.

Only three months ago Price was generating headlines—and accusations of being a socialist — when he announced the new salary minimum for all 120 employees at his Gravity Payments credit card processing firm. Price said he was doing it, and slashing his $1 million pay package to pay for it, to address the wealth gap.

“I’m working as hard as I ever worked to make it work,” he told the Times in a video that shows him sitting on a plastic bucket in the garage of his house. “I’m renting out my house right now to try and make ends meet myself.”

The Gods of Copybook Headings could not be reached for comment.

WITH THE BEST COMMANDER IN CHIEF EVER, HOW COULD THIS BE HAPPENING? “As sergeants and young officers depart, the institution is breaking for a third time in my lifetime. The personal tragedies that attended the collapse of a soldier’s spirit in past wars are with us again. Suicide, family abuse, alcohol and drug abuse are becoming increasingly more common.” Who knew the armed services were so full of racists?

CREATIVE DESTRUCTION: Don Boudreaux: Uber vs. Piketty.

Problems galore fill Piketty’s book – including his failure to recognize that market-driven innovation and competition are incessantly creating new capital while reducing or even destroying the value of older capital, all in ways that move new flesh-and-blood people into the central ranks of the ‘capitalists’ while moving others onto the periphery of those ranks. (Twelve years ago Mark Zuckerberg, the son of a dentist, was no one’s idea of a capitalist. He’s now worth close to $40 billion.)

While working together earlier this week on a business trip to California, my Mercatus Center colleague Ashley Schiller and I were chatting about Uber and the assaults that governments are now launching on this amazing innovation. Ashley had a brilliant insight, which I share here with her kind permission: Uber (and other ‘sharing economy’ innovations, such as Airbnb) allow ordinary people to turn their consumption goods into capital goods.

Uber enables someone who would otherwise drive his or her car only for personal use to drive his or her car for paying customers – that is, to drive his or her car in an income-earning (and, hence, wealth-enhancing) manner. Uber enables a consumption good to easily become a capital good for however long the car owner chooses to operate as an Uber driver. For whatever number of hours car owners use their personal cars as Uber (or Lyft) cars, part of value of those cars becomes part of the value of an economy’s capital stock even if formal statistics do not yet register it as such.

Uber and other sharing-economy innovations create more productive capital and create more capitalists.

Ah. That explains why lefties hate them so much. It all makes sense now.

August 1, 2015

SHOT: Smallest U.S. Wage Increase on Record Muddies Pay Picture. “Signs of a nascent pickup in U.S. worker pay proved fleeting as wages and salaries climbed in the second quarter at the slowest pace on record. The 0.2 percent advance was the smallest in data going back to 1982.”

Chaser: Clintons earned nearly $141M from 2007 to 2014, tax returns show. On Facebook, John Steakley comments: “Recessions are for the little people.”

I AGREE: Trump’s Success Shows How Much The GOP Base Hates The GOP Leadership. If I were in the GOP leadership, this would give me pause. Or, perhaps, since this gives me pause, I wouldn’t be in the GOP leadership….

SO, BASICALLY, THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION ARMED THE GUNMAN WHO TRIED TO KILL PAM GELLER: Assailant in Garland, Texas, attack bought gun in 2010 under Fast and Furious operation. More and more, I’m doubting that this federal gun-smuggling operation was “botched,” or a “fiasco,” except to the extent that people found out what was going on.

THIS IS MODERATELY AMUSING: Man Describes All 50 States If They Were Actually People In A Bar.

AFFIRMATIVE ACTION “CRITICAL MASS” THEORY DOESN’T APPLY TO MEN: Washington Post op-ed argues for extending Title IX to college admissions.

[O]ne of academia’s little-known secrets is that private college admissions are exempt from Title IX’s ban on sex discrimination—a shameful loophole that allows some of the most supposedly progressive campuses in the nation to discriminate against female applicants.

Consider my own alma mater, Brown University. In 2014, 11 percent of men were accepted at Brown versus 7 percent of women, according to U.S. Department of Education data.

Brown is hardly the only, or the worst, offender. At Vassar College, the 34 percent acceptance rate for men was almost twice as high as the 19 percent rate for women. At Columbia University, the acceptance rate was 8 percent for men versus 6 percent for women. At Vanderbilt University, it was 15 percent versus 11 percent. Pomona College: 15 percent versus 10 percent. Williams College: 21 percent versus 18 percent. This bias in private-college admissions is blatant enough that it can’t be long before “gender-blind admissions” becomes the new campus rallying cry.

Colleges won’t say it, but this is happening because elite schools field applications from many more qualified women than men and thus are trying to hold the line against a 60:40 ratio of women to men. Were Brown to accept women and men at the same rate, its undergraduate population would be almost 60 percent women instead of 52 percent—three women for every two men. . . .

Today’s [admissions] officials . . . fear though that if enrollments reach 60 percent women, it will scare off the most sought-after applicants, who generally want gender balance for social reasons. “Once you become decidedly female in enrollment, fewer males and, as it turns out, fewer females find your campus attractive,” Kenyon College’s dean of admissions, Jennifer Delahunty Britz, wrote in The New York Times in 2006.

So suddenly liberals/progressives are in love with merit-based admissions? That’s mighty funny.  

This argument for admitting more women to elite colleges–based on their higher objective academic credentials (GPA, SAT/ACT score) is more than a little ironic, given the liberal/progressive argument for race-based affirmative action is exactly the opposite. In race-based admissions, the liberal/progressives assert that white and Asian applicants’ objective academic credentials, although higher than Hispanic or black applicants, should not earn white applicants any admissions preferences. When it comes to race, in other words, academic merit shouldn’t drive admissions.

Instead, the liberal/progressive argument–that has been constitutionally legitimated by the Supreme Court–is that there is a compelling government interest in achieving the goal of racial “diversity” in college admissions, and this goal requires admission of a “critical mass” of black and Hispanic students with lower academic credentials. 

Apparently, according to the liberal/progressive view of the world, there is no need for a “critical mass” of men, at least not white men.  We don’t need to hear their “views” for purposes of “diversity,” and having gender balance– as opposed to a racial balance–is not a worthy institutional goal. Indeed, in the liberal/progressive mindset, we don’t really need men anyway.

What a mess we’ve created with the Equal Protection Clause. To paraphrase George Orwell’s Animal Farm, “Some people are more equal than others,” I guess.

LEGAL EDUCATION: New Law School Courses Explore Nietzsche, Guns and Bible. Hey, I was taking students to the shooting range back in the 1990s, though after I let them shoot the MP5 and got stuck with a several-hundred-dollar ammo bill my enthusiasm waned a bit. The women in particular seemed to enjoy full-auto.

LIFE IN OBAMA’S AMERICA: Reporter expelled from public university ‘Black Lives’ event for not being of ‘African descent.’

And this remains evergreen, alas:

Screen Shot 2015-04-25 at 9.59.38 PM

Worst president ever.

FASTER, PLEASE: Non-invasive spinal cord stimulation gets paralyzed legs moving voluntarily again.


THE SCIENCE IS SURPRISINGLY UNSETTLED: How Far Can the Human Eye See a Candle Flame?

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: Permitless Carry Bill Introduced in Michigan.

THE INSTA-WIFE WRITES ON the secrets to maxing out your Social Security, and asks for your opinion.

THIS SEEMS USEFUL: Messaging App Weaves Smartphones Into an Alternative Internet: FireChat can link Android and Apple phones into a long-range communications network even when the cell network is down. “An upgrade to FireChat released today could make the app much more useful and powerful. It makes it possible to communicate with other FireChat users beyond the roughly 70 meters that your device can reach with Wi-Fi. Private and public messages can now travel longer distances by hopping between FireChat users until they get to the intended recipient—an approach known as mesh networking. Messages are encrypted as they travel through intermediate devices.” Even more useful would be if it could connect to other phones via direct radio connections at cellular frequencies. That’s much more challenging, though, and — I’m not sure — might require hardware changes, too, as I think all the cellular protocols divide base-to-mobile and mobile-to-base frequencies, so that I assume cellphones can only transmit on the latter.

HUMA ABEDIN’S “SPECIAL EMPLOYMENT RELATIONSHIP”: The Washington Post reports that longtime Clinton confidant and aide, Huma Abedin (also wife of disgraced Democratic congressman Anthony Weiner) was overpaid by the State Department and may have violated the State Department’s conflict-of-interest rules due to her “special employment relationship” with the Clintons:

In letters sent Thursday to AbedinKerry and the Office of Inspector General, [Senator Chuck] Grassley wrote that staff of the inspector general had found “at least a reasonable suspicion of a violation” of the law concerning the “theft of public money through time and attendance fraud” as well as “conflicts of interest connected to her overlapping employment.”

Grassley also raised the possibility that efforts to investigate Abedin’s actions were thwarted because many of her exchanges were sent through Clinton’s private e-mail server. . . .

Since 2013, Grassley has been inquiring about Abedin’s “special government employee” status, which during her final six months at the State Department allowed her to take outside employment with the Clinton Foundation and Teneo, a firm led by longtime Bill Clinton aide Douglas Band.

 Paul Mirengoff over at PowerLine notes:

By allowing it, Clinton wasn’t just helping a friend boost her income. She was increasing the potential leverage of the Clinton machine, and in ways that could, and maybe did, benefit the Clinton Foundation.

The Abedin scandal is thus related to the “Clinton cash” scandal.

It is also related to Hillary’s email scandal. According to Grassley, the State Department investigators have “reason to believe that email evidence relevant to [its] inquiry was contained in emails sent and received from her account on Secretary Clinton’s non-government server, making them unavailable to [the investigators’ office] through its normal statutory right of access to records.”

It’s all just another thread in Clinton’s intertwined, rotten ball of corruption. The fact that her closest aide-de-camp has received special favors and status is par for the course.

JOURNEYING DOWN THE RPG RR: In his latest column on RPGs at the PJM Lifestyle section, Moe Lane explores what happens when the dungeon master sends his players down the dreaded Roleplaying Railroad.

AGING, AND THE BREAKDOWN OF THE ENDOPLASMIC RETICULUM: “Scientists at the Leibniz-Institut für Molekulare Pharmakologie in Berlin have now taken one step closer to providing an answer. They have conducted a study in which, for the first time, they have shown that a certain area of the cell, the so-called endoplasmic reticulum, loses its oxidative power in advanced age. If this elixir of life is lost, many proteins can no longer mature properly. At the same time, oxidative damage accumulates in another area of the cell, the cytosol. This interplay was previously unknown and now opens up a new understanding of aging, but also of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.” Understanding is good. Fixing is better.


“SOCIALISM ALWAYS STARTS WITH THE SAME PROMISES AND END WITH THE SAME DISASTERS,” Glenn tweeted earlier today, linking to a Bloomberg report that “Venezuelan soldiers seized a food distribution center rented by companies including Nestle SA, PepsiCo. Inc and Empresas Polar SA in Caracas as the government looks to boost support ahead of elections.”

Nestlé, eh? That business name rings a bell; it’s what launched Jonah Goldberg to write Liberal Fascism, which focused several chapters on a century’s worth of corporatism, the intertwining of government and corporations, much beloved by the namesake publisher of Bloomberg (and in an even more radical form by Bernie Sanders), which the post-Weimar government of Germany dubbed the Gleichschaltung. As Jonah told Kathryn Jean Lopez in 2009, at the apogee of the left’s Hopenchange Obamamania:

You know, when I first started pondering the book, I thought it might be all about economics. About ten years ago I went on a junket to Switzerland and attended a talk with the CEO of Nestlé. Listening to him, it became very clear to me that he had little to no interest in free markets or capitalism properly understood. He saw his corporation as a “partner” with governments, NGOs, the U.N., and other massive multinationals. The profit motive was good for efficiency and rewarding talent, but beyond that, he wanted order and predictability and as much planning as he could get. I think that mindset informs the entire class of transnational progressives, the shock troops of what H. G. Wells hoped would lead to his liberal-fascist “world brain.”

If you look at how most liberals think about economics, they want big corporations and big government working in tandem with labor, universities (think industrial policy), and progressive organizations to come up with “inclusive” policies set at the national or international level. That’s not necessarily socialism — it’s corporatism. When you listen to how Obama is making economic policy with “everyone at the table,” he’s describing corporatism, the economic philosophy of fascism. Government is the senior partner, but all of the other institutions are on board — so long as they agree with the government’s agenda. The people left out of this coordinated effort — the Nazis called it the Gleichschaltung — are the small businessmen, the entrepreneurs, the ideological, social, or economic mavericks who don’t want to play along. When you listen to Obama demonize Chrysler’s bondholders simply because they want their contracts enforced and the rule of law sustained, you get a sense of what I’m talking about.

I don’t think Obama wants a brutal tyranny any more than Hillary Clinton does (which is to say I don’t think he wants anything of the sort). But I do think they honestly believe that progress is best served if everyone falls in line with a national agenda, a unifying purpose, a “village” mentality expanded to include all of society. That sentiment drips from almost every liberal exhortation about everything from global warming to national service. But to point it out earns you the label of crank. As I said a minute ago about that “We’re All Fascists Now” chapter, I think people fail to understand that tyrannies — including soft, Huxleyan tyrannies — aren’t born from criminal conspiracies by evil men; they’re born by progressive groupthink.

And they all end the same way, as Glenn noted today. In the meantime though, if anybody can up the chocolate ration, I’m sure the post-Chavez government, having seized one of Nestlé’s assets, can.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: 7 Tips To Help You Get Into Weightlifting.

Here’s the only tip you really need: Buy Mark Rippetoe’s book.

HUGO WARS: Larry Correia: Fisking the Guardian’s Latest Sad Puppy Article of the Week. “And when I say Article of the Week, I’m not really exaggerating. Apparently the Guardian is all worked up about Sad Puppies. A cursory Google search shows this is what the Guardian has run recently, and let me save you some time, it appears all of them run with the same racist/sexist/homophobic angry white cismale backlash narrative that’s been easily debunked since Entertainment Weekly beclowned themselves on day one. . . . Three years ago I set out to demonstrate that there was a left wing bias in publishing. Immediately the Guardian did their best to prove me right. Not once in three years have they spoken to anybody on my side.”

But here’s his best line: “The Guardian hasn’t been this upset since Hugo Chavez died.”

WELL, TO BE FAIR, IT’S NOT THE ONLY ONE: The College that Hates “Americans.”

The administrator who added a confusing, tin-eared Bias-Free Language Guide—a 4,500-word assault on the English language—to the University of New Hampshire’s website as a resource for students and faculty must have been crazy. . . .

The Bias-Free Language Guide is a massive wall of text that explains why common word choices, phrases, and modifiers are unwelcome in polite discourse. Its purpose is to assist in the creation of “an inclusive learning community” by raising awareness of trivial slights in everyday language that, “for some, feels like a form of violence.”

Its authors, UNH Coordinator of Community Equity and Diversity Sylvia Foster among them, intended the guide as tool for molding a more feelings-conscious campus. But if their advice had ever been followed by a significant number of students and faculty members, everyone would have soon found themselves walking on eggshells 100 percent of the time.

Some examples are in order.

Instead of referring to the elderly as senior citizens (or even as the elderly), members of the UNH community are encouraged to embrace the most up-to-date politically-correct terminology: “people of advanced age” in this case, according to the guide. This is supposed to be somehow less derogatory than “senior citizen”, which of course was once the politically correct of saying “old”.

A poor person is not a poor person; he or she (or ze! At least according to the section on gender-queer pronouns) is a “person living at or below the poverty line.” Ok, fine. But by the same token, one should say that the rich are “persons of material wealth,” since persons living at or below the poverty line may be rich in character, or spirit, or any number of other things.

Fat people are not fat, overweight, or obese; they are “people of size,” a decidedly abstract description. Are all of us not people of size, in some sense?

Midgets are “someone(s) of short stature.” Illegal aliens are “persons seeking asylum.” (Then again, what if they’re not seeking asylum?) A blind person is a “person who is blind.” . . .

It’s good that these public universities aren’t explicitly requiring the use of inoffensive language, because that would be both illegal and impossible. It would violate the First Amendment rights of students and faculty while failing to protect everyone’s delicate ears from words that hurt them. Everything is offensive to someone, and some things that are offensive to some people aren’t offensive to others. One man’s “fat” is another man’s “person of size.” The great war on hurt-feelings at American university campuses is unwinnable, and the causalities are significant.

Yeah, well, liberals/progressives aren’t very fond of the First Amendment anymore. I’m confident they would ban “offensive” speech if they could get away with it. Oh, wait–maybe I shouldn’t call them liberals/progressives. Probably the more politically correct term–as a literal matter– is totalitarians. There, that’s better.

IN THE MAIL: The Magic of Attracting Money.

Plus, today only at Amazon: 45% Off Chamberlain Ultra Quiet Garage Door Opener, $134.99 (46% off). The timer feature that closes the door when you forget sounds useful.

And, also today only: Up to 50% Off Top-Rated Strategy Board Games.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 814.


Unlike Muslims, who can conform and wait out ISIS until the day it is defeated, Christians, along with “polytheist” Yizidis, can don veils and give up cigarettes and alcohol, but, as non-Muslims, their very presence is an intolerable offense to the year-old “caliphate.” These minority religious groups in Iraq and Syria, lacking protecting armies or militias of their own, find themselves in unique peril. During his Bolivian trip this month, Pope Francis called it “genocide.”

ISIS demands nothing less than the conversion of all Christians and Yizidis to Islam under penalty of death for men and enslavement for women and children. (Another frequently cited option for Christian “People of the Book”, the payment of jizya, is a ruse, for the tax is raised until it becomes unpayable and property and lives are taken after all. Hence, last summer, Mosul’s bishops chose exile for their communities, rather than attend an ISIS meeting to learn of its jizya terms.)

The beheadings, crucifixions, and other means ISIS uses to slaughter unarmed Christian and Yizidi men—from priests and bishops to destitute migrant workers—have been proudly displayed by the ultra violent group on social media and have drawn condemnations worldwide. But the Islamic State’s “revival” of the institution of chattel slavery—sex slavery of Christian and Yizidi women and girls no less—has faded from public attention.

Hey, some dentist shot a lion.

WHEN GRAY LADIES COLLIDE: “Clinton campaign complains of ‘egregious’ New York Times reporting errors.”


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NEW YORK POST: Obama’s Pathetic Attempt to Spin the IRS Scandal: “No sooner did President Obama claim last week the IRS scandal was just a mirage than new evidence emerged to show it was anything but. . . . Of course, the biggest scandal of all is that Team Obama has managed to stonewall and leave the public hanging. And that no one has been held accountable.”

A BIT OF BACKGROUND ON THE JUDGE WHO BLOCKED RELEASE OF ABORTION STING VIDEO: “Judge William H. Orrick, III, granted the injunction just hours after the order was requested by the National Abortion Federation. Orrick was nominated to his position by hardline abortion supporter President Barack Obama. He was also a major donor to and bundler for President Obama’s presidential campaign. He raised at least $200,000 for Obama and donated $30,800 to committees supporting him, according to Public Citizen.”

Remember, when you elect a President, you’re also electing a whole lot of other people.


GUILT AS POWER: “One of the most common reactions to the Planned Parenthood body parts scandal is along the lines of ‘I can’t bear to watch the videos of those horrible people laughing and talking about the sale of babies. It’s just too upsetting to see,’” Richard Fernandez writes at the Belmont Club. “This exactly captures the reason why the videos are so dangerous: they have forced society at large to watch what many must have always suspected was true, but hoped never to confront directly:”

Freud, like many 19th century men were so steeped in custom they could never conceive of the possibility that “educated men and brain-workers” would free themselves, not only of God, but all fixed taboos — of everything. He himself never imagined the Nazis were possible. At the end of his life, sick and old in Vienna — a Vienna he never thought could come to pass —  he was saved, as David Cohen writes, not by the harsh logic of supermen, but by bourgeois sentimentality: the kindness of friends, the intervention of admirers and the secret intervention of a Nazi admirer.

The trouble with 19th century atheism is that it had not completely freed itself from the sentiments of Christianity: in many subtle ways they assumed that man after God would still have limits. They failed to understand until the middle 20th century that man’s need for power did not necessarily contain limits. They  learned, too late, that like the Bill of Rights understands, it is in the “won’ts” on men’s actions that earthly freedom lives.

The people who in the videos merrily describe the prices they can obtain for this or that body part may one day be old and as helpless as the infants they have dismembered.  Then they will be in the care of men like themselves.  And on that far day these young — then old —  may want water. On what grounds will they demand it? On what basis will they ask for care, love or compassion?

Read the whole thing.

BLUE MODEL MELTDOWN: Here Comes Puerto Rico’s Default.

The Puerto Rico meltdown is going to be brutal: Many of the bonds are held by Puerto Rican retirees, either directly or as part of pension fund portfolios. Moreover, the island is a typical example of blue model governance, with a bloated state that doesn’t perform effectively, public sector unions out of control, and lots of poor people who depend on a government that doesn’t serve them very well. And on top of all this, there are no bankruptcy provisions that would enable an orderly restructuring.

Ultimately, bankrupt blue cities and states and their pension funds will troop to Washington with their hands out, begging for bailouts. Already we’ve seen a leading New Jersey state Democrat call for a $1 trillion federal bailout fund for pensions. The political pressures around the issue will be intense. Some (mostly Republicans) won’t want to give a single dime to the improvident fools and crooks who created this mess. Others (mostly Democrats) will insist on no-fault bailouts, arguing that social justice demands nothing less than an infinite willingness to pour money down ratholes, so long as those ratholes are Democrat-run.

What the country needs is something in between: relief for reform. Cities, counties, and states (or, as in the case of Puerto Rico, commonwealths) who can’t manage their debts anymore can qualify for limited help—but only if they undergo serious, life-changing reform. That may well mean the end of public unions, drastic changes in governance, haircuts all around, tax reforms, and other substantive changes. Forward-looking people in Congress should be thinking now about the legislation that would be needed to set up a framework of some kind to handle these cases. The legal issues are complex; courts have been upholding, for example, the inviolability of employee pensions under state constitutional provisions. It’s hard to see how federal bailouts would let those pensions go unchallenged.

But will anyone act before it’s a disaster?


The term ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’ captures an important truth: an effective way to leverage power is by assuming the status of a victim. A culture of victimhood is inherent to political correctness. It is through this victimhood, ultimately, that the tribal hatred of its advocates are nourished, and the dignity of its opponents are undermined.

Read the whole thing.

SHATTERED FANTASY: Sorry Leftist Americans, Your Swedish Utopia Does Not Exist: It’s time to kill the myth about the superiority of the Nordic welfare state model.

As a Swede living in the U.S., one of the most common reactions when I tell people where I am from is the question of why I would ever leave Sweden in the first place. Many Americans seem to truly believe that life in the Scandinavian countries is superior to that in virtually all other places on earth, and that the Nordic welfare state model is the magical formula that explains it all. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont recently echoed these beliefs when he said that he wants America to be more like Scandinavia, where both incomes and equality are higher, the middle class stronger, both education and health care are publically funded, and even graduate school is free.

Sanders is not alone. The Scandinavian countries are regularly praised for their income equality, quality of life, gender equality, maternal care and many other traits, not just by leftist politicians and activists, but also by left-leaning economists like Paul Krugman. The Scandinavian model, they believe, is the ultimate proof that you can combine a high-growth economy with a generous welfare state.

The problem is that much of the praise is wrong. . . .

During the decades before, between 1870 and 1936, Sweden had enjoyed the highest economic growth in the entire industrialized world. Moreover, in the most intense period of “third-way” policies of market socialism, between the 1970s and 1990s, Sweden’s economic performance was exceptionally low. This period, however, was an exception: for most of its modern history, Sweden has been anything but a socialist mecca. The government has usually pursued free-market policies and free trade. If anything, high taxes and extensive social policies have hindered Scandinavian economic performance, which would most likely have been much higher without them.

Instead, Sanandaji shows, the root of Scandinavian success can largely be found in culture. These countries, and Sweden in particular, have historically had remarkably high levels of social trust, family values, a strong sense of work ethic, and social cohesion. The notion of the “Protestant work ethic” goes back far longer than the modern welfare state. Scholars like Max Weber, Sanandaji shows, long ago noted that the Protestant countries of northern Europe had an overall higher living standard and economic success than most. The often-celebrated equality of Scandinavian countries, too, began well before the welfare state was developed.

Again, these traditions and values by no means came with the welfare state. Sanandaji shows that these Scandinavian values follow people as they move abroad, even for generations: Americans of Scandinavian descent, whose ancestors left way before modern welfare states were established, tend to carry many of their norms with them. The median incomes of Americans with Scandinavian heritage is 20 percent higher than average income in the U.S. as a whole, and poverty rates in this group is roughly half of that of average Americans.

Yes, I believe that when Milton Friedman was told that poverty didn’t exist among Swedes, he responded that it was also unknown among Swedes in America.

EMAIL REVEALS HILLARY CLINTON WAS FED QUESTIONS BEFORE MEET THE PRESS APPEARANCE: Which isn’t all that surprising, considering that it’s NBC providing their usual public relations service to Hillary, Obama, and the Democrats. In 2013, after Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s infamous gaffe on MSNBC, in which she mispronounced the word “mislead” as “myzled,” Tammy Bruce asked, “How do you mispronounce a word you’re not reading? Unless, of course, MSNBC has a script for her in the teleprompter.”

Last year while writing at Mediaite, Noah Rothman described how the network helpfully edited US Senate candidate Michelle Nunn’s response to a question about whether the Georgia Democrat would vote to repeal Obamacare, “to make it seem more nuanced and conservative,” by cutting off the end of the interview where “Nunn clearly said she would oppose the ACA’s repeal, placing her firmly in line with the majority of the members of her party.”

But then, deceptive video editing (see also: Zimmerman, George) and supplying talking points to Democrats are all in day’s work for the networks that serve as the home to Brian Williams and Al Sharpton. Or as Iowahawk tweeted yesterday with a flashback to the early days of rigged television at NBC:


KNOW YOUR PLACE, PEASANTS! Clinton rips Bush’s ‘right to rise.’

Hillary Clinton lit into her GOP rival Jeb Bush as the two presidential contenders gave dueling speeches at the National Urban League’s annual conference on Friday.

Clinton, speaking first, threw Bush’s “Right to Rise” campaign slogan back at him to paint the former Florida governor as hypocritical on issues important to the black community.

“Too often we see a mismatch between what some candidates say in venues like this and what they actually do when they are elected,” she said.

“I don’t think you can credibly say that everybody has a right to rise and then say you are for phasing out Medicare or for repealing Obamacare.”

Yeah, ObamaCare’s great for small business.

FROM HIS OWN MOUTH, WHY HE SHOULD NEVER BE PRESIDENT: Jeb Bush: I Would Govern Like Lyndon Johnson as President. Really, Jeb? Really? That’s your selling point? Really?

FROM JOHN LOTT, ET AL.: Concealed Carry Permit Holders Across the United States. Some high points:

Since President Obama’s election the number of concealed handgun permits has soared, growing from 4.6 million in 2007 to over 12.8 million this year. Among the findings in our report:
– The number of concealed handgun permits is increasing at an ever- increasing rate. Over the past year, 1.7 million additional new permits have been issued – a 15.4% increase in just one single year. This is the largest ever single-year increase in the number of concealed handgun permits.
– 5.2% of the total adult population has a permit.
– Five states now have more than 10% of their adult population with concealed handgun permits.
– In ten states, a permit is no longer required to carry in all or virtually all of the state. This is a major reason why legal carrying handguns is growing so much faster than the number of permits.
– Since 2007, permits for women has increased by 270% and for men by 156%.
– Some evidence suggests that permit holding by minorities is increasing more than twice as fast as for whites.
– Between 2007 and 2014, murder rates have fallen from 5.6 to 4.2 (preliminary estimates) per 100,000. This represents a 25% drop in the murder rate at the same time that the percentage of the adult population with permits soared by 156%. Overall violent crime also fell by 25 percent over that period of time.
– States with the largest increase in permits have seen the largest relative drops in murder rates.
– Concealed handgun permit holders are extremely law-abiding. In Florida and Texas, permit holders are convicted of misdemeanors or felonies at one-sixth the rate that police officers are convicted.

More at the link.

July 31, 2015

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LOTS OF GUN NEWS AT The Shooting Wire.


Fires, which are currently blocking access to the harbour, have plunged the crisis zone into further chaos.

It comes after Britain’s borders faced more disruption last night as hundreds of migrants including children stormed the Eurotunnel.

David Cameron has said Britain is threatened by a “swarm” of foreigners and the migrant crisis in Calais was likened to a “warzone.”

Migrants were pictured clinging to a lorry as they left the port of Dover, while others in Calais were seen clambering over fences with children in tow.

More than 4,000 increasingly aggressive and desperate migrants largely from war-torn failed African states have stormed through fences in a bid to clamber aboard trains to ‘El Dorado’ UK.

An estimated 150 have made it to Britain’s shores, with some claiming an increased feeling nationwide that the country is under siege.

Mr Cameron, meanwhile, remains in Vietnam and Theresa May has refused to call in military support to help the beleagured French forces.

Despite the numbers of migrants flooding into Britain, Mr Cameron has insisted the border with France is secure although he did admit the threat was very real. . . .

Natalie Chapman, of the Freight Transport Association, likened the scenes of chaos in Calais to a “warzone” and fears it is only a matter of time till a British driver gets killed in the French port.

She said: “The situation in Calais has been escalating over the last few months and you think it can’t get any worse – and then it does.

“For lorry drivers trying to get to the UK it’s like a warzone. You’ve got people who have made in many cases very long and dangerous journeys to try to get to the UK who will stop at nothing to try to get on board.

You keep saying it’s like a warzone. So what does that tell you about how you should respond?

JEFF DUNTEMANN has rereleased his The Cunning Blood on Kindle. I liked it very much when it originally came out, and was hoping for a sequel.

JOURNALISM: A CNN Founder Answers Why The Media Is Often One-Sided When It Comes To Guns.

CHANGE: Glare Of Video Is Changing Public’s View Of Police. “Recent studies showed that when officers in Rialto, Calif., and in Mesa, Ariz., wore body cameras, complaints against the police fell sharply. But body camera advocates and skeptics alike say they do not know how much that reflects a real decline in police misconduct, and how much was a drop in spurious civilian complaints; it may be that both groups behave better when they are on camera. . . . The proliferation of video has coincided with a paradox: Public views of the police have grown worse, yet experts say police use of force has probably been lower in the last few years than in generations.”

ASHE SCHOW: If Trump Makes Main GOP Debate A Circus, The Alternative Debate May Wind Up Being Better. And maybe more influential.

CREATING THE MATTE PAINTINGS FOR JAMES CAMERON’S TITANIC: The latest heavily-illustrated post at the brilliant Matte Shot blog. As its curator writes, “I plead with my readers and fellow aficionados to view my blogs on something at least resembling a desktop or laptop sized screen and NOT those damned handheld ‘toy’ devices that seem to have proliferated the market.”

It’s a great blog — if you love movie special effects and learning how they’re created, just keep scrolling.

PRACTICE: 5 Things I Miss About BigLaw.

WHEN “USELESS” LIBERAL ARTS DEGREES AREN’T SO USELESS. Actually, when taught with rigor, the liberal arts are very useful indeed, as I’ve noted before. It’s just that the rigor is hard to come by sometimes.

DEMOCRATS BEGIN TRYING TO DRAFT UNCLE JOE: With Hillary Clinton’s candidacy appearing ever weaker, Democrats are beginning not-so-subtly to draft Joe Biden into running for President. A recent example is today’s piece in the National Journal by Josh Kraushaar, “Joe Biden’s Political Moment”:

But a funny thing happened on the way to the coronation. Throughout the summer, Clinton has been hammered over using a secret, personal email server as secretary of State—one that government officials believe may have compromised the country’s national security and allowed her to conceal (and delete) email correspondence. Meanwhile, as she faces energetic opposition from her party’s progressive base, she’s decided to tack to the left, offering little to disaffected swing voters dissatisfied with Obama. Her campaign operatives believe it’s worth mobilizing the Democratic Party’s ascendant constituencies without offering much to the (shrinking) number of voters in the middle.

In the process, however, her favorable ratings have hit all-time lows, with clear majorities of Americans saying they don’t like her and have trouble believing she’s trustworthy. . . .

Suddenly, if you’re Joe Biden, running for president makes a lot more political sense.

If Obama’s former campaign strategists truly believe that a Democratic candidate only needs to mobilize and microtarget the base to win the presidency, who better to do that than Obama’s unfailingly loyal No. 2? Biden, after all, pushed the president to come out for gay marriage against his best political instincts. He led the administration’s uphill fight for gun control in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre, heading its task force on the subject. He’s helped with the administration’s lobbying effort for its Iran deal, pitched wary Democrats on the benefits of fast-track trade, and stood by the president’s side when he praised the Supreme Court’s ruling upholding Obamacare subsidies.

And at a time when authenticity is a highly valued asset—for betteror worse—Biden boasts the natural political skill set that Clinton clearly lacks. He’s a happy warrior who enjoys campaigning and isn’t constrained by talking points or rope lines. He’s able to ham it up with union rank-and-file, while also giving a stem-winding speech blasting Republicans in Congress. His all-too-frequent malapropisms are endearing at a time when voters are cynical about scripted politicians.

A “happy warrior.” Yeah, well, it’s easy to be happy when you’re ignorant. Biden’s rather long history of plagiarism–in law school, and as a public servant–is a telltale sign that he lacks the intellectual chops to serve as President. Democrats’ attempt to draft Biden–despite his intellectual deficit– is an amusing indicator of their growing panic over Clinton’s candidacy.

RELATED: Clinton campaign said to be growing edgy over possible Biden run.

AT AMAZON: Beautiful things for men.

ASKING THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS: Why is My Kitchen Floor is Always Disgusting?


MSNBC’s lineup is going to look different soon — the news(ish) network is cancelling “The Cycle,” “Now With Alex Wagner” and “The Ed Show.” Alex Wagner and “Cycle” host Ari Melber are sticking around in MSNBC in some capacity, but Ed Schultz and “Cycle” hosts Toure, Krystal Ball and Abby Huntsman will be leaving MSNBC.

“Somehow Al Sharpton remains,” Jim Geraghty deadpans.

It’s NBC and Comcast’s protection money.

RELATED: “Bye-Bye Ed and Alex! The Worst Outbursts of Axed MSNBC Hosts.”

EBOLA UPDATE: WHO: Tests show new Ebola vaccine is ‘highly effective.’

RELAX — SOCIAL SECURITY IS BACKED BY THE PROMISES OF POLITICIANS WHO’LL BE OUT OF OFFICE BY THEN: Did You Ever Notice the Asterisk on Your Social Security Statement? “Clearly, in 2009, the government’s prediction — that Social Security would have to be cut to 78 percent of benefits come 2041 — was overly optimistic. Now, in 2015, they are projecting 2033, eight years earlier, with one percentage point less of my projected benefits. The projections have steadily worsened over the past few years, helped by a much weaker economy than the federal government expected. Does anyone really expect these numbers to get better?”

GOD & THE TWITTER MOB: “It seems to me that the Internet is taking the place of God for a lot of people,” Jonah Goldberg writes in his latest G-File:

The phrase “Character is what you do when no one is watching,” is really a way to get you to imagine that someone is watching you. We are relearning that someone is watching us, but we aren’t being taught that that someone is God.

We’ll see how that works out.

Read the whole thing. As with Jonah on the latest NR Cruise, pants are optional.

RELATED: “Marco Rubio Commits An Act Of Political Competence, Immediately Outpaces Most Republicans.” Rubio does a great job of spreading the word about the Planned Parenthood videos when caught in an ambush interview by TMZ.

HE’S A LOSER: De Blasio’s Uber Attacks Just Like Anti-Charter Schools Campaign.

It’s as easy to use Uber as it is not to. This is a priceless taste of transportation freedom formerly reserved for the oligarchs. As a non-driver, it’s almost enough to make me even like cars.

The chartering power, like the awesome functionality folks now command from their cell phones, enables the creation of new schools that are nimble, creative, and customized to the needs of students. And with a mission that isn’t bound by location and that doesn’t bow to the notion that some kids who live in the wrong borough or who have the wrong parents just won’t get a great education, they bring the same sort of “freedom” to the people that Uber does. In New York in particular, Uber and charter schools are opposite sides of the same disruptive, empowering coin.

If you like both of these things then Mayor Bill de Blasio’s recent attacks on Uber at the behest of the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) and its well-heeled, medallion-wielding financiers might look stunningly similar to his volleys against the city’s charter school sector.

The rhetoric is so similar that — short on time and desperate to support another protectionist monopoly — it’s like the mayor and his staff reused the same playbook. And the players all line up similarly as well. De Blasio and Governor Cuomo. The TLC and Uber. And, of course, the city’s charter sector and the United Federation of Teachers (UFT).
Just compare the tactics.

When cronies defend cronies, it tends to look the same.

BLOGGER BOOK PLUG: Charlie Martin writes to recommend Lilith Rises by Terry Lacy.

JIM GERAGHTY ON FLIGHT 370: “Reminder: This plane was almost certainly taken down deliberately. In fact, our government came to that conclusion a while ago but didn’t want to tell anyone.” “A preliminary assessment by U.S. intelligence agencies, produced in the wake of the MH370 disaster, suggested it was likely someone in the cockpit deliberately caused the aircraft’s movements to go off course before the Malaysian airliner disappeared. Two U.S. officials briefed on the matter said the assessment, which was not intended for public release, was prepared months ago and was solely based on available satellite and other evidence, and not based on more detailed findings by investigators. Another government official said the assessment is the most current view of U.S. officials based on what is known so far about the plane’s fate.”

ALEX POURNELLE: Everyone Hates Their Cable Company. Can New Tech Provide Competition?

AS WELL THEY SHOULD BE: Questions raised on role White House played in UVA rape hoax.

THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED: Study: Beer Creates Jobs. “The Beer Institute and the National Beer Wholesalers Association issued the report Tuesday during a congressional briefing. It claims that beer companies are responsible for 1.5 percent of the gross domestic product and more than $48.5 billion in taxes.” Well, there you have it. You don’t want to be anti-science, do you?


By the way, any thoughts on whose life the Internet outrage mob will destroy next week?


It’s also worth remembering that in 1932, FDR didn’t run on scaling up government even further. Instead, as Jesse Walker of Reason wrote in 2008, Roosevelt “accused Herbert Hoover of ‘reckless and extravagant spending,’ and he further denounced the Republican incumbent for believing ‘we ought to center control of everything in Washington as rapidly as possible.’ Even when he called for interventions in the economy, he generally couched his words in the old liberals’ language of equal treatment rather than the new liberals’ vision of enlightened central planning.”

As Walker noted, the Democratic platform of 1932 “is a remarkable document, considering the way the party’s candidate went on to govern. It isn’t a libertarian manifesto—it endorses several subsidies and regulations—but it hardly embraces the enormous expansion in federal power that FDR would achieve.”

RELATED: Speaking of FDR, “Social Security Isn’t,” Steve Green reminds us Vodkapundit.

SCLEROTIC ONE PERCENTER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE LAUGHS AT THE IDEA OF HER BEING A CHAMPION FOR SMALL BUSINESSES: Which is entirely par for the course, since in April, “Hillary admitted that she was ‘surprised’ to learn that the people who told her small businesses have struggled in recent years were actually correct,” as Joel Gehrke of NRO wrote:

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

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

And Hillary’s disdain for small business is hardly a new subject. In 1999, the late Tony Snow wrote:

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

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


HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: About 85 percent of law students at California’s unaccredited schools drop out. Which is smart: “Only 20 percent of those who do graduate manage to pass the state bar.”

HOLDING COLLEGE CENSORS ACCOUNTABLE: George Leef from the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy has an excellent piece in Forbes about FIRE’s recent victory in the Hayden Barnes case and the importance of holding college administrators accountable for violating student and faculty rights. Check out Leef’s article here.

IT’S MORE THAN JUST A SPOT: Ruth Wisse in the Wall Street Journal on “Obama’s Racial Blind Spot” and how the Iran deal will fuel racism toward Jews:

Barack Obama’s election to the presidency represented to many Americans this country’s final triumph over racism. Reversing the record of slavery and institutionalized discrimination, his victory was hailed as a redemptive moment for America and potentially for humankind. How grotesque that the president should now douse that hope by fueling racism on a global scale.

Iranian regime is currently the world’s leading exponent of anti-Jewish racism. . . . Whereas Adolf Hitler and Reinhard Heydrich had to plot the “Final Solution” in secrecy, using euphemisms for their intended annihilation of the Jews of Europe, Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei tweets that Israel “has no cure but to be annihilated.” Iran’s leaders, relishing how small Israel is, call it a “one bomb state,” and until the time arrives to deliver that bomb, they sponsor anti-Israel terrorism through Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other militias. . . .

Perhaps Mr. Obama is oblivious to what the scholar Robert Wistrich (who died in May) called “the longest hatred” because it has been so much a part of his world as he moved through life. Muslim Indonesia, where he lived from age 6 to 10, trails only Pakistan and Iran in its hostility to Jews. An animus against Jews and Israel was a hallmark of the Rev.Jeremiah Wright’s church in Chicago that Mr. Obama attended for two decades. And before he ran for office, Mr. Obama carried the standard of the international left that invented the stigma of Zionism-as-imperialism. As a presidential candidate, Mr. Obama felt obliged to repudiate his pastor (who had famously cursed America from the pulpit), and muted his far-left credentials. Mr. Obama was voted into office by an electorate enamored of the idea that he would oppose all forms of racism. He has not met that expectation.

Some Jewish critics of Mr. Obama may be tempted to put his derelictions in a line of neglect by other presidents, but there is a difference. Thus one may argue that President Roosevelt should have bombed the approach routes to Auschwitz or allowed the Jewish-refugee ship St. Louis to dock in the U.S. during World War II, but those were at worst sins of omission. In sharpest contrast, President Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran is an act of commission. This is the first time the U.S. will have deliberately entered into a pact with a country committed to annihilating another people—a pact that doesn’t even require formal repudiation of the country’s genocidal aims.

Exactly. Why most American Jews are standing silently by, like sheeple, in the face of these facts is a utter mystery to me. Why did American Jews not demand, at a minimum, Iran’s repudiation of its genocidal aims against Israel? Admittedly, such a repudiation would not have changed the hearts and minds of the Iranians, but it would have at least forced the Administration to publicly recognize and discuss Iran’s genocidal intentions.

As it stands, however, the genocidal aims of Iran toward Israel have been swept under the rug, not even worthy of discussion, which is exactly what the Obama Administration wanted. The Administration’s failure to even discuss the inhumanity of Iran’s racist/ethnic hatred is both shameful and telling, particularly given that Obama is our first black president whose entire presidency has focused incessantly on issues of race and ethnicity. The Obama Administration’s indifference to Iran’s hatred of Jews will further fan the flames such hatred across the globe.

The only explanation I can fathom for American Jews’ acquiescence to the Iran deal is that most are liberals/progressives first, Jews second. How tragic that this attitude has emerged only one generation removed from the Holocaust.

IF YOU STRIKE ME DOWN… Ex–Top Gear Trio Will Make a Car Show for Amazon Prime:

Alongside fellow ex–Top Gear hosts James May and Richard Hammond, the irascible [Jeremy Clarkson, formerly of the BBC's Top Gear series, aka "The Anti-Scold"]  has signed on to host a new automotive series on Amazon Prime, which will start streaming sometime next year. It’s a savvy move, contractually: The non-compete clause in the trio’s old BBC contract apparently only forbade them from signing with a competing British channel for two years, and said absolutely nothing about working with the content-producing arm of an American logistics company.

I wonder if any BBC subscribers will weigh what they’re getting for their mandatory license fees versus what’s included for voluntarily signing up with Amazon Prime or Netflix?

IN THE MAIL: From Jim C. Hines, Fable: Blood of Heroes.

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TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 813.

IT’S THE DETERRENCE, STUPID: Iran: The President says this is the best deal available. He’s right; it’s the best deal he could get—absent a credible threat to use force.

If military capacity were all that mattered, Iran would never have dared to build the full-scale uranium enrichment capacity that it now possesses. Intentions matter as well, however, and here the Iranian leaders have calculated—correctly—that the American government would not use its military trump card to halt Iran’s progress toward nuclear weapons. As President, Barack Obama repeatedly asserted that, where that program was concerned “all options”—including, by inference, the use of force—were on the table, but the mullahs rightly surmised that this was a bluff and, by continuing to build the enrichment program that Obama had vowed not to tolerate, they called it. This is the sense in which the Obama Administration’s description of the deal as the best one available is correct. Given that it was negotiating from a position of self-imposed weakness, it is difficult to see how it could have obtained more favorable terms than the ones embedded in the July 14 agreement. . . .

All of this is to say that, at this very late date, keeping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, with all the catastrophic consequences that that would have, depends on a credible threat to use American military force. This is true even in the highly unlikely event that the process of inspections works as the Obama Administration claims it will. For if and when inspections in these circumstances detect violations, or the Iranian regime simply decides to withdraw from the agreement, as its thirty-sixth paragraph permits, what will the United States do? Nuclear nonproliferation in the Middle East ultimately depends, that is, not on the details of the Vienna agreement but on the familiar Cold-War policy of deterrence.

Even under Bush, it seemed as if the Iranians had more leverage than was visible. I can speculate on where that leverage came from, but that’s all it would be.

WHAT’S DRIVING THE OUTRAGE OVER CECIL THE LION? “It seems clear that Palmer has become a symbol of [fill in the blank] privilege. As such, he must be destroyed in protest of such privilege. Something tells me we wouldn’t be talking about this story but for the fact that it involves a man of Palmer’s status. It’s about him and the class of people he represents, not the lion,” Walter Hudson writes.

Spot on. And for the celebrities who doxxed him, it’s about guilt for having obtained an even higher level of wealth and privilege.

RELATED: Cecil the Lion and the Cultural Perils of Internet Outrage.

WHEN YOUR “CRISIS COMMUNICATIONS” FIRM DOESN’T WANT TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH YOU. . . . Public Relations Firm SKDKnickerbocker Scrubs Website Of Tie To Planned Parenthood.

JACKIE CALMES HAS A PIECE FOR HARVARD’S SHORENSTEIN CENTER ARGUING THAT CONSERVATIVE MEDIA DRAG THE REPUBLICAN PARTY TO THE RIGHT. This may be true, but it’s dwarfed by the extent to which the rest of media drag the entire nation to the left. As Prof. Tim Groseclose noted in his Left Turn: How Liberal Media Bias Distorts the American Mind, without media bias America as a whole would have the politics of Texas or Tennessee. That’s why I keep telling GOP donors that they need to occupy the media space — not just the conservative media space — to win. Otherwise it’s like fighting a battle without air superiority.

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PUNCHING BACK TWICE AS HARD: “James Woods is suing a Twitter troll for $10 million after the Ray Donovan star was called a ‘cocaine addict’ by the user @AbeList. List has since deleted his Twitter account. According to the suit, Woods wants $10 million because he feels like he was defamed by the troll. Here’s what you need to know.”

I wonder if the celebrities such as Mia Farrow and Continuum’s Rachel Nichols and the numerous others who doxxed Walter Palmer should start lawyering up as well? Should Twitter itself?

DON’T WORRY, I’M SURE EVERYTHING’S FINE: IAEA Refuses to Brief Senators on Iran Deal, Even in Classified Setting.

IRS SCANDAL UPDATE: Lerner emails show IRS tried to cover up targeting of conservative groups.

WAPO DISCOVERS THAT there are libertarians on both sides of the abortion debate. Though, naturally, most oppose government funding.

UPDATE: Well, most.

DUE PROCESS FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS IS BAD, DUE PROCESS FOR FEDERAL EMPLOYEES IS ESSENTIAL: Obama Threatens to Veto VA Accountability Act: Says the bill would violate VA employees’ due process rights.

President Obama threatened to veto the Veterans Affairs Accountability Act in a statement on Wednesday.

The President called the bill “counterproductive” and said it would create “a disparity in the treatment of one group of career civil servants.” President Obama’s statement also said the bill would “have a significant impact on VA’s ability to retain and recruit qualified professionals and may result in a loss of qualified and capable staff to other government agencies or the private sector.”

“These provisions remove important rights, protections, and incentives which are available to the vast majority of federal employees in other agencies across the government and are essential to ensure that federal employees are afforded due process,” the statement said.

The bill would expand the VA’s ability to fire incompetent or corrupt employees. It is a follow-up to the 2014 Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act, which extended that ability to top executives at the agency. The new bill would go beyond just executives to lower level employees.

Public servants, or public masters?

IN LOUISIANA, THE WORD OF OFFICER CLAY HIGGINS IS LAW: “By tomorrow, a hundred thousand people will have watched you commit a felony. You WILL be recognized. And the people that know you don’t really like ya, anyway. So when it comes down to a choice between you and a thousand dollars — they’ll take the cash.”

By the way, I love the Internet; I’m watching Officer Higgins’ Crime Stoppers report on a Weblog in Australia where the second blog comment is from someone named “Tex Lovera,” who writes, “That is one Louisianan that is welcome in Texas anytime!”

So say we all! (Y’all.)


DOES IT CAUSE BRAIN DAMAGE? BECAUSE THAT WOULD EXPLAIN A LOT: Congressional Couches Test Positive for Toxic Retardant.

As Congress considers an overhaul of toxic chemical regulations, a new analysis has brought the issue close to home — perhaps a little too close for comfort.

The Environmental Defense Fund recently analyzed six couches from each of the congressional office buildings and found three contained a toxic flame-retardant chemical known as TDCPP. The chemical can be found on the California Environmental Protection Agency’s list of carcinogens.

The analysis could cause some concern around the Capitol — particularly among members of the “Couch Caucus,” who sleep in their offices. Advocates working to overhaul chemical safety regulations hope it pushes lawmakers to act.

“It’s crazy to think that there are toxic chemicals in the very furniture we’re sitting on while working to update America’s chemical safety law,” Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., said in a statement. A couch from his office in the Hart Senate Office Building tested positive for TDCPP, along with couches from the Rayburn and Cannon House Office Buildings.

The EDF-secured nickel-sized samples of foam from the couch cushions of six individual offices. The samples were then sent to Duke University’s Superfund Research Center, which conducts free analyses of furniture foam, and three of the six samples tested positive for TDCPP.

The couches in the study are a small sample size for the hundreds of offices on Capitol Hill. But the EDF noted in a statement about the analysis that congressional furniture “remains in use for many years” and “the varying results may be due to differing ages of the furniture.”

TDCPP, also known as chlorinated tris, was used in children’s pajamas in the 1970s, but manufacturers stopped using the chemical when consumers became concerned about its harmful effects.

I mean, there must be some explanation.

HERBERT CROLY COORDINATE! HERBERT CROLY COORDINATE! Video: Chris Matthews stumps talking point-obsessed DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz: “Tell Me The Difference Between You And A Socialist.”