What Books Does PJM Legal Editor J. Christian Adams Recommend for 2013?">What Books Does PJM Legal Editor J. Christian Adams Recommend for 2013?
After weeks of Miley Cyrus, Bookmarks, the new album from Five for Fighting, couldn’t come soon enough. The twelve songs remind us pop music can be about family, love and life rather than twerking.
John Ondrasik’s latest project follows previous tunes woven into American memory such as “100 Years” and “Superman.” That’s where Five for Fighting always shines – capturing that sense of life, joy, and small moments which taken together are grand. Bookmarks is no different.
Ondrasik always seems to be up to something grand, even if it isn’t obvious. His music, like Bob Dylan, U2, Van Morrison, is about bigger things, in everyday form and gently presented.
The album beings with the explosive and uplifting “Stand Up“:
If your dreams put you asleep/ If you have to paint your face/
and you’re not a clown/ If you’re naked lost in space/
and all you wear’s a frown/
Stand up Stand up/ Cause you’re falling down.
“What If,” the song’s first single is a story of empathy:
Imagine all the pain that might be forgiven/
What if I had your heart/
What if you wore my scars. . . /
What if your hand was my hand/ Could we hold on and let go?
Bookmarks is about permanent and good things, not vain and transient ones.
Editor’s Note: I’ve decided to cross-post together these four PJ articles about the NSA PRISM surveillance program. My colleagues J. Christian Adams, Bryan Preston, Ron Radosh, and Richard Fernandez each deliver compelling analyses and I agree with their conclusions. I’ve been disappointed as many conservatives and Republicans have sought to minimize the severity of what PRISM is, even siding with Democrats to support the program while encouraging focus on the IRS and other Obama scandals. They’re wrong.
At this point the Ron Paul radical anarchist Edward Snowden who initiated this story in the most irresponsible means possible has overextended his 15 minutes of fame. He has ceded any scrap of moral authority he may have once had. Everything about him is a distraction from what really matters. In the coming weeks let’s hope the sad tabloid story about him and his personality can pass and we can get to the serious discussion about the necessity of limiting the powers of government surveillance. - David Swindle
I feel compelled to revise my earliest comments on the NSA Prism leaker, the man we now know as Edward Snowden. My first draft on Snowden, before we knew who he was, and more importantly, his travel plans, said:
The whistleblower who blew up PRISM is an American hero who joins others who have kept the republic alive like Joshua Chamberlain and Harold Agerholm — which probably means the corrupt and dastardly attorney general will prosecute them.
That conclusion deserves revision, which I’ll get to in a moment. But the rest of the original piece still stands, including:
Yesterday we crossed a line. What once seemed kooky is now happening. I figured this would be a fight for a future generation, but it is ours. The frightening future has arrived. The American government has never done anything as sinister as PRISM.
Prism is invading constitutional liberties and appears to have accomplished next to nothing, except invading our constitutional liberties. And for revealing this massive institutional invasion of freedom, whether treasonous or not, we are better off.
Loving the sinner and hating the sin is a concept familiar to many. With Snowden, the reverse is appropriate. We should be thankful we know about Prism, but should pursue the scoundrel to the ends of the Earth. Unfortunately, that means a journey to countries known more for the oppression that Snowden purports to disdain.
For starters, Snowden’s first destination, Hong Kong, is under the effective control of the Red Chinese, the same gang that kills Catholics and hacks America regularly.
Then he exercises doubly bad judgment by boarding an Aeroflot flight to Moscow for refuge. Putting aside Aeroflot’s safety record, Russia is now a nation more known for oppression of political opponents than transparency.
Of all the foreign intelligence services, is there anyone who would want to “debrief” Snowden more than China and Russia?
Not content to visit only a pair of oppressive regimes, Snowden’s plans also included Cuba, Venezuela and Ecuador.
Simply, Snowdon is a fool. He professes to care about liberty, then flees to nation which opposes it. He professes to care about transparency, then flees to nations with active secret police. Snowden is a traitor to the nation, even if his treason might help save it.
Ultimately, this story is not about Edward Snowden. It is about the government behavior he revealed.
Sagebrush Rebel: Reagan’s Battle With Environmental Extremists and Why it Matters Today (Regnery, 2013) by William Perry Pendley, describes how radical environmentalists sparked a revolution against federal land regulation led by head rebel Ronald Reagan. Today, high fuel and energy prices, formerly caused by Carter administration policies, have returned with a new President to blame. Pendley’s book provides valuable lessons for the next Sagebrush Rebel who might try to end the environmentalists’ stranglehold on energy production and American economic potential.
Sagebrush Rebel details Reagan’s history as a conservationist. Conservationism was the original environmentalism. Conservationists considered humans to be stewards of natural resources. As a conservationist Reagan believed in a moral obligation to protect resources for future generations. Conservation’s elevation of human needs is a value thousands of years old and is described in the Old Testament:
You have given him rule over the works of your hands/ putting all things under his feet/All sheep and oxen/ yes, and the beasts of the field/The birds of the air/ the fishes of the sea/ and whatever swims the paths of the seas. (Psalms 8, 6-9)
Throughout the 1970s and culminating in the heavy handed policies of the Carter administration the human-centered conservation movement morphed into the environmentalist movement which revered inanimate objects and animals. The beasts of the fields and fishes of the sea were on par with human needs, or even superior to them.
Charles C. Johnson is the author of Why Coolidge Matters: Leadership Lessons from America’s Most Underrated President. Coolidge presided over the roaring 1920s, which saw massive technological and economic expansion. He provided a model of the presidency squarely at odds with the current occupant of the White House. Charles sat down with PJ Media to discuss his book.
Calvin Coolidge is one of our most underrated presidents and among our very best, both by what he achieved and by what he knew about the American republic. He was our last classically educated president and one of our most well spoken. And far from being Silent Cal, as so many think today, he was, in fact, silenced by New Deal historians like Arthur Schlesinger Jr., who disliked both his political philosophy and its attendant success. The thinking went that if Roosevelt was to be the hero of the Great Depression, Coolidge, who had presided over the roaring 1920s, must have been its villain. Of course it’s a lot more complicated than that, but that’s what we’re so often told in our public schools. Rather than rebut Coolidge, these historians tried to caricaturize him in much the same way they tried to with Reagan. It was only after the Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet Union collapsed that Reagan got his just place in history.
Far from being silent, Coolidge ran for office nineteen times and won election to eighteen offices, working his way all the up from city councilman of Northampton through the presidency of the Massachusetts state Senate and governorship, all the way to president of the United States. He was a career statesman who was always aware of the issues facing the local population because he worked and lived alongside them and admired them.
He wrote three interesting collections of speeches, gave over 500 press conferences, wrote a thoughtful autobiography, and wrote a very interesting post-presidential column.
I set out to write the sort of book about Calvin Coolidge that I wish I had read and to report faithfully what he did. As an investigative journalist, I love puncturing myths that are out there about the world, especially political history. To paraphrase Reagan, there’s so much we know that isn’t so and that’s principally because of how the political left controls our understanding of history.
It’s hard to know if this video is a Spinal Tap style farce, or a freakish collection freeloaders glorifying the retrogression of human progress. They are living as humans in the west lived in the 18th Century, except without the work ethic.
They get free food, produce little, lounge around in tents, pee into hay bales, dumpster dive for food and beg. We know them here in the United States as hobos, bums and the people under the bridge.
One woman says “it wasn’t really a conscious decision” to live like this – how could it be!?
But they’ve adopted the “Eco” label. Eco-This, Eco-That, which buys good press for what is otherwise a shameful waste of time and talent. Their “Eco-village” dispenses with one of the most important human inventions to aid good health: sewage systems. The village represents an environmentalist crusader’s dream – humanity reduced to low impact animals with minimalists footprints. A side benefit, according to one Eco-Hobo, is a “peaceful solution to the problem of humanity.”
Sure it is.
h/t to the Man on the Nag.
I received an email, which I publish below in full. Huff Post contributor and Occupy enabler David DeGraw is involved with the preposterously and ironically named ”Manhattan Project for the Evolution of Society.” The invitation to hop aboard the “Magical Mystery Tour” [brackets all my commentary]:
Friends & Allies
It’s been a year and a half since many of the Occupy camps were broken up, and it’s been almost that long since I last helped organize anything or published content on a consistent basis. So what have I been doing all this time? Other than being a father of two young boys and moving to Los Angeles, I’ve been intensely strategizing behind the scenes with some of the most inspiring, brilliant and influential people on the planet.
As grandiose as this may sound, we now have an extensive five-year plan [Good God why are Stalinists forever drawn to plans spanning the same number of years!?] that people are referring to as the “Manhattan Project for the Evolution of Society.” We are very excited to announce that initial aspects of The Plan will be rolled out through several phases over the course of the next three months.
Through Anonymous, Occupy and the 99% Movement, we collectively proved that decentralized self-organizing networks of like-minded people rallying together can set the world on fire. [After all it is the Manhattan Project!] However, we lacked an exit strategy and the resources required to build a self-sustaining movement that can truly achieve the change and evolution of society that we all know we need. [As David Horowitz described, Degraw offers "destructive rage against the world he inhabits."]
We believe we now have that exit strategy. With funding and resources finally coming in, we are on the verge of having a truly self-sufficient and thriving infrastructure that can maximize all the energy around us. [Do tell who is funding this? Let's all guess... ] We will operate in service to all of the people and organizations that are providing alternatives and solutions to the vast societal problems that are byproducts of an archaic and obsolete system of domination and disempowerment. [No doubt they will "operate" quite differently against everyone else.] An empowering, sustainable and prosperous future is within reach. [Isn't it always to the utopists?]
The road ahead will be intense. Another tour of duty in this nonviolent decentralized war awaits. Obviously, one never knows how these things will turn out, but the initial battle plan is set. The wind, for once, is at our back. The future is ours to win!
Over the next month, while we prepare to launch our first campaign, I will be posting frequently to my personal website and experimenting with some initial concepts. While it will be incredibly hard work, we plan on having a lot of fun in the process. It’s going to be a wild summer!
Looking forward to catching up with you. If you want help in bringing attention to your work, email me here.
Join this email list to stay in the loop.
Hop aboard the magical mystery tour!
PJ Media had the opportunity to interview The Amazing Kreskin of TV talk show fame about being a real-life mentalist and guru of predictions. But our time with Kreskin included discussions ranging from the psychology of mobs, the modern American entitlement class and much more. PJ Media also obtained four predictions about the future of America from Kreskin and spoke with him about his new book Conversations With Kreskin.
PJ Media: What is your new book about?
Kreskin: This is one of the most exciting delights I’ve done in my life. I’ve written 19 books and this is one is like a dream. It has behind the scenes of my record 88 shows with Johnny Carson and other hosts. The middle part has 8 pages of a comic by Joe St. Pierre of the first incident in my life that defined what I was going to do with my life. One of the passions of my life is to make predictions. This includes predictions based on the power of human suggestion.
I’m not a psychic; I’m not a fortune teller. But I predicted the outcome of the presidential primary election one year and four months before the election. I’ve done 71 interviews about it. I wrote out who I thought would be picked by the Republican Party for Vice-President a year in advance. I picked Paul Ryan. I’ve been asked endlessly how I did this. I jogged the night before my prediction and this name kept popping in my head. I knew the Democrats were going to win in November and I knew the person who would be picked for Vice-President.
PJ Media: You do lots of shows around the world, what is your wildest in-flight experience and did you know how it would end?
Kreskin: I’m on a plane, I’m flying to Sacramento from NBC in Los Angeles. It’s an hour after we should have landed. The flight attendant tells us we can’t get the landing gear down and might have to foam the runway. I went to the back of the plane to use the restroom. Back in my seat, I hear grinding noises and they announce that the gear was finally put down.
I’m the first to get off the plane, and at the bottom of the steps are the pilots. They thanked me. They said that the nervous passengers saw you walking around the plane and figured that if you were calmly walking around, that they knew the plane would be fine.
Downton Abbey has jumped the shark, over and over and over again. Either writer Julian Fellowes is toying with viewers by presenting an undercover farce, or “Julian Fellowes” is really a 15-year-old girl using devices common to her age, such as sudden plot lurches, melodrama, tortured simplicity, and outlandish improbability. What started in Season One as a measured, engrossing, and beautiful series has become a weekly, preposterous chore.
Is Laura Linney in on the gag? Has she seen the episodes she is introducing?
Fonzie only jumped the shark once. Here are seven times Downtown Abbey has jumped the shark.
1. Downton Becomes a Hospital
Downtown’s grandest shark jump took place when the estate was turned into a hospital for World War I wounded in Season Two, Episode 3. The subtleties and grandeur of the drama were replaced by noise, racket, bandages, beds, and scores of visitors. To believe this disruption, one must believe that the village is an efficient destination for the war wounded. One must also assume there aren’t other barns, churches, banquet halls, or any other building closer to a railhead capable of handling the casualties. The Downton-becomes-a-hospital frolic and detour sucked the life out of the series and led to even more absurd, improbable plot twists such as the return of Thomas to Downton, the liaison of the maid Ethel and Major Bryant under Lord Grantham’s roof, and the patently impossible return of the terminal William to both die and marry Daisy. Downton as hospital also produced a plot twist so ridiculous it deserves its own shark-jumping moment.
In the good old days, consumers got what they wanted. Supply and demand, not causes or ideology, governed product design and manufacturing. That’s why we have great American icons like the 1969 Chevy Camaro, the charcoal-burning Weber grill, and DDT.
But things have changed. The Green Movement’s worship of scarcity has changed the consumer landscape for the worse. Instead of big, powerful, and, most importantly, effective products, in 2012 consumers must suffer with pansy products. Sure, they are designed to save energy and make you feel good. But they just don’t work as well as the old, and usually cheaper, versions.
Below are seven crappy products we must endure, courtesy of the Green Movement.
1. Low Water Toilets
Any article with the headline above must start with low water toilets. Many of you will remember an age before the government decided water was scarce, when toilets could be counted on. In 1992, Congress passed the Energy Policy Act, and President George Bush signed it. It mandated a maximum flush capacity for toilets. Naturally, the 1992 version of the Green Movement was behind the law, and behind the Republican sponsor – Representative Philip Sharp of Indiana. Since Bush signed Sharp’s legislation, plunger sales have sky-rocketed. Sharp’s bad idea has caused some of the most embarrassing moments of people’s lives, especially when they are visiting someone else’s home.
It’s late in the holiday shopping season, and you are short on ideas for that child, nephew, niece or grandchild who loves to read. As someone who has perused quite a number of books for kids, I can tell you that there are good ones and bad ones – and I don’t mean quality. While some of the bad ones are obviously bad, sometimes it is not so clear. So here are eight PJ-approved gifts for kids, while there is still time to get them:
1. The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Polacco.
This is probably the most beautiful children’s book I have ever read. It is the story of Jewish immigrants to the United States and tells the tale of an article of clothing owned by those immigrants turned into a quilt passed down one generation to the next. It is a story of traditions, family, goodness, celebration and America.
2. The Little House on the Prairie Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
These books are indispensable children’s literature and should be in every home. They are the story of the Ingalls family through young Laura’s eyes as they traveled west and made America. It is a story of self-reliance, hard work, faith, values and goodness. The hardships suffered by this American family are a reminder of how this country was built.
3. The Little Island by Margaret Wise Brown.
Skip the silly Goodnight Moon by the same author and get this lyrical story of a small island, faith, nature, and the march of time.
If you ever wondered what lies at the bottom of the slippery slope, go to Germany. There, you will find Europe’s modern moral and cultural bankruptcy on open display. There, you can visit one of many “erotic zoos” and partake in sex with animals for a price.
In a German “erotic zoo,” customers pay to have sex with farm animals. A barnyard pimp collects money from the customers. These businesses are proliferating throughout Germany and Denmark, and are completely legal.
The Telegraph gives us some background to the law’s “enlightened” legalization of bestiality:
Bestiality was legalised in Germany in 1969, the same year that gay sex was also removed from the criminal code. After that, sex with animals was only punishable if the animal was severely injured.
The current proposal would outlaw animal prostitution by banning the pimps at the erotic zoo. That’s right, pimps. The gatekeepers, literally, would be criminalized. If you collect cash from freaks looking for a lamb, it would be a crime for the first time since 1969.
Has Europe really fallen so far so fast?
Apart from Muslim communities across most of western Europe, birthrates have crashed. Mohammed is the most popular boy’s name in England. European law is in full retreat. In the Netherlands, you can order a mobile euthanasia van to your house like we order a pizza. In England, the Royal College of Obstetricians support infant euthanasia, a.k.a., murder. The glorious cathedrals of the west are empty on Sundays, except in still-devoutly Catholic countries like Poland and Ireland.
Might the rise of secular, hip Europe have any relation to the rise of erotic zoos?
The spectacle of German heavy-petting zoos has some lessons for us here in the United States. PJ Media’s Zombie routinely covers the California version of the moral collapse found in the German sheep and bull bordellos. These beastly bordellos pose a vexing question for libertarians here.
Customers at the German erotic zoos consider this a simple lifestyle choice. Alas, the 1969 repeal of German laws got the government out of the bedroom, or, perhaps more appropriately, out of the barnyard. And under a libertarian model, cows and pigs are properly consider chattel, mere property like a chair or tractor. If one wants to do things to a chair or tractor they own, then they certainly aren’t hurting anyone else.
Another victim has come forward and accused the voice of Sesame Street’s Elmo of engaging in pedophilia. Kevin Clash, the 28-year voice of Elmo, has resigned from the show after another alleged victim has come forward, this time in court. Cecil Singleton has sued Clash for engaging in sexual conduct with the boy when he was 15. Singleton is the second victim to come forward.
The reaction of the government-funded PBS’s Sesame Workshop? Condemnation? Disgust? Hardly.
“Sesame Workshop’s mission is to harness the educational power of media to help all children the world over reach their highest potential. Kevin Clash has helped us achieve that mission for 28 years, and none of us, especially Kevin, want anything to divert our attention from our focus on serving as a leading educational organization. Unfortunately, the controversy surrounding Kevin’s personal life has become a distraction that none of us want, and he has concluded that he can no longer be effective in his job and has resigned from Sesame Street. This is a sad day for Sesame Street.”
(outrageous emphasis all mine.)
Let’s deconstruct the statement. First the praise: “Kevin Clash has helped us achieve that mission for 28 years.” Really? What will PBS do when we learn that Clash’s access to children through Sesame Workshop may have resulted in abuse the same way Jerry Sandusky’s access to kids at Penn State did? Will PBS stand by Clash the same way the statement does?
Pedophiles notoriously enter professions that give them access to children. Like a fisherman with a lure, they rely on puppets, football tickets, candy, balloons, toys and worse to attract victims. Did Clash’s “achievement” of the PBS “mission for 28 years” have a darker side? It seems strange that his employers would tout his good work.
Next: “none of us, especially Kevin, want anything to divert our attention.” So nice to see that Sesame Workshop is doing Clash’s bidding. If Kevin wouldn’t want it, neither would we.
Two weekends remain before Election Day — just enough time for movie fans to pop in a couple of flicks. These suggestions aren’t obvious election-related films like 2016 or Occupy Unmasked. For starters, these movies aren’t necessarily as depressing. They can instead be hilarious, uplifting, and fascinating. But each one has something to say.
Avalon is the gorgeous Barry Levinson story of Russian-Jewish immigrants who came to America, and who came to love America. They proudly sought America’s material promise and spiritual freedom. They built things, they raised families, they dreamed. They realized that no place on Earth offered the same life to those determined to work hard. Sometimes they failed, but that didn’t stop them. Sometimes they made mistakes, but they learned. Avalon is the story of what happens when the goodness of a nation is matched with good people. It is a story of what makes our nation great and what Americans have treasured for generations.
If Avalon is poetic and beautiful, this Mike Judge comic farce is ugly and lowbrow, except it really isn’t. Idiocracy is the story of an “average” American who is frozen for 500 years and awakens to a totally transformed America. Law, culture, morals, ambition, intelligence, initiative, thrift, industry, and competence have all rotted away. The movie is a comic romp through the resulting society. Planes fall from the sky, government planning leads to near famine, and sugar drinks flow through tubes to millions watching TV on the couch.
Over at PJ Media, Michael Walsh has this piece about Paul Ryan’s familiarity with the pro-freedom writings of Ayn Rand. But the unanswered questions is does Paul Ryan also like… Rush?
About my age (42ish): Check (Subdivisions!).
Reads Ayn Rand: Check.
Grew up within range of WMET-FM in Chicago in 1980s: Check
Libertarian tendencies: Check
And the most important thing, male: Check
Paul Ryan is 5 for 5 on the Rush probability index. Maybe his campaign can start playing some Rush now that the leftist bands he likes told him to stop playing them, like Rage Against the Machine.
This month marks the 20th anniversary of one of the last great culturally and musically dominant albums of the rock era — Achtung Baby by U2. The album introduced a wild new industrial wall of sound, rhythm, and psychedelic swirl to the world. It sat on top of the charts for months, won the Grammy for album of the year, and regularly appears on critics’ lists of the best albums of all time. It may be my generation’s Sgt. Pepper.
Not long after Achtung Baby dominated the airwaves, the radio and music industry changed forever. Market micro-segmentation and the diminished relevance of terrestrial radio meant that no single album would again capture the rock nation as did Achtung Baby, and Nirvana’s Nevermind did earlier that fall. Sure, musical acts still explode to riches and some fame, but culturally unifying musical dominance doesn’t occur the way it once did.
There are no more Michael Jacksons or The Beatles, or groups like U2. These days, it is difficult to name any single contemporary song that the vast majority of Americans are familiar with as they were with Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” in 1984 or U2’s “One” from Achtung Baby. Like our politics, our music has frayed apart.
“Well it’s too late, tonight
To drag the past out into the light
We’re one, but we’re not the same”
— “One,” Achtung Baby
The first time I heard “The Fly,” Achtung Baby’s first single, in November 1991, it was sonically radical. It was an unfamiliar but delightful experience, similar to what the first listen to “Love Me Do” by the Beatles in 1963 must have been. U2’s new radical sound was intentional. Faced with creative stagnation after Rattle and Hum in 1988, U2 sought to reinvent themselves. To record Achtung Baby they traveled to Berlin, a city that was undergoing its own reinvention in the fall of 1990.
Aided by Brian Eno, the aural master of little known but spectacular works like Here Come the Warm Jets, U2 set up in Berlin’s Hansa Studios. Eno and Bono sought to push the album toward an industrial, rhythmic, and distinctive continental European sound. Others in the band resisted the radical new direction, but eventually they hit upon genius. The post-punk guitar explosions, a giant dancehall bass, and drums thrust to the forefront created something never done before, and never done since.
“Time is a train — makes the future the past
Leaves you standing in the station
Your face pressed up against the glass”
— “Zoo Station,” Achtung Baby.
For lovers of deep tracks, the album even produced a fantastic array of B-side special releases including “Lady with the Spinning Head.” (Find it! It’s on the newly released two-disc deluxe version of Achtung Baby.) In all, five of the 12 songs hit the charts in the United States and the Zoo TV tour filled football stadiums around the world.