Monday's HOT MIC
Protesters gather at Trump Tower, and it's not pretty.
Is this a statement or character assassination?
Anyway, protesters are gathering as President Trump returns to Trump Tower, to wish him a fine evening... or rather, to blame him for the Charlottesville white supremacy and violence.
Here's what Franklin Graham has to say about that: "That's absurd." Wait 'till you see whom Graham blames for the violence.
What happens when your column is excerpted as Notable & Quotable in the Wall Street Journal? Even though you're a subscriber and really only read that paper (what other one is possibly worth reading?), you don't notice your own column until your friend Lionel calls you after lunch. Instead, you pick up the editorial pages of that paper and read the lead op-ed - in this case on Korea and written by two unknowns named Mattis and Tillerson - finish their article and toss the paper aside, going about your business without realizing the bottom of that same page is you. Ah, well. At least I got a bit of excitement a few hours later. As an observation - and this says a lot about my own makeup, but I suspect that of others as well - when something good happens, it gives me pleasure for about forty-five minutes. When something bad happens, the pain tends to linger for years. Worth keeping in mind even if, as in my case, you can't cure it.
Do you ever get the feeling that there are two sets of rules that determine whether or not a violent attack is an act of terrorism or simple assault? And that the determining factor seems to depend on political affiliation?
The FBI is treating the attempted mass assassination of Republican lawmakers as “assault” and not terrorism, FBI Assistant Director in Charge Andrew Vale announced at a press conference Tuesday morning.
“At this time the FBI has assessed that the deceased shooter, James T. Hodgkinson, acted alone. We also assess that there was no nexus to terrorism. The FBI is investigating the shooting as an assault of a member of Congress and assault on a law enforcement officer,” Vale said.
Hodgkinson was a "lone wolf" left-wing terrorist as surely as James Alex Fields is a right-wing terrorist. But for whatever reason, the FBI under acting director (and Clinton supporting) Andrew McCabe didn't want to admit that.
Car attack kills one and injures seven outside Paris.
On Monday night, a man drove a car into a pizzeria, injuring seven and killing one. His motives remain unclear. More from CNN (I know, I know):
A car was intentionally rammed into a pizzeria east of Paris Monday night, leaving one person dead and seven injured, according to the French Interior Ministry.
The incident took place in Sept-Sorts, 55 kilometers (34 miles) east of Paris, a ministry spokesperson told CNN.
The driver of the car has been arrested but his motivations are still unknown the spokesperson said.
The French National police tweeted that an operation was ongoing and asked people to respect the security perimeter, in order not to affect the rescue operations.
The dead girl was 8 years old, according to the Associated Press (AP).
More on this story as it develops.
Records from 911 calls show the driver charged with killing a woman at a white nationalist rally was previously accused of beating his mother and threatening her with a knife.
Authorities say 20-year-old James Fields drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters on Saturday in Charlottesville. At least two dozen were wounded in addition to the woman killed.
The records the Florence Police Department in Kentucky show the man’s mother had called police in 2011. Records show Fields’ mother, Samantha Bloom, told police he stood behind her wielding a 12-inch knife. Bloom is disabled and uses a wheelchair.In another incident in 2010, Bloom said that Fields smacked her in the head and locked her in the bathroom after she told him to stop playing video games. Bloom told officers Fields was on medication to control his temper.
While everyone's still talking about Charlottesville, it's worth keeping in mind that just because two groups clash violently, it doesn't mean that, philosophically, they aren't on the same side. As I tweeted this morning:
A look at the political situation in Germany at the time can be found below: it's worth a watch. Both the National Socialists and the Communists hated the liberal democracy of the Weimar Republic and wanted it destroyed. Hitler won that round; Stalin won the rematch in 1945.
If you had "stuntman" in the Deadpool...
Then you'd have lost. A stunt woman has tragically died on the set of "Deadpool 2." From TMZ:
The rider went airborne in Vancouver Monday morning during filming for the movie. Her bike crashed through the glass of a ground-floor studio inside Shaw Tower near Jack Poole Plaza. Witnesses say she never applied the brakes.
The rider -- whose identity is being withheld -- was pulled from the crash site and taken to the hospital by ambulance. Police taped off the area, and an investigation is underway.
It's the second major mishap involving stunts in as many days. Tom Cruise was badly injured during a failed stunt on the set of "Mission: Impossible 6."
Steve -- nice to see a shout-out to one of the great villains in all literature, Ellsworth Toohey from Rand's best novel, The Fountainhead. Insidious, scheming, self-serving and utterly sociopathic. In other words, just like a lot of people in public life these days, mostly on the Left but not entirely...
Toohey's philosophy is the polar opposite of individualism. He's all about collectivism; he believes in the crowd. Unlike Roark, who is all about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (Roark is presented as being as American as apple pie), Toohey rants about sacrifice, denial, the virtues of being miserable, and the unimportant nature of the individual.
Toohey's ideal world is a creeptastic hivemind:
"The world of the future. That's what I want. A world of obedience of and unity. A world where the thought of each man will not be his own, but an attempt to guess the thought of the brain of his neighbor who'll have no thought of his own..."
What's really sad is that investors are buoyed by the rumor, and given the current state of the Chrysler brand, they may be right to be:
A Chinese automaker reportedly made a quiet bid to acquire Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, raising the distinct possibility that the traditional member of the Detroit Three that was bailed out by U.S. taxpayers could wind up with Chinese ownership.
After years of pursuing a deal to gain greater global scale, the Italian-American automaker recently rejected an acquisition bid by an unidentified Chinese company, according to Automotive News.
The publication also reported that multiple Chinese automakers are weighing a similar bid for the maker of the Jeep, Ram, Chrysler and Dodge brands.
A Fiat Chrysler spokeswoman declined to comment Monday morning.
But investors were heartened by the prospect of a deal. Fiat Chrysler shares traded in New York rose 8.2% to $12.56 at 10:44 a.m.
Chrysler's stablemates, Jeep and Dodge, are just as Jeepy and Dodgey as ever.
(Well, almost ever. Jeep still produces three of the most-loved and iconic American off-road vehicles, but they also make some "soft-roader" wannabes which have no business sporting the Jeep name. But I digress.)
Chrysler enjoyed a resurgence in the 1990s with its "cab-forward" vehicles -- outgoing CEO Lee Iacocca's parting gift to the company he'd saved from extinction in the late-'70s/early-'80s. But having pushed front-wheel architecture as far as it would go, the company went back to its muscle-sedan roots with the awesome rear-wheel drive 300C introduced for the 2005 model year.
But that was about it.
Daimler got fed up and sold off the Chrysler Group to an investment firm headed up by Bob Nardelli, who had just finished up nearly ruining Home Depot. Nardelli's Cerberus Capital Management sullied the brand once known for "attainable luxury" even further by cheapening Chrysler's interiors to the point that they became a running joke. By the time the Obama Administration foisted Chrysler Group on Fiat two years later, there was hardly anything left of Chrysler, itself.
Even now, eight years later, the brand's entire lineup consists of the aging 300, the all-but-dead 200, and the Pacifica minivan. Crossovers are all the rage now, and Chrysler -- which once pioneered the move to minivans and the return of the high-output V-8 -- doesn't make a single one.
It's been a long, slow, sad decline. And even if Fiat, or the Chinese, or whoever, can save the Chrysler Group's stronger brands, I'm not sure there's enough of Chrysler left to save.