Monday's HOT MIC

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Ike Announces "First Five-Year Plan."

Cites "output gap" with Soviet economic juggernaut

-Fake New York Times, circa 1957

Apparently, there are plenty of "conservatives" around today who would have applauded this headline 60 years ago. But we'll get to that in a moment.

My friend and early PJM colleague Jeff Goldstein wrote on Facebook this morning:

I told you all before and I'll repeat it now: the alt right is not conservative, and it is every bit as driven by identity politics and blood essentialism as the prog left.

Antifa, BLM, CAIR, the New Black Panthers, La Raza, the Pussy Hatters, the KKK -- these are all identity movements and all formed and animated by the kind of identity politics championed by the left, and legitimated by the likes of Edward Said and other academic cultural Marxists who recognized the way to power was to divide, and then control, particular identity groups, whose narratives they seek to create and police.

The alt-right is only "right wing" in the continental sense. The American conservative is classically liberal, while the American progressive is Fabian socialist.

Don't listen to labels; follow the assumptions made by each movement -- the alt right, the prog left -- and you'll soon recognize that they are the same. This is tribalism, no more and no less. And when tribes are at odds, they clash over territory -- be it physical territory or political power. What we are witnessing is an attempt to corrupt the ideals of a propositional nation based on individualism and individual universal rights (and that's how our Constitutional republic is designed to operate) -- a lesson Google's pillorying of a software engineer as "anti-diversity" should have made clear. Intolerance is a hallmark of every authoritarian movement. Simply pretending some intolerance is more noble, which is affected by self-servingly dismissing dissenters as purveyors of "hate," is a ham-fisted surrender to anti-intellectual sophistry.

You should reject this archaic collectivism from whatever group espouses it, because in the end it is simply anti-individualism dressed in mob attire to bolster cowardice and bigotry in numbers.

Well said. In Ayn Rand's 1943 novel, The Fountainhead, Ellsworth Toohey said something similar about the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany:

One country is dedicated to the proposition that man has no rights, that the collective is all. The individual held as evil, the mass – as God. No motive and no virtue permitted – except that of service to the proletariat.

That’s one version. Here’s another. A country dedicated to the proposition that man has no rights, that the State is all. The individual held as evil, the race – as God. No motive and no virtue permitted – except that of service to the race. Am I raving or is this the harsh reality of two continents already ? If you’re sick of one version, we push you in the other. We’ve fixed the coin. Heads – collectivism. Tails – collectivism. Give up your soul to a council – or give it up to a leader. But give it up, give it up, give it up. Offer poison as food and poison as antidote. Go fancy on the trimmings, but hang on to the main objective. Give the fools a chance, let them have their fun – but don’t forget the only purpose you have to accomplish. Kill the individual. Kill man’s soul. The rest will follow automatically.

Judging by some -- not all, not most, not even a plurality, but some of the responses to Jeff's Facebook post, too many Americans have indeed fallen for Toohey's fixed coin.

"The only way to beat the progressives is to is to have group identity politics of our own."

-Paraphrased from reader comments

Well, no. That's like saying the only way to beat the Soviets was to adopt our own Five Year Plan, gently ministered by our own Gosplan in the name of The People.

"The Founders only meant for liberty among like-minded people."

-Also paraphrased from reader comments

What rubbish. The Founders gave us a Bill of Rights specifically to deny like-minded people from turning temporary passions or fleeting factions into permanent political or economic advantage.

Honestly, Soviet Communists didn't care if the United States went Communist or Fascist, so long as we stopped being free -- because the tiniest spark of liberty anywhere is a danger to tyrants everywhere. Instead, we stuck to our guns and became the economic powerhouse the Soviets claimed they'd become, and we left them on the ash heap of history.

Flash forward to 2017, and today's collectivists don't really care if you're Antifa or Alt-Right, just so long as you're no friend of liberty. They'll divide and conquer, then unite and rule -- and split the booty between themselves later.

Reject both sides of the fixed coin. The choice between "the People" and "my race" is no choice at all.

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.

This is awful.

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..."