June 24, 2019

“I THINK MOST PEOPLE THINK OF RAPE AS BEING SEXY:” Anderson Cooper at a loss for words during his interview of E. Jean Carroll.

Earlier: Why Should We Believe E. Jean Carroll?

OPEN THREAD: Monday, Monday.

JEFF DUNETZ ON THE AOC MESS: Why The Holocaust Should NEVER Be Used As Weapon Of Political Warfare.

As Alan Dershowitz noted, “By making that comparison, she becomes a Holocaust denier, because what’s she’s saying is: ‘Gee, if all that Hitler did is what Trump is doing on the southern border,’ then there were no death camps, there were no killing squads, there was no genocide, there was no murder of a million-and-a-half babies, there were no selections where people were picked based on their health and whether they were twins and subjected to the most gruesome form of punishment.’”

OR ALIENS. PROBABLY ALIENS. Mysterious explosion in a German cornfield was probably a WWII bomb.

CAN WE GET ONE OF THOSE HERE? It’s Spreading: Protest against pro-China “red media” draws tens of thousands in Taipei.

FOUR MYTHS ABOUT sports and testosterone.

I HOPE THEY CRACK DOWN FURTHER ON VAGUE LAWS: Supreme Court rules ‘crime of violence’ law is unconstitutionally vague. Justice Gorsuch: “Only the people’s elected representatives in Congress have the power to write new federal criminal laws. And when Congress exercises that power, it has to write statutes that give ordinary people fair warning about what the law demands of them.” Justice Kavanaugh disagreed, saying this will make it harder to prosecute criminals. I’m with Gorsuch.

IN THE WASHINGTON FREE BEACON, Joseph Bottom reviews my The Social Media Upheaval. He gets it.

IS THERE ANYTHING IT CAN’T DO? Could coffee help you lose weight? New research suggests a fat-busting effect.

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THE BERLIN AIRLIFT: After WWII, Churchill declared that an “iron curtain” had descended across Europe, separating Soviet-dominated Eastern Europe from the free world.  Berlin, which had been reduced to rubble, was an anomaly. Located deep inside East Germany, it was nevertheless not wholly under Soviet control. Rather, under the agreement reached at Potsdam, it was divided into four sectors, with each under the control of one of the allied powers—France, Great Britain, the Soviet Union and the United States. The French, British and American sectors formed West Berlin, which was … well… the part you’d want to be in.

Westerners wondered how long could such an arrangement could last. How long would it be before the Soviet Union moved to gain full control? They got their answer in this day in 1948 when the Soviet Union blockaded the roads and railroads leading from West Germany to West Berlin. The Soviets were hoping to strangle this little enclave of freedom, which had only a few weeks worth of food and a month’s worth of coal.

Sensible people thought a city the size of Berlin couldn’t be supplied with food and necessities by air. That’s what freight trains and big trucks are for. But other than to surrender the city, the allies had no choice. Beginning on June 26, the air forces of France, Great Britain and the United States, along with those of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa executed the Berlin Airlift. According to Wikipedia, they flew 200,000 sorties in a single year. That works out to one every two or three minutes.

The Soviets did nothing to stop it. They knew they’d be risking war if they tried.

There were lots of heroes in this story. But the special hero was an American pilot named Gail Halvorsen. One day after flying a cargo plane into Tempelhof air field, he noticed a group of about 30 ragamuffin children watching from behind a barbed wire fence, so he went over to talk to them. They told him that if at some point the weather gets too bad to continue the airlift, they would be okay. “We can get by on a little food, but if we lose our freedom, we may never get it back.”

Lt. (later Col.) Halvorsen reached into his pocket and came up with two sticks of Wrigley’s gum, which the children excitedly broke into tiny pieces and shared as best they could. Some only got to smell the wrapper.

A light went on in Halvorsen’s head. Next time he and his crew would airdrop candy tied with handkerchiefs as tiny parachutes. The children were delighted. Each time he dropped a load of candy he noticed the crowd of children was larger than before.

The higher-ups in the Air Force noticed too. Soon Halvorsen’s project was made official and greatly expanded to include many pilots and their crews. All told, it is thought that more than 23 tons of candy—much of it contributed by candy manufacturers—were dropped from over 250,000 little parachutes to many thousands of children who needed a bright spot in their lives. Let freedom ring.

By the way, as far as I can tell, Gail Halvorsen is still alive, one of the last of the Greatest Generation.  Here’s to you, Colonel! You are a better Gail H. than I.


ANALYSIS: TRUE. Astronauts, not robots, essential to getting answers on the moon.

YOUR DAILY TREACHER: Why Should We Believe E. Jean Carroll?


Predictably, the vast majority of the people and the outlets that shared this exchange failed to note that the violations being discussed had occurred during the previous administration, while those who did know failed to ask themselves (and others) why the violations didn’t receive similar coverage when they were first exposed. Instead, they jumped straight to the conclusion that the federal government, headed up by President Trump, was deliberately inflicting pain on babies. This isn’t true.

It wasn’t true during the Obama administration either. Then, as now, the violations weren’t part of an intentional or evil ploy, but were the product of the system’s being overloaded. Then, as now, the intended care at these facilities was humane, and consistent within the requirement under Flores. In 2014, the Obama administration was dealing with a serious crisis: a large influx of unaccompanied minors that strained the facilities. In 2019, the Trump administration is dealing with a serious crisis: a large influx of unaccompanied minors that strains the facilities.

The absence of coverage back in 2014 makes perfect sense. After all:


GREAT MOMENTS IN HYPERBOLE: Joe Biden Compares Trump’s Election to the Assassinations of MLK, Bobby Kennedy.

On Saturday, former Vice President Joe Biden compared President Donald Trump’s election in 2016 to the assassinations of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy in 1968. Biden said that Trump’s victory was shocking enough to “reawaken” liberals in politics, just like those horrific deaths.

“I think what’s happening now is, I think that Donald Trump may have reawakened sensibilities in this country to say ‘Whoa, maybe we can do this now, just like our generation was awakened when Dr. King and Bobby Kennedy were assassinated,’” Biden told Rev. Al Sharpton on MSNBC Saturday.

Yet another Democratic Party segregationist that Joe is associating with.

SCIENCE, UNSETTLED: Scientists declare nearly 400 medical practices ‘ineffective.’

FACE, MEET PALM: ‘Morally Bankrupt:’ Joe Biden Blames Trump for Obama Immigration Policies.

GREAT MOMENTS IN INTERSECTIONALITY: South Bend Blacks Revolt Against Pete Buttigieg, Threaten to Derail His 2020 Campaign.

GOOD: Trump issues executive order increasing transparency in hospital prices, doctor fees. “The executive order will direct the Department of Health and Human Services to require hospitals and insurers to disclose negotiated rates for services, as well as provide patients with out-of-pocket costs before their procedures. . . . The order also requires HHS to determine further regulatory steps that need to be taken to address surprise billing, while looking into other barriers that impact transparency in health care costs, according to Azar.”

CALIFORNIA, HERE BE MONSTERS: J. Frank Bullitt, writing on Issues & Insights, catalogues the once-Golden State’s current and growing woes as driving factors in the creation of what Victor Davis Hanson calls “America’s first Third-World state.”


NEWS YOU CAN USE: 7 Sins Of Firearm Safety.

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BOOM: Trump Imposes Sanctions on Iran’s Supreme Leader, Others.

The move came on the same day the Trump administration said it is planning to try to assemble an international coalition to protect shipping in the Persian Gulf, senior State Department officials said Monday.

However, officials did not spell out the precise role other countries would take, saying they would serve as observers, deterring Iranian attack by watching and taking photographs of Iran’s operations.

“This is having eyes on,” said one State Department official, who is traveling with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Saudi Arabia. “So it’s not about shooting at people. It’s about shooting pictures of Iranians.”

“The U.S. will participate,” added the State Department official, who noted that the effort is being dubbed the “Sentinel program.”

Keep “shrinking the box,” as I wrote earlier today.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: School Has Robbed Young People of Their “Why.” “Many young people today feel lost. Some are unable to chart a course for their lives and so find themselves stranded at home. Others float aimlessly in jobs where they are unable to find engagement and meaning. All of these issues boil down to a deficiency of self-direction. Young people are adrift in the sea of life, because they are rudderless. And it was school that broke their rudders. In school, obedience is the highest virtue. Do this, and don’t do that. Why? Because I said so. Stop pursuing that interest; instead, study this. Why? Trust me, it’s for your own good.”

Narrator: It wasn’t.

THE CORBYNIZATION OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY CONTINUES APACE: Ilhan Omar lawyer: two marriages hard to explain. And newly surfaced documents seem to undermine her backstory.

(Via Power Line.)

FASTER, PLEASE: Trump Administration Pushes To Make Health Care Pricing More Transparent.

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: ‘I sued Brewdog for sex discrimination against men and won.’ “He claimed for damages and an apology for ‘direct discrimination and breach of the Equality Act 2010,’ according to court documents dated May 23 2019.”

YOU’RE GONNA NEED A BIGGER BLOG: Democratic Presidential Clown Car Update for June 24, 2019. “Biden boasts about his segregation senate buds, a sleestak joins the race, Beto hires a Ralph Northam staffer, and New York Times and/or Google News screw up a lot of candidate photos.”

THE CORBYNIZATION OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY CONTINUES APACE: In Tweet Rebuking Steve King, AOC Accidentally Reminds People Of Her Party’s Tolerance For Anti-Semitism.

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JOHN STOSSEL: The Moral Case For Capitalism. It’s the only economic system that’s not based on force, which is the drawback to some people.

REPUBLICANS POUNCE: WashPost Spins ISIS-Inspired Beheadings of Two Women as ‘Weapon for the Far Right.’

The Washington Post put the December beheading of two young female Scandinavian hikers in Morocco on the front page on Sunday. The bodies of Maren Ueland of Norway and Louisa Jespersen of Denmark were found on December 17 in the Atlas Mountains, and the Post barely covered it at the time.

This new 5,000-word story came with this strange headline: “In 2 brutal killings for Islam, a weapon for the far right.”

Doesn’t that devalue the victims? Can the Post imagine this headline? “In brutal killing of columnist Khashoggi, a weapon for The Washington Post.” Can’t all good people disparage brutal killings?

As one of Tim Blair’s headline went, “Stop Pointing the Finger at Victims Of Terror.”

FLASHBACK: The Suicide of Expertise.

OH: Just-Promoted DCCC Official Has History of Homophobic, Racist Comments. “Top committee staffer Tayhlor Coleman deletes tweets after Free Beacon inquiry.”

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: Crack-ups at the Crossroads of Intersectionality.

The 2020 Democratic primary is a showcase of these intersectional Balkan wars—race, sex, class, and comparative claims on victimhood that cannot be reconciled by comparative set-asides, quotas, and reparations, much less by a self-appointed, supposed all-knowing, all-powerful old white guy like Biden, playing the role of Alexander among the squabbling city-states and Macedonian tribes, or Napoleon both channeling and transcending the bloody factionalism of the French Revolution, or Tito suppressing tribalism by an all-encompassing authoritarian leftist dogma.

Intersectionality ends not by compromise, but by implosion through its own utter nihilism that sees humans as collective cardboard cutouts rather unique individuals who transcend their superficial appearances.

It’s VDH, so read the whole thing.


AM I WRONG TO SUSPECT THAT KAMALA HARRIS’S CAMPAIGN IS BEHIND THIS? South Bend’s Black Voters Revolt Against Pete Buttigieg, Threaten to Derail His 2020 Campaign.

GODSPEED: Falcon Heavy rocket set to attempt SpaceX’s “most difficult launch ever.”

First of all, this is the first time the Air Force has flown payloads on a Falcon Heavy rocket. And while this mission will not be carrying anything critical to national security—such as large satellites valued at $1 billion or more used for observation, communication, or other purposes to advance the national interest—Air Force officials will be watching closely.

The US military is in the middle of determining which providers among SpaceX, United Launch Alliance, Blue Origin, and Northrop Grumman will win lucrative launch contracts from 2022 to 2026. The Air Force is only expected to pick two winners, and SpaceX has said its Falcon Heavy rocket can meet all nine of the Air Force’s “reference orbits,” which means sending heavy payloads to some exotic orbits that require a lot of energy to reach.

The unique profile of Monday night’s mission will help demonstrate that the Falcon Heavy rocket’s second stage does indeed have the capability to reach all of these orbits. After the rocket launches and its second stage separates, it will perform four separate upper-stage engine burns, and then, almost like a school bus, drop off satellites at three different locations. These maneuvers will require precise performance by the upper stage over the course of six hours.

It all begins in just a few hours.

BAN THE CRIMETHINKING CROCHETERS! Ravelry, a crocheting-oriented social network, silences Trump supporters as “white supremacists.”

ELECTORAL INTERFERENCE: Project Veritas Reveals Google’s ‘Fairness’ Efforts to Prevent 2016 From Happening Again.

Remember, any time leftists lose, it means the system is “broken” and there’s a lot of “unfairness.”

RUN ALL THE CANDIDATES! Some Guy Named Joe is Running for President: Dem Field Complete.

THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED, DAMMIT: We Tried to Publish a Replication of a Science Paper in Science. The Journal Refused. “Our research suggests that the theory that conservatives and liberals respond differently to threats isn’t actually true.”

MEANWHILE, OVER AT VODKAPUNDIT: Iran Is Not a Problem We Should Solve, But It Is a Situation We Can Manage. “It’s safe to say then that when it comes to core interests, that for Iran, née Persia, not much has changed since the Persian Emperor Darius the Great began his campaign to subdue mainland Greece in 492 BC, and won’t change much in the future.”

DISPATCHES FROM THE INTERSECTIONAL OLYMPICS: San Fran Homeless Advocates Go to War with Gay Sushi Restaurant Over a Rock Where a Sleeping Vagrant Should Be. “Best I can tell from that, both gay pride and homelessness have been given top-of-the-chart status on the hierarchy of identity politics, and now they’re battling it out like King Kong vs. Godzilla.”

DECOUPLING: US may require companies make 5G equipment outside of China. “It wouldn’t be enough to use hardware from non-Chinese companies.”


Nicholas Powers writes in Race Baitr (the article has since been deleted, apparently) that “white people begging us for food feels like justice. It feels like Afro-Futurism after America falls. It feels like a Black Nationalist wet dream. It has the feels I rarely feel, a hunger for historical vengeance satisfied so well I rub my belly.”

I think this is called “diversity and inclusion.”

JON GABRIEL: Horrors! USDA moved a few bureaucrats out of D.C. to improve service. As Jon writes, “Ignore the protests from bureaucrats. More federal agencies would be smart to move their operations away from Washington.”

CRACKDOWN: Venezuela Detains Six Military, Police Officials, Family Members, Activists.

“Family members,” now known as “hostages.”


THERE’S A PHOTO/VIDEO, AND HE LOOKS EXACTLY AS YOU’D EXPECT: WATCH: Smug vandal rips out pro-life crosses, compares pro-lifers to flat-Earthers.

ELECTION INTERFERENCE: Project Veritas: Insider Blows Whistle & Exec Reveals Google Plan to Prevent “Trump situation” in 2020 on Hidden Cam.

Plus: “Insider: Google Violates ‘letter of the law’ and ‘spirit of the law’ on Section 230.”

LIZ SHELD’S MORNING BRIEF: Immigration Raid Canceled After Rogue Leak. “When are these leakers going to be hunted down and punished? Anyone who is leaking information from the White House needs to be discovered and punished severely. It’s dangerous to have unelected bureaucrats deciding to influence policy by trying to embarrass the administration. It’s Trump’s fault that he hasn’t smoked out these activists and fired them or put them in an office with nothing other than a crossword puzzle and a pencil. You can’t fire these dirt bags because of the ridiculous union “job protection” rules but you can add civil service reform to the top of the list of issues Trump should have addressed on day one.”

SO BEFORE I WENT TO CAYMAN, I bought a Nikon W300 underwater camera. It’s a point-and-shoot, but it’s a fancy point-and-shoot and most importantly, it’s waterproof to 100 feet. I took it along on almost every dive, and it worked fine — the viewfinder even shows you your depth, with a warning orange bar when you get deeper than 75 feet. It never leaked, and the quality of pics was pretty good.

One of several friendly turtles.

It’s a decent out-of-water camera too, and it’s shockproof — which really means shock-resistant, but it’s tougher than most other cameras. (Bumped).

UPDATE: Some earlier underwater photos here.

CORN, POPPED: A civil war is coming for the Democratic Party — and it won’t be pretty.

For starters, is the Democratic Party a party of the rich or a party of the little guy? For many years, they’ve been the party of the rich playing a good game of pretending to be for the little guy.

And the Democratic establishment does it in insidious ways that are too clever by half: They are for the marginalized guy or gal in the race, gender, and sexuality issues because, hey, that doesn’t hurt their and their affluent constituents’ pocketbook much.

But in the economic issues that matter, they often sock it to the average Democratic working-class voter: in the global trade deals that’ve offshored jobs and have decimated the American manufacturing base; in their looking the other way as illegal immigrants depress the wages of working-class Americans, and more.

But as long as they talk and talk and talk some more — about abortion and transgender rights and racism (not that these aren’t relevant issues), they can have their cake and eat it too.

But all this worked until 2016, but can’t be pulled off anymore. The Democratic establishment wing is still either clueless or stubborn, but they want good ol’ Joe Biden to come to the rescue and Make Oligarchic America Great Again.

But the restive Sanders, Warren, and Ocasio Cortez wing of the party won’t let them.

As I was saying

I’M TIRED OF HEARING ABOUT THE RISE, IT’S TIME TO START WORKING ON THE FALL: Joel Kotkin: The rise of the intolerant left.

In the past, the right, notably the segment affiliated with religious belief, was closely associated with censorship and control of thought. Today, enforced orthodoxy derives primarily from the left, emboldened by near total control of the media, university curricula and cultural products.

Remarkably, a recent study by the Atlantic found that “the most politically intolerant Americans” tend be white, highly educated urban progressives. . . .

Long ago, religious zealots embraced feudal ideals, but increasingly it’s the ultra-secular progressives who reprise the role of Medieval Inquisitors.

This move toward leftist orthodoxy is not unprecedented. McCarthyism in the 1950s may have been cruelly inquisitional, but not nearly as totalitarian as Stalinism. Unfortunately, it is largely on the left that we find the authoritarian demand for unanimity on virtually all issues.

At the heart of intolerance lies with the notion of “absolute truth.” Traditionally, Western liberalism embraced the ideal of healthy debate and interchange about values and objectives. Liberals and conservatives alike took empiricism and rationality seriously.

Today these ideals are being undermined by a fevered rush to reject empiricism and complexity. “There’s a lot of people more concerned about being precisely, factually, and semantically correct than about being morally right,” suggests the left’s super-star Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez .

This emphasis on intent and “morality” reflects a more Medieval attitude than that of a reasoned politics that grows from facts and evidence.

These people talk about morality, but they’re not actually moral. Plus:

Free speech’s future prospects are not made brighter by an internet controlled by a handful of tech oligarchs. Nearly two-thirds of readers now get their news through Facebook and Google; as those tech companies systematically destroy the economics of the news business, their dominance will only grow, particularly among the young.

Based largely in the Bay Area — a hotbed of progressive sentiment — these firms use algorithms to suppress anything they find mildly disturbing. This has already resulted in the mass de-platforming of largely conservative voices on outlets such as Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube and Twitter.

The power over information wielded by the oligarchs, the shaping of the next generation by the progressive professoriate and cultural clerisy represent a clear danger to the future of free thought. It will take a concerted effort by people of good will, both left and right, to demand a return to appreciation of the great thinkers of the past and humankind’s beautiful diversity of thought. We can’t let our cultural legacy be squelched by today’s inquisitors.

Time to break them up.

HOPE HICKS DESTROYED RUSSIA COLLUSION HOAX, AGAIN: Congressional Democrats who thought former Trump 2016 campaign and White House insider would somehow revive the Russia collusion narrative got bumpkus, according to Margot Cleveland, writing this morning in the Washington Free Beacon.

Among much else, Cleveland reports “Hick’s responses during last week’s hearing also provided fresh insight into Trump’s behind-the-scenes response to news of Russian interference. Hicks noted that the campaign only ‘became aware that the Russian government was attempting to interfere in the 2016 elections’ when the story hit the press. The president’s former confidant added that any conversations she was privy to during the campaign concerning Russia interference in the election mirrored what Trump said publicly.”

Cleveland also helpfully provides in a separate piece the eight most VIP takeaways from the Hicks testimony and cross-examination.

TURKEY: In Setback for Erdogan, Opposition Candidate Wins Istanbul Mayor Seat.

An opposition candidate has won a repeat ballot for Istanbul mayor Sunday, ending President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s quarter-century grip on the megalopolis and exposing troubles at his long-dominant ruling party.

The opposition party’s candidate, Ekrem Imamoglu, beat a rival from Mr. Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, 54% to 45%, according to a tally of 99% of votes cast released by Turkish state news agency Anadolu.

“It’s a new beginning,” Mr. Imamoglu said in a victory speech.

The AKP candidate, Binali Yildirim, conceded defeat. “I congratulate him and wish him success,” he said in a brief televised address.

Mr. Imamoglu had defeated the AKP candidate in the initial March municipal ballot, but electoral authorities had voided the results after Mr. Erdogan complained of fraud and called for a do-over.

Sunday’s defeat, adding to the loss of the capital, Ankara, in the March elections, is a stinging setback for Mr. Erdogan, who led numerous rallies in support of his AKP protégé ahead of the repeat election.

What’s a guy got to do to steal an election these days?

TOXIC FEMINISM: How a Feminist Prophet Became an Apostate—An Interview with Dr Phyllis Chesler.

JON CALDERA: Colorado cities like Longmont and Boulder are venturing into ill-advised monopolistic ventures.

As technology and competition are turning once invincible natural monopolies into dinosaurs, we’re watching local governments create monopolies that almost certainly will be disrupted by technology.

So, of course, Boulder is trying to build its own electric power empire because they can do it better than Xcel, don’t ya know, they’re Boulder. But if technology will disrupt Xcel in the future, it will certainly disrupt Boulder’s government-owned monopoly too.

But here’s the big difference — like AT&T, when Xcel takes a hit, their stockholders lose. When a government-owned monopoly takes a hit, taxpayers lose. (Um, social justice warriors, where are you on this injustice?)

The new craze of city-owned broadband service is nothing more than switching financial risk from private stockholders, who willingly take the risk, to taxpayers.

But just think of the increased opportunities for graft and corruption.

ANDREW BREITBART’S EEEEVIL PLAN FOR THE HUFFINGTON POST CONTINUES TO BEAR FRUIT: Looking for anti-vaccine conspiracy theories? You can find them on HuffPost.

(Classical reference in headline.)

FLASHBACK: How an industry helps Chinese students cheat their way into and through U.S. colleges. “The University of Iowa suspects at least 30 Chinese students of having used ringers to take their exams. The case offers a look inside a thriving underground economy of cheating services aimed at the hundreds of thousands of Chinese kids applying to and attending foreign colleges.”

DON’T MESS WITH TEXAS: Texas To Send 1,000 National Guardsmen To Border To Address Illegal Alien Surge.

SOUNDS LIKE TIME FOR A TAX CUT: Ten Months Into the Fiscal Year, Tennessee’s Revenues Exceed Estimates by $556.7 Million.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, BILLION-DOLLAR-SLUSH-FUNDS EDITION: California State University hid a $1.5 billion surplus while raising tuition. Where is the accountability?

Here we go again: Another scandal involving a state-funded entity hoarding a secret stockpile of money. This time, an investigation by California State Auditor Elaine Howle discovered $1.5 billion in surplus funds hidden in outside accounts controlled by the California State University system.

Yes, that’s billion with a “b.” While CSU was squirreling away this massive fortune, it was simultaneously raising tuition costs for students and begging the California State Legislature for more money.

“CSU put the money, which primarily came from student tuition, in outside accounts rather than in the state Treasury,” according to a story by The Sacramento Bee’s Sawsan Morrar.

We’ve seen this story before. In 2017, Howle’s office busted the University of California Chancellor’s Office for hiding a $175 million slush fund from public view – while also hiking tuition on students.

People should do jail time for this mishandling of funds. The Sacramento Bee asks: “How many more times will we learn of secretive massive funds, hidden from view by so-called public servants who apparently consider themselves above the rules?”

The answer is, as long as there’s no penalty for doing so.

THE RED DECADE, REDUX: Journalist Eugene Lyons’s chronicle of the 1930s Left remains startlingly relevant today.

It may be that the best book that will ever be written about today’s progressive mind-set was published in 1941. That in The Red Decade author Eugene Lyons was, in fact, describing the Communist-dominated American Left of the Depression-wracked 1930s and 1940s makes his observations even more meaningful, for it is sobering to be confronted with how little has been gained by hard experience. The celebration of feelings over reason? The certainty of moral virtue? The disdain for tradition and the revising of history for ideological ends? The embrace of the latest definition of correct thought? Lyons was one of the most gifted reporters of his time, and among the bravest, and his story of the spell cast by Stalinist-tinged social-justice activism over that day’s purported best and brightest—literary titans, Hollywood celebrities, leading academics, religious leaders, media heavies—would be jaw-dropping if it weren’t so eerily familiar.

Indeed, looking backward from a time when, according to surveys, more millennials would rather live under socialism than capitalism, it’s apparent that Lyons was documenting not just a historical moment but also a species of historical illiteracy as unchanging as it is poisonous, its utopianism able to flourish only at the expense of independent thought. On a range of issues, alternative views were defined as not merely mistaken but morally reprehensible; and among the elites who dominated the cultural sphere, deviants from approved opinion were subject to special abuse. Of course, having lived and worked in Soviet Russia, Lyons made distinctions about relative abuses of power. Under Stalinism, dissidents were liquidated, or vanished into the gulag; the American Left could only liquidate careers and disappear reputations.

* * * * * * * *

In one sense, the book could hardly have appeared at a more propitious moment. As Lyons wrote in his introduction, it was originally to go to press on June 22, 1941—the very day that Hitler stabbed his ally Stalin in the back by invading the Soviet Union, thereby necessitating a wholesale revision of the CPUSA’s line on the European war. Already that line had drastically changed once, only two years earlier, instantly moving from die-hard anti-Nazism to adamantly antiwar, when Stalin shocked the world by signing his infamous nonaggression pact with Hitler; as a result, thousands of anguished party members had quit, and multitudes of fellow travelers quietly slipped away. But the hard core had rationalized, casting Stalin as a master statesman who had done what he had to in defense of the world’s lone socialist republic, and now they rationalized again. As Lyons observes with bemused contempt, though on that same June 22, the Communist front American Peace Mobilization had been in the midst of a “peace vigil” at the White House, for this “disciplined, obedient and fanatically self-righteous army,” the “ ‘plutocrat’ war was magically transmuted into a people’s war for freedom and justice.” The new demand was that America immediately get into the fight!

The British left’s (also Stalin-approved) 180-degree pivot at this moment was of course the origin of Orwell’s “Oceania has always been/has never been at war with Eastasia” leitmotif in 1984. Read the whole thing.

ALL THE DEMOCRATS HAD TO DO WAS NOT BE CRAZY, AND THEY COULDN’T EVEN MANAGE THAT: Democratic presidential candidates are scaring off Never Trumpers. “Instead of creeping or trotting liberalism, the Democratic candidates for president are virtually all running on galloping liberalism bent on fundamentally and permanently changing the basic structure of the American system of democratic capitalism. That raises the stakes on ousting Trump tremendously.”

Better to play it safe, and keep Trump, the cautious center-right incumbent.

BAD ACID, AND PEOPLE SLIDING IN THE MUD? SOUNDS ABOUT RIGHT. Democratic debates ‘the largest gathering of liberals since Woodstock.’

GARRETT WARD SHELDON: What Made American Academia Great (and How It Was Destroyed).

JOHANNES GUTENBERG:  On this day in 1400 (or thereabouts), arguably the most consequential man of the millennium was born.  Or at least the city of his birth, Mainz, so declared in the 1890s. The city needed an official day to celebrate (and so do I).  June 24 was chosen. Don’t argue.

June 23, 2019

WELL, THEY DON’T WANT TO ADMIT THEIR ACTUAL AGENDA: Democrats refuse to say what America should do about border crisis.

JOE SESTAK ENTERS THE RACE: “I want to be that President who serves the American people the way they deserve to be served.”

It’s a cookbook!

SETH BARRETT TILLMAN: The Four Brexiteers.

OPEN THREAD: Sunday evening coming down.

ADVICE: Tip Your Hotel Maid. I generally do, and my tips are usually pretty generous. My theory is that they work hard and make your room nicer, and are underappreciated. Once I even tipped the maid who was cleaning the surgical waiting room at the hospital where my mom was having surgery — she said “you don’t have to do that” and I replied “no, but I want to do that, and what you do is important.” The appreciation seemed to please her almost as much as the money.

I’m not entirely unselfish, though: I usually tip on the first night I’m there, to ensure better service for the whole stay. But the Insta-Wife and I decided a while back that we’d put money directly in people’s hands in preference to charitable donations, so that it would go where we wanted it instead of buying a leather chair for somebody’s fancy office in a nonprofit headquarters somewhere.

WELL, IT’S EXACTLY THE WORD I WOULD USE:  “‘Hero is not a word I would use,’ says UPS driver who ran into a burning building.”

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THIS IS BIG: Erdogan Dealt Stunning Blow as Istanbul Elects Rival Candidate: Opposition gets more votes than Erdogan ever did in Istanbul. “Losing Istanbul is much more than ceding control of Turkey’s largest city and commercial powerhouse. The mayor’s job was the springboard for Erdogan’s own political career, and if Imamoglu, 49, performs well in the position, then the president may find himself with a future challenger. . . . Defeat in Istanbul, home to about a fifth of Turkey’s 82 million people, also strips Erdogan’s party of a major source of patronage and handouts. By some estimates, the city absorbs a quarter of all public investment and accounts for a third of the country’s $748 billion economy. Istanbul erupted in celebration over the first opposition victory since Erdogan came to power 16 years ago. Major thoroughfares were packed with cars honking their horns, passengers hanging out of windows and waving Turkish flags through sunroofs.”

AND AGAIN: Biden References Another Former Segregationist While Campaigning.

“I tell you, I do miss Fritz being here,” he added after finishing his remarks, according to Vice News.

Hollings, who passed away earlier this year, served in the U.S. Senate from 1966 to 2006. Prior to joining Congress, he was governor of South Carolina from 1959 to 1963, an office he originally sought on the basis of his opposition to the Brown v. Board of Education decision, which struck down segregation in public schools. Hollings kept that stance for the early portion of his term, but eventually changed course and supported integration. It has been noted, though, that full desegregation of South Carolina’s public schools did not occur until after he left the governorship.

In the Senate, Hollings cut a moderate to liberal profile by championing a national hunger policy and working to reign in the deficit. During his tenure, Hollings’ views on race appeared to grow and develop ,as exhibited by his endorsement of Jesse Jackson in the 1988 presidential race.

The issue, however, was still complicated at the time. In 1993, Hollings stirred controversy by saying African diplomats only attended international conferences to “get a good square meal” rather than “eating each other.”

Earlier: Joe and the Segs.

ANNALS OF LEFTIST AUTOPHAGY: 70 arrested in climate change protest outside New York Times building.

BANNING THE “WRONG” VIEW: IT’S ALL THE RAGE! Is it possible that YouTube and Twitter “set the table” for banning or demonetizing any viewpoint but the “approved” one? It appears that banning statements of support for President Trump is forbidden now…on a bulletin board about knitting. Say those with newly-found power:

“We cannot provide a space that is inclusive of all and also allow support for open white supremacy. Support of the Trump administration is undeniably support for white supremacy.”

On the one hand, how people could drag politics into a knitting forum is just plain weird. But other forums are picking up the pace as well. RPG.Net, a forum for video gamers has also signaled their virtue thus:

“We are banning support of Donald Trump or his administration on the RPGnet forums. This is because his public comments, policies, and the makeup of his administration are so wholly incompatible with our values that formal political neutrality is not tenable. We can be welcoming to (for example) persons of every ethnicity who want to talk about games, or we can allow support for open white supremacy. Not both.”

[Insert joke about living in parents’ basement here].

Now, to be honest, there’s a part of me that says “yeah, I get it, I came here to participate in a [whatever hobby] forum.” But of course, it’s rather revealing because these moderators are almost certain to see everything in black-and-white. If you do not express utter contempt for the Administration at all times and in all ways, then You Are Evil.

You know, someone should write a book about this.


IT’S COME TO THIS: Ohio’s Bowling Green State University Strips Name of Lillian Gish (1893-1993) from Campus Theater.

The “First Lady of American Cinema” Lillian Gish has had her name removed from a university theater and it’s not sitting well with many movie buffs. More than 50 film industry leaders ranging from Martin Scorsese to Helen Mirren to James Earl Jones are protesting the decision of Ohio’s Bowling Green State University to remove the name of actress Lillian Gish from a campus theater because she appeared in the 1915 film The Birth of a Nation.

The letter accuses the university of making “a scapegoat in a broader political debate.” Lillian Gish is considered a pioneer of film acting. Her career spanned 75 years, beginning in 1912 in silent film shorts. The Whales of August in 1987 was her last film. She was called the First Lady of American Cinema, and for more than 40 years, the theater at Bowling Green has honored Ohio-born actresses Dorothy and Lillian Gish with its name.

According to the IMDB, Gish appeared in 120 movies and TV shows during her lengthy career, which spanned the first eight decades of the movie industry. But if we’re going to banish all the bad people of the past because of hurt feelings, when does early “Progressive” Woodrow Wilson face the memory hole, given that he was an enthusiastic proponent of Birth of a Nation, including screening it in the White House and proclaiming the film “is like writing history with lightning.”

As Jonah Goldberg wrote in the Christian Science Monitor in 2008 to promote Liberal Fascism (Wilson stars in several early chapters, not surprisingly), “You want a more ‘progressive’ America? Careful what you wish for. Voters should remember what happened under Woodrow Wilson.”

Of course, all of the memory holing of the recent years helps to greatly reduce the odds of that happening. For that reason alone, perhaps it’s a good thing his name remains at Princeton.

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