November 11, 2019

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BYRON YORK: ANALYSIS: Democrats have a Colonel Vindman problem. “The public now has a transcript of Vindman’s deposition. And those who have taken the trouble to read the 340-page document will have a different picture of Vindman’s testimony than the one presented in early media reports.”

JEFFREY EPSTEIN DIDN’T KILL HIMSELF: Epstein Suicide Inquiry Subpoenas Roughly 15 Jail Employees, Others Reassigned, Placed On Leave.

PUTTING COMMIES IN THEIR PLACE: Evo Morales Finally Went Too Far for Bolivia: The socialist president claimed authoritarian powers in the name of the popular will. But average citizens were fed up with arbitrary rule.

Morales’s departure from office marks both a sea change in Latin American politics and a stinging rebuke to the naïveté of parts of the Western left. Even though there had always been strong evidence of their anti-democratic leanings, new socialist leaders such as Hugo Chávez in Venezuela and Morales in Bolivia were widely celebrated throughout the first decade of the 21st century as the future face of Latin America.

Now virtually nothing remains of their erstwhile appeal. Chávez and his successor, Nicolás Maduro, have made Venezuela deeply authoritarian and shockingly poor. Meanwhile, the Bolivian people have come out in great numbers to stop Morales from violently crushing their protests. . . .

From east to west, and south to north, the dream of Latin America’s so-called pink wave has turned into a nightmare. And the many scholars, writers, and politicians who have for years sung the praises of aspiring dictators like Maduro and Morales should not be easily forgiven for sacrificing the rights of distant people on the altar of their rigid ideology.

Leftists are trash. Never forget that.

PATHETIC, BUT SADLY UNSURPRISING, BECAUSE ELITE HIGHER EDUCATION SUCKS: The Daily Northwestern Apologizes to Students for Reporting News That Triggered Them. A rousing “fuck you” would have been better, but today’s students lack the courage to stand up to idiocy and bullying from their peers. “Activist” should be treated as a synonym for “bullying idiot,” because, well, it actually is a synonym for bullying idiot.

Plus: “The piece must be read in its entirety to be believed. It sounds like parody—something The Babylon Bee would make up for a fake article mocking progressive deference to the hypersensitive.” Well, the Bee has gone from a parody site to America’s newspaper of record — because leftist activists are such bullying idiots that they’re basically beyond parody.

Also: “Is this what students at the country’s most prestigious journalism school are learning these days? That self-censorship is the paper’s best practice if someone is offended by what’s happening in the world?” Yes. That’s exactly what they’re learning there.

Related: Student Government Votes to Support Activists Who Think The Harvard Crimson Shouldn’t Even Quote ICE in Stories. Remember, “activist” is basically a synonym for bullying idiots, and “student government” is basically a synonym for idiots.

OPEN THREAD: A sure cure for those Monday blues.

PUT THE TELESCOPES IN SPACE, TOO: Why Astronomers Worry About the Brightness of SpaceX’s Starlink Satellite Megaconstellation.

CONTRARY TO WHAT WE’RE TOLD, NOT EVERYTHING IS RACIST OR SEXIST:  But, alas, it’s pretty much true that everything is illegal employment discrimination.  That makes the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission extraordinarily powerful (as well as extraordinarily unaccountable).  Read about how it got that way and how to rein it in.

JIM TREACHER: New Yorkers Boo De Blasio At Veterans Day Parade. “And this slice of Americana is brought to you by all our veterans. They fight to preserve our way of life, which includes telling our leaders exactly what we think of them, without fear of reprisal. You can boo your mayor at a parade, or boo your president at a football game, or boo anybody else you want anywhere else you want. It’s your god-given right as an American to tell people who suck that they do indeed suck. Liberty!”


Bigotry. Fascism. A threat to women’s rights. Alliances with foreign dictators. A president as entertainer, trampling labor and the environment.

It sounds like the contemporary complaints against President Trump.

Actually, it’s a 1984 newspaper advertisement from “Scholars Against the Escalating Danger of the Far Right.”

“With Ronald Reagan as its performing star in the White House, the Far Right is attempting to take over the Republican Party,” says the ad, published in the November 2, 1984, New York Times and signed by, among others, Carl Sagan, Linus Pauling, Corliss Lamont, Stephen Jay Gould, John Hope Franklin, Gloria Steinem, and Frances Fox Piven.

“Four more years of Reaganism…would see a sweeping attack on civil liberties. Four more years of Reaganism would also bring us closer to a nuclear Holocaust. Unlawful intervention in Central America threatens us with a new Vietnam,” the ad claims.

It says Reagan sought “to stifle women’s rights, including the right to legal abortion.” The ad says that under Reagan, “The Civil Rights Commission is anti-civil rights, the NLRB is anti-labor, the EPA is anti-environment. The Administration champions special privileges for the elite while life for the working people, the poor and minorities deteriorates.”

“There is a scent of fascism in the air,” the ad pronounces, warning that a second Reagan term would unleash “more bigots and chauvinists.”

Fortunately, the Gipper could give as good as he got, appearing in 1981 on the PBS series Ben Wattenberg at Large and saying:

I have known [FDR’s] sons for years. I know their own conversations about what he believed. I think [FDR] always thought that the things that were being done were in the nature of medicine for a sick patient. But people attracted to government and to government positions in those years, in many instances, did not view the medicine as temporary. If you remember, I was assailed during the campaign for saying that many of the New Dealers actually espoused what today has become an epithet–fascism–in that they spoke of how Mussolini had made the trains run on time. They saw in what he said he was doing—a planned economy. Harold lckes [FDR’s secretary of the interior] said that what we are striving for was a kind of modified form of communism. I don’t really believe that was really in Roosevelt’s mind. I think that, had he lived, and with the war over, we would have seen him using government the other way.

Or as the Washington Post paraphrased, “Reagan Still Sure Some in New Deal Espoused Fascism.”

He wasn’t wrong.

* You’d have a much shorter list referring to which Republican president or candidate starting with Coolidge who wasn’t called a fascist. With the possible exception of Gerry Ford — but to use a word popular with all the kids now, he certainly triggered the cast, writers, and producer of the first season of Saturday Night Live because of the (R) after his name.

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AN OLDIE BUT A GOODY: Marxists’ Apartment A Microcosm Of Why Marxism Doesn’t Work. From back before The Onion was surpassed by The Babylon Bee.

SAN FRANCISCO’S RETURN TO THE DARK AGES CONTINUES: World’s first airport therapy pig hogs the limelight at San Francisco airport.

The five-year-old Juliana pig and her owner, Tatyana Danilova, are part of San Francisco International Airport’s “Wag Brigade” — a program that brings therapy animals to the airport to cheer passengers up and help ease travel anxieties.

Dressed in a pilot’s cap and with toenails painted bright red, LiLou breezes through the metal detector at airport security and trots to the departure gates. She raises a hoof in greeting, poses for selfies and entertains departing passengers with a tune on her toy piano.

“People are very happy to get distracted from the travel, from their routines, whether they’re flying on their journey for vacation or work,” said Danilova. “Everybody is usually very happy and it makes them pause for a second and smile and be like, ‘oh, it’s great.’”

When she’s not delighting passengers at the airport, LiLou lives with Danilova in her downtown San Francisco apartment, where she enjoys a diet of organic vegetables and protein pellets, sleeps in her own bed and goes for daily walks around the neighborhood.

Danilova says LiLou loves interacting with people, but, as a prey animal, doesn’t like having anyone approach her from behind.

To paraphrase Reuters’ remarks on Mohamed Atta, one man’s emotional support pig is another man’s woke nightmare, and the comments to this Reuters article at Yahoo are much more grounded in reality than the reporter who wrote the above copy.

BOAT CLOAK BLUES. I have to say, they’re very handsome. I could see wearing one of the FDR models with a tuxedo, if I ever wore a tuxedo anymore.

IT’S COME TO THIS: Don Cherry, the Canadian Sports Network’s legendary hockey announcer, was “fired from Hockey Night in Canada over recent remarks that caused uproar,” on Remembrance Day, which coincides with America’s Veteran’s Day:

Cherry, 85, had singled out new immigrants in Toronto and Mississauga, Ont., where he lives, for not honouring Canada’s veterans and dead soldiers.

“You people … you love our way of life, you love our milk and honey, at least you can pay a couple bucks for a poppy or something like that,” Cherry said Saturday night on the popular “Coach’s Corner” segment. “These guys paid for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada, these guys paid the biggest price.”

* * * * * * * *

The Toronto Sun’s Joe Warmington was among the first to report the news about the firing on Monday. Cherry told Warmington that he was hurt to be fired today of all days, given it is Remembrance Day.

“I have just learned I’ve been fired by Sportsnet for comments made on Coach’s Corner Nov. 9,” Cherry told Warmington. “No problem.”

“I know what I said and I meant it. Everybody in Canada should wear a poppy to honour our fallen soldiers.”

“I speak the truth and I walk the walk. I have visited the bases of the troops, been to Afghanistan with our brave soldiers at Christmas, been to cemeteries of our fallen around the world and honoured our fallen troops on Coach’s Corner.”

The Rebel’s YouTube page notes that “Canada’s elites want to ‘cancel’ hockey legend Don Cherry, just for saying that all Canadians —including immigrants — should wear poppies on Remembrance Day. Ezra Levant agrees with Don (video):”

UPDATE: “Just in case you thought there was nothing they could do to make you hate the Multi-Cult more,” Kate of Canada’s Small Dead Animals blog writes, under the headline, “Hockey Night in Wokestan.”

The Rebel has a “Support Don Cherry” petition, which has almost 24,000 signatures, including mine.

HE WHO SHALL NOT BE NAMED: Eric Ciardamella or Voldemort?.

My question: why is Ciardamella’s name so feared?

(I busted my own link. Sorry, fixed now.)

BAN ALL THE THINGS! No more fire in the kitchen: Cities are banning natural gas in homes to save the planet.

HARSH, BUT FAIR. “So the digital age has given us two ‘gifts.’ The technology used for playback sounds terrible and our recorded music no longer has any monetary value.”

NOT THE ONION: San Francisco’s New Socialist, Soft On Crime D.A. Is The Last Thing The City Needs.

[Chesa] Boudin’s political leanings are fairly unsurprising. San Francisco’s newest DA and self-proclaimed socialist is the son of former members of the violent revolutionary far-left group Weather Underground, an organization that rose to infamy in the 1970s and carried out as many as two dozen bombings of government properties. Both of Boudin’s parents were imprisoned for murders related to a robbery they conducted as Weathermen, and Boudin’s father David Gilbert is still serving time.

In his parents’ stead, two other militant Weathermen, known as leaders within the organization, raised Boudin. Indeed, in an interview with Jacobin (yes, that Jacobin), Boudin spoke positively of how his four parents’ “activism” has inspired his own work, despite the “mistakes” they all made—a supposedly “charming” detail that is fundamentally grotesque.

As a Yale-trained lawyer, Boudin eventually left the United States to work as a translator for Venzuela’s now-deceased socialist dictator Hugo Chavez, an outrageous resume data point that ought to get someone laughed out of political office (for those unfamiliar, Chavez’s socialism eventually transformed Venezuela into a failed state). But predictably not so in San Francisco, where behemoth, yet ineffective government is fetishized to the point of allowing piles of human feces in the streets.

Why doesn’t San Francisco make it official and simply elect Bane to be their D.A.?

HOW DARE YOU! San Francisco’s Greta Thunberg Mural Equipped With Laser Eyes That Shoot At SUVs.

When the lasers were first activated, they immediately targeted the carbon-emitting hydraulic cranes and aerosol paint sprayers used to create the mural. The glitch has since been fixed.

Sources confirm the lasers will be suspended when Al Gore and other climate activist celebrities visit San Francisco and drive through town with their fleet of Suburbans and Escalades.

From the Babylon Bee, America’s Paper of Record. If Big Sister’s lasers could be reprogrammed to eradicate poop on the sidewalk below the mural, SF could really be onto something!

DOUBLE STANDARD: Liberals Demand Conservative Justices Recuse Themselves From LGBT Cases.

Bias is in the eye of the beheld, bub.

MCNUGGETS AREN’T THAT BAD: McDonald’s addict loses almost 100 pounds without giving up McNuggets.

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Plus, Top Gift Ideas.

WHATEVER: AOC: We Must Fight ‘White Supremacy’ to Combat Climate Change.

‘GO BACK TO CALIFORNIA:’ Wave of newcomers fuels backlash in Boise.

This city sure knows how to roll up the welcome mat — that is, if you happen to move here from California.

Just consider last week’s mayoral election. It was the most competitive race in recent memory, a referendum on growth in the rapidly expanding capital of Idaho. And candidate Wayne Richey ran on a very simple platform: Stop the California invasion.

His basic plan to fulfill that campaign promise? “Trash the place.”

Richey figured that would be the best way to keep deep-pocketed Golden Staters from moving to his leafy hometown. He blames them for pushing home prices and rents up so high that Boiseans can’t afford to live here on the meager wages most Idaho jobs pay.

At a candidate forum in late October, he had a terse answer for the question: “If you were king or queen for the day, what one thing would you do to improve Boise?”

“A $26-billion wall,” he said, laughing, drawing out each word for maximum emphasis. As in build one. Around Idaho.

Why not a Welcome Wagon strategy instead, to remind voters not to bring into Idaho the same leftist ideology that caused them to flee California in the first place?

I SHOULD BE DOING THIS TOO:  Mark Pulliam is voting with his feet.

JON GABRIEL: Millennials and Gen Z think they invented ‘OK, boomer?’ Wrong. Gen X hated you all first.

Blaming the post-WWII generation for all the world’s ills is nothing new. Gen Xers like myself pioneered the technique in the ’90s only to watch millennials and Gen Zers co-opt it for their own cohorts.

They’re even using the same arguments. We’re the first generation to have a lower quality of life than the generation before, college is too expensive and the climate is going to kill us. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

It stings a bit to see my generation skipped over, but we haven’t yet had the chance to lead. Every president since Clinton has been a boomer, as are the main contenders for the Democratic primary. Actually, Bernie is pre-boomer, born before Pearl Harbor was bombed and socialism was discredited.

On Saturday, the New York Post had the headline, “Michael Bloomberg’s entry cements Baby Boomer dominance of Democratic race,” but Bloomberg, like Joe Biden, was born in 1942, thus making them also pre-Boomers. As Glenn noted when William Shatner, 88, got the “OK boomer” treatment on Twitter last week, “it’s telling that the milennials don’t actually know what a boomer is, but use the term with smug contempt anyway.”

TOXIC MASCULINITY: My Neighborhood Was on Fire. My Neighbors Came Together to Save It.

As Virginia Postrel noted on Facebook, this story has a real Army of Davids feel to it. Mostly I’m surprised that the NYT would present such a glowing vision of male cooperation and bonding, not to mention the scene where a good guy with a gun saves the day.

NOW THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY I WAS HOPING FOR: Mysterious Laser Turret Appears On US Navy Destroyer USS Dewey. “The system is likely the service’s new ‘ODIN’ laser dazzler that is meant to blind enemy optics on ships, boats, aircraft, and missiles.”


In his own way, Trump also fights back in 360-degree fashion, from the existential to the trivial, railing against Colin Kaepernick, tit for tatting Hollywood stars, weighing in on radical abortion, open borders, power outages, the homeless and subway jumping. The result is not just that there looms a choice between two different agendas, but two quite different American lifestyles and experiences—and histories.

Like it or not, 2020 is going to be a plebiscite on an American version of Orwell’s Nineteen-Eighty-Four. One side advocates a complete transformation not just of the American present but of the past as well. The Left is quite eager to change our very vocabulary and monitor our private behavior to ensure we are not just guilty of incorrect behavior but thought as well.

The other side believes America is far better than the alternative, that it never had to be perfect to be good, and that, all and all, its flawed past is a story of a moral nation’s constant struggle for moral improvement.

One side will say, “Just give us more power and we will create heaven on earth.” The other says “Why would anyone wish to take their road to an Orwellian nightmare?” The 2020 election is that simple.

Read the whole thing.

REMEMBER, THIS IS NOT CLIMATE, IT’S JUST WEATHER. Veterans Day beginning to look a lot like Christmas as cold sweeps nation; freeze coming to Florida.


IT ISN’T A WITCH HUNT; IT’S A PURE POWER PLAY: Sara Carter Slams the Deep State for Targeting Trump: ‘This Is Witch Hunt 2.0.’

NEWS YOU CAN USE: How to Track and Photograph Secret Spacecraft.

KURT SCHLICHTER: Don’t Laugh Too Hard At Bloomberg Or He Might Not Run. “Where is the groundswell of support behind this pint-sized presidential aspirant? Perhaps the Democratic consultants who didn’t sign up with one of the other goofy candidates are happy. The micro-zillionaire may not have charisma or a vision or actual human support, but he’s got endless bucks to squander on electoral parasites.”

Well, he’s welcome to run ads on InstaPundit by the millions.

YOU’RE GONNA NEED A BIGGER BLOG: Democratic Presidential Clown Car Update for November 11, 2019. “Bloomberg is getting in, Holder is thinking about it, Yang boosts Williamson, the Steyer campaign commits a felony, and Biden keeps bide bide biding along at the top of polls.”

SHOCKER: Kratom associated with liver damage.

NASSIM TALEB: How To Be Rational About Rationality. “Judging people on their beliefs is not scientific. There is no such thing as ‘rationality’ of a belief, there is rationality of action. The rationality of an action can only be judged by evolutionary considerations.”

FURTHER INCENTIVIZING BAD BEHAVIOR: This Judge Is NUTS – Rules Trump Admin Must Provide Mental Health Services To Illegals.

IT’S A PAGEANT. IT’S JUST LIKE THE OSCARS: NBC Panel: Dems Must ‘Dramatize’ Impeachment With Crying Witnesses.

(Classical reference in headline.)

HOW STUPID DOES SHE THINK WE ARE? WAIT, DON’T ANSWER THAT: Not content with trying to outdo Hillary’s “plain folk” masquerade (“I’m gonna get me a beer“); now she tweets out a picture of her family with their humble station wagon:

Which is all well and good, except that’s a 1953 Lincoln Capri. Hardly the preferred ride of working class families. It sold back then for $3,766, which adjusted for inflation,  is equal to $35,436.09 in 2019. Not exactly “dust-bowl” poor.
**Error fixed: this was Lincoln’s top of the line car in ’53. They did not offer the “Continental that year.**

SATELLITES DEPLOYED, BOOSTER SAFELY LANDED. SpaceX launches Starlink satellites with first reused rocket nose.

OR (3) It’s all bullshit, isn’t it?

SALENA ZITO: Trump could lose Pennsylvania in 2020 if the Dems hone their message.

Trump won Pennsylvania by just 44,000 votes in 2016, the first Republican to take the state since 1988. That margin is so thin, the state could easily be won by a Democrat in 2020.

But if the Democrats want a victory, they must hone their message. Because here’s the other takeaway from last week’s statewide elections: the Western suburbs around Pittsburgh are deepening their allegiance to the GOP.

As Mike Mikus, a Democratic strategist in Western Pennsylvania, puts it: “Philadelphia got bluer and Western Pennsylvania got redder.”

In short, not all suburban voters are alike.

“Go too far left on policy positions like banning fracking or Medicare for All or taking people’s guns away anywhere outside of the counties of Philadelphia, and they might repeat the same mistakes of 2016,” said G. Terry Madonna, political-science professor at Franklin and Marshall College.

Plus, voters in Pennsylvania are fickle, which is one reason why it — along with Wisconsin — remains the country’s most important swing state. Bucks County, just north of Philadelphia, proves just how easily voters can switch.

Zito was among the first (or maybe even the first) national reporters to see and understand the Trump phenomenon in 2015, so ignore her at your own peril. That said, if the Dems can lose PA’s swing votes with promises of “banning fracking or Medicare for All or taking people’s guns away anywhere outside of the counties of Philadelphia,” then maybe they’ve already lost.

MEANWHILE, OVER AT VODKAPUNDIT: ‘Epstein Didn’t Kill Himself’ and the Popular Revolt Against the Elites. “What started five weeks ago as a gag on a nonpartisan gaming forum is now something of a national cause célèbre across the left, right, and great middle of this country. It’s a big middle finger salute to the Powers That Be, but more importantly it’s a sign that Americans in some small way are ‘as mad as hell and we’re not going to take this anymore!'”

Much more at the link, and if you aren’t already a PJMedia VIP member, the coupon code VODKAPUNDIT will get you a nice little discount on a monthly or annual subscription.

REAPING WHAT THEY SOW: Amazon Fails in Its $1.5M Bid to Oust Socialists from Seattle City Council.

Maybe if that Bezos-owned major newspaper weren’t such a lefty mouthpiece…

OH: American Taxpayers Are Subsidizing Ultra-Cheap Shipping From China.

“At today’s rates, the shipping of a 100-gram parcel to Fairfax, Virginia, would cost a small business in Marion, North Carolina, at least $1.94…but it would cost a company in Shanghai only $1.12,” Paul Misener, Amazon’s vice president for global public policy, told Congress in 2015. “This has left thousands of American small businesses at a competitive disadvantage against foreign competition…because of the size of the hidden shipping subsidies.”

Foreign mail weighing less than 4.4 pounds arrives at U.S. “transfer points,” where it is then distributed by the USPS like regular domestic mail, but at subsidized “terminal dues” rates set by the UPU, not by the U.S. Postal Service.



An “extraordinary congress” convened by the UPU in October finally addressed the disparity. UPU members voted to allow the U.S. and other countries to set new reimbursement rates beginning in July 2020. Terminal dues could increase anywhere from 125 percent to 600 percent, according to Cathy Roberson of Air Cargo World. Whatever the change, American tax dollars will no longer be used to benefit one group of businesses over another.


HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Harvard hosts ‘Anal Sex 101,’ ‘Oral Sex 101’ and ‘fatphobia’ workshops.

BUFFS HIGH OVER THE BARENTS SEA: Three USAF B-52Hs and five Royal Norwegian Air Force F-16s fly toward the Barents Sea in the Arctic. Why? A stab at an answer: Russia’s Kola peninsula is on the Barents Sea. Russia’s Northern Fleet is based on the Kola.

ANALYSIS: TRUE. ‘Affordable and Reliable’ Energy Makes Life Possible.

California’s recent blackout revealed that having reliable electricity is an economic privilege, and interviews from across the state suggest those less affluent continue to have more losses and were disproportionately forced off the grid.

As it is, Californians already pay among the highest rates in the U.S. for their power, and unfortunately these costs are projected to rise even more. These increases often have a higher burden on low-income households that already struggle to keep up with rising cost, leading many down the path to energy poverty. The issue plagues not only California residents, but many more across the country including in Pennsylvania, where utility rates for customers are much higher than neighboring states. In Georgia a study finds energy consumption among the highest in America, and in New Mexico a new state law will increase cost to consumers, with the most negative impacts felt by lower income families who spend a larger share of their monthly income on energy.

The irony is that each state listed has an abundance of natural resources that can be accessed. But lawmakers, caving to environmentalist and special interest groups that don’t speak for the poor, continue to put forth expensive policy ideas like the Green New Deal that promote false hope and unrealistic outcomes for those who already grapple each month to make ends meet.

Why, it’s almost as though modern lefties don’t give a damn about the poor. Or that the Green New Deal is really about saving the world from deplorable bitter clingers.

OK, MILLENIALS: Stanford students claim Ben Shapiro presence puts them ‘at risk.’

KRUISER’S MORNING BRIEF: Is Biden ‘Trumping’ His Competition? “In fact, Silver has mentioned on more than one occasion that people seem to not grasp just how much Biden is liked by regular Democrats, the ones in parts of the country that aren’t heard from much in the media, and who are probably underrepresented in the polls. Haven’t we heard that story in a recent election?”

REMEMBER, ONE OF THE JUSTIFICATIONS FOR HIGHER EDUCATION IS THAT IT’S SUPPOSED TO FOSTER CRITICAL THINKING: Citing ‘gun violence,’ UVA cancels 21-gun salute portion of Veterans Day ceremony.

Related: Taxpayers Losing Interest In Funding Campus Kooks.

SINCE THEY’RE A HIGH-COST PRODUCER, I WONDER HOW LONG THEY CAN KEEP THIS UP: Venezuela selling cut-price oil as US sanctions bite.


A REMARKABLE VETERANS DAY MIRACLE: My friend and colleague Bret Bernhardt shares for the first time ever beyond his immediate family an amazing moment on the Mall at the Vietnam Memorial that united him with a Vietnam veteran he had before only seen once and then only on TV.

REFERENDUM 88 VICTORY:  It is now safe to announce that the effort to re-impose affirmative action preferences on Washington State has been defeated.  It was too close to call with certainty for a while.  Minding the Campus’s John Rosenberg discusses “Lessons from Washington State on Affirmative Action.

“JOHN, THIS IS MONIKA. I AM OVER THE WALL”:  A journalist’s recollection of the Fall of the Berlin Wall.

MATTHEW CONTINETTI: How States Like Virginia Go Blue. A hapless state GOP doesn’t help.

WELL, TO BE FAIR, IT’S ONLY IMPEACHABLE WHEN DONALD TRUMP DOES IT: If attaching strings to foreign aid is impeachable, cancel it all.

SEEMS LEGIT: Whistleblower will not testify in public, Democrats say.

The impeachment mess would look less like a kangaroo court and an insult to the Constitution and congressional institutions if it weren’t such a kangaroo court and an insult to the Constitution and congressional institutions.

SAD: Cold Welcome for Veterans on Campus: Students at elite colleges seek to undermine the values that service members signed up to defend.

“But don’t you ever feel like a sucker for serving?”

A fellow military veteran asked me this question a couple of years ago, when I was a senior at Yale. Like me, he had recently completed his service and was studying at a top university.

He said he was mystified, observing that the predominantly working- and middle-class people in the military swear an oath to defend with their lives the U.S. Constitution, including the First and Second amendments. Meanwhile, affluent college students regularly trash the First and seek to dismantle the Second. Are veterans being duped, he questioned, into believing they are upholding American values while the richest kids in the world—the ones being groomed for success and power—try to undermine them?

He’s not the only one who feels that way. Many veterans I know who enter college are bewildered by what they see: students from the top income decile expressing derision for the values that service members signed up to defend. Perhaps they could be forgiven for feeling like suckers.

Seeing our peers question the Constitution isn’t the only jarring experience for veterans. For many, the treatment of race on campus is a major culture shock. The military is perhaps the most meritocratic institution in the U.S. Women and men of all backgrounds come together, united in their purpose to defend this great country. The best research we have shows that women and nonwhite service members report greater job satisfaction and quality of life than do white male members. Arbitrary physical features like race and sex were treated as inconsequential because we were evaluated primarily on rank and performance. In college, however, there are clear social incentives to disparage people for their race.

I recall being stunned when one student, with a gleeful expression, bellowed to a classmate, “F— your white tears!” Other students around her snapped their fingers to express approval. One’s sex is fair game, too. For veterans trying to integrate on campus, insulting men signals coalitional solidarity with those who adhere to the dominant campus ideology. This works even, perhaps especially, if you are a white man.

The intent behind the insult matters. In the military, we exchanged insults often. It’s a form of social bonding, a way to strengthen relationships with the target of the insult. It helps to bring us together. College students also insult each other to bond socially—but not with the targets of the insults. They wish to impress the onlookers. They’re looking for bystanders to snap their fingers or share their social-media posts. The purpose is to vilify a transgressor in order to bond with observers. It’s effective.

Higher education in America today is dysfunctional, and actively destructive.

MACKUBIN OWENS: Praetorianism And The Deep State. “Of course, the president’s critics mocked the idea of a deep state as a crazy right-wing conspiracy theory. But they have come around now not only to admit that the deep state does exist, more importantly, they claim, it’s a good thing!”

The permanent bureaucracy says that the government belongs to it, not to the voters. If so, why should the voters comply with its edicts, support it financially, or even allow it and its denizens to exist?

COLD WAR II: Russia’s Suspected Internet Cable Spy Ship Appears Off Americas.

According to position tracking data, the Russian Navy’s Yantar left her home port about a month ago, and has not been visible on open sources until suddenly appearing in the Caribbean on Friday. That she appeared on ship trackers so suddenly is unusual.

She has gained attention in the past for hovering in the vicinity of the undersea cables which connect the world. Called Submarine Communications Cables (SCC), these crisscross the world’s oceans carrying Internet traffic and military communications.

Yantar is a ship of particular interest among Western Navies. According to naval officers familiar with the situation, she is suspected of being involved in placing listening devices on undersea communications.

Just another front in the shadow war Russia is waging against the West. I’d like if we hit them back — electronically, of course — until they cut this stuff out.

HEROES OF A GENERATION: OSS spy Martin Gelb, 100 years old.

It was 1944. Martin Gelb, an orthodox Jew from Brooklyn, was behind Nazi lines with a .45 and a Tommy gun.

“I was asked to do a lot of strange things, but you follow orders. It did get a little crazy,” the 100-year-old OSS veteran from Hudson, N.H., told the Herald last week.

He was part of William “Wild Bill” Donovan’s small crew of intelligence operatives working with the French resistance, hunting down German scientists and rounding up war criminals.

He was an expert radio operator who knew Morse code and International Morse code who slipped into France and Germany along with the D-Day invasion. He remained in Europe all the way through the Nuremberg trials. . . .

I was assigned to an advance radio group that would contact resistance fighters,” he said. “Everything was secret. So secret.”

He doesn’t highlight that he was a Jew fighting against the perpetrators of the Holocaust, but he doesn’t hide the fact that he was driven to succeed. He’s partially blind but his mind is sharp. Martin Gelb is one of the Heroes of a Generation the Herald is chronicling.

But unlike other World War II veterans, his bravery remained top secret until records from the Office of Strategic Services — the precursor to the CIA — were declassified in 2008. He was recently awarded the OSS Congressional Gold Medal for his service. . . .

Gelb recalls a mission to capture a German engineer in Germany, only to lose him to the Russians who got there first. That “engineer,” Gelb said, was involved with nuclear science. He had to shoot his way to safety using his Tommy gun that day.

He avoided snipers, was almost shot in the Battle of the Bulge, hauled German industrialists to the Nuremberg trials and said he once got into trouble with Gen. Omar Bradley — commander of the First Army — when he refused to leave an officer’s mess hall because he had an enlisted man with him.

“Bradley asked me ‘Who’s your commanding officer?’ And I said William Donovan.”

“Wild Bill? I know Wild Bill,” Bradley answered, Gelb said. And the general let the two men have lunch.

Wise decision.

TRUE: Andy Kessler: Liz Warren Is The WeWork Of Candidates.

Are presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren and WeWork founder Adam Neumann the same person? I mean, they have different hairstyles and all, but their philosophies are more alike than not.

They both claim, falsely, to be capitalists. Ms. Warren told the New England Council last year, “I am a capitalist to my bones.” She then told CNBC, “I am a capitalist. Come on. I believe in markets.” It was almost as if she didn’t believe it herself. Then came the caveat: “But only fair markets, markets with rules. Markets without rules is about the rich take it all, it’s about the powerful get all of it. And that’s what’s gone wrong in America.” She clearly doesn’t understand capitalism.

Neither does Mr. Neumann, who said of WeWork, “We are making a capitalist kibbutz.” Talk about mixed metaphors. In Israel, a kibbutz is often defined as “a collective community, traditionally based in agriculture.” WeWork’s prospectus for its initial public offering mentioned the word “community” 150 times. Yet one little secret of kibbutzim is that many of them hired outsiders to do menial jobs that the “community” wouldn’t do, similar to migrant workers on U.S. farms. A capitalist kibbutz is a plain old farm, much like a WeWork building is plain old shared office space. Big deal.

Ms. Warren wants to reshape capitalism, while Mr. Neumann wants to “revolutionize your workspace.” Meanwhile, the Vision Fund, with capital from SoftBank and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, has thrown good money after bad, writing off $9.2 billion in its quest toward this WeWork revolution. The same mismatch between communitarian vision and market realities would doom Ms. Warren’s economic reshaping.

But Neumann has made out like a bandit, and Warren hopes to do the same. Socialism always fails, but socialist leaders often profit.

Related: “Remember, under free markets the rich become powerful. But under socialism, the powerful become rich.”

JOEL KOTKIN: What’s Unsustainable In California Is The Politics.

The recent rash of fires, like the drought that preceded it, has sparked a new wave of pessimism about the state’s future. But the natural disasters have also obscured the fact the greatest challenge facing the state comes not from burning forests or lack of precipitation but from an increasingly dysfunctional society divided between a small but influential wealthy class and an ever-expanding poverty population.

We are not addressing either the human or natural challenge. Once the ultimate “can do” state, California is morphing into one that is profoundly “can’t do.” Neither right nor left seems to have any program to confront the state’s worsening malaise on issues ranging from housing, education and the economy to the care of the environment.

To be sure, the right is correct to lay some of the blame for fires on green policies that have restricted brush clearance, and have prevented the thinning of the state’s forests, a finding shared by the state’s Little Hoover Commission. But it’s been years since Republicans have been able to present a coherent program — not surprising since vanishingly few in the state listen to, much less follow, the conservative agenda.

For its part, the progressive left controls the debate, the academy, most of the media, but has few answers to the problems plaguing our state. For many, scare-mongering about climate change defines and justifies even the most economically ruinous actions; activists even blame the recent power outages on climate, though the primary cause was lack of investment and maintenance by the state-regulated electrical utility.

Blaming PG&E, President Trump, oil companies, housing developers, car commuters or manufacturers for our problems is no doubt emotionally satisfying to the zealots in Sacramento and their media allies. But despite all this sturm und drang, California’s emissions over the past decade have fallen less than 39 other states and are essentially irrelevant on a global level. Even if the United States adopted the Green New Deal, the impact on climate, notes some recent studies, would be almost infinitesimal. The big emissions increases are almost entirely coming from China and other the less developed countries. . . .

We talk boldly about going “all electric” but close down emissions-free nuclear plants, shutter efficient gas facilities while refusing to expand hydro-electric systems. No state imports so much of its energy, notably from the enlightened nation of Saudi Arabia, just to keep the lights on — at great cost to both consumers as well as soon to be unemployed California energy workers.

When things get bad enough, Trump can invoke the Insurrection Act and recognize a new California government that will split it into multiple states.

November 10, 2019


AT AMAZON, save on Bras for Women.

EXCEPT THAT A HIGH-PROTEIN, HIGH-FAT DIET IS GOOD FOR YOU: Eat What You Want And Die Like A Man: The World’s Unhealthiest Cookbook.

IMPEACHMENT CLOWNSHOW UPDATE: Roger Simon: What Impeachment? America’s First ‘Show Trial’ Begins Wednesday.



TIS THE SEASON. Seen on Facebook:

HOW DID I MISS THIS? Ex-President ‘Lula’ Is Freed From Prison in Brazil After Supreme Court Ruling. Hope he doesn’t hang himself like Jeffrey Epstein didn’t. But Bolsonaro had better look out.

THE ORIGINAL INGLORIOUS BASTERD: Heroes of a Generation: OSS spy Martin Gelb, 100 years old.

“I don’t know if I was fearless,” he added, “all I know is a few times, I disobeyed orders and I got rewarded for it.”

The OSS wanted spies who could think on the run. “The ideal OSS candidate was described as a Harvard PhD that could handle himself in a bar fight,” said Charles Pinck, a native of Massachusetts and president of the OSS Society. “The OSS needed people who could think and act independently.”

People like Martin Gelb.

Read the whole thing.


OPEN THREAD: The weekend’s not over until we say it is!

GOOD NEWS IN BOLIVIA: Communist Stooge Evo Morales Forced To Resign By Protesters. “Tensions first flared on the night of the presidential election after the results count was inexplicably stopped for 24 hours. The final result gave Mr Morales slightly more than the 10-percentage-point lead he needed to win outright in the first round of the race. At least three people died during clashes that followed. Some uniformed police officers also joined the protesters. On Sunday, the Organization of American States, which monitored the elections, said it had found evidence of wide-scale data manipulation, and could not certify the result of the previous polls.”

HONG KONG POLICE OUT OF CONTROL: Hong Kong police shoot protester with live round in Sai Wan Ho. Okay, actually they’re just being controlled by the Chinese.

Plus, charges of police gang rape.

NEW SOCIALIST “IT GIRL” CONTINUES TO PAY DIVIDENDS: AOC Flies in a Jet to Fight Climate Change, Uses ‘Indigenous Wisdom’ to Cool the Earth, and Wants to Inoculate You Against Capitalism.

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