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January 22, 2019

THAT’S IT. I NEED A MAGA HAT. AND I BET MY HUSBAND WANTS ONE TOO. HECK, THE CATS PROBABLY NEED MAGA HATS!  Don’t wear your MAGA hats out in public.

IT’S THE CULTURAL REVOLUTION THING: Journalists are Character Assassins.

THE MAOISTS MARCH ON:  News Media Refuses To Give Up Narrative On Covington Catholic.

INDEED:  Pelosi, not Trump, holds America hostage.

January 21, 2019

JOE BIDEN: The Gift That Keeps Giving.

TONI AIRAKSINEN HAS DONE A LOT OF GREAT WORK REPORTING ON CAMPUS GENDER CRAZINESS. Now she’s having health problems and asking for help. I donated $100. Help her out if you can. (Bumped).

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I’M SORRY I WISHED VIOLENT DEATH ON KIDS WHOSE POLITICS I DISLIKE: Film Producer Jack Morrissey Apologizes for Deleted Covington ‘Woodchipper’ Tweet.

Film producer Jack Morrissey apologized Monday for joking about “MAGA kids” going “screaming, hats first into the woodchipper.” The tweet was accompanied by an iconic scene from “Fargo” in which a dead person’s blood flies from a woodchipper.

Morrisey, whose credits include “Beauty and the Beast” and films in the “Twilight” franchise, quickly deleted the tweet and apologized, but Sarah Palin and other critics slammed him on social media.

Remember, these people think they’re your moral superiors.

CHERYL MAGNESS: All The Adults Involved Failed The Covington Catholic School Boys, And Should Be Ashamed.

No sooner had the boys gotten on their bus than they were thrown under it by their school and the Covington diocese, who issued a joint statement condemning the students’ actions and saying the matter was under investigation that appropriate action would be taken. Um, if the matter is under investigation, doesn’t that suggest it might be good to wait before condemning the behavior? Could it be that there’s more to the story than a short, viral video?

The school and the diocese owed these boys a full hearing before coming to any conclusion. They now owe them an apology.

And then there’s the media, which likes to look at itself as the arbiter of truth but too often shows itself to be the opposite: a mindless, blind, and lumbering monster that sustains itself on a diet of half-truths, innuendo, and lies. In a time when the technology at our fingertips should make it easier than ever to track down a story, that technology is instead used to rapidly spread a half-baked and incomplete version of events before all the details have come in.

It’s time to think seriously about overturning New York Times v. Sullivan. We had a first amendment without it for nearly two centuries and nobody suggested that a lack of press impunity meant we didn’t have free speech.

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: All 26 of 26 Gun Control Bills in Virginia Fail to Pass.

THE PRESIDENT WEIGHS IN:

He should invite the boys to the White House for Chik-Fil-A.

I’ve found myself arguing on social media with seemingly otherwise intelligent people who claim that someone wearing a MAGA hat is properly seen as a “threat” and a supporter of “racial oppression” by many. I noted that (a) wearing a MAGA hat just means some combination of “I like Trump” and “I am patriotic,” which applies to about 43% of the population; (b) the kids from Covington High School may not have even meant that much, as they probably just picked up the hats as souvenirs on their DC school trip; (c) that almost a million of these hats have been sold, and reported acts of violence by people wearing the hats are non-existent or close to it. I’ve been told in return that “threat” doesn’t mean threat of physical or verbal abuse, though it’s not clear what it does mean. And that the subjective intent of even 99% of the wearers has nothing to do with whether the hat is properly seen as a symbol of racial oppression. Sigh.

WORST “DE-ESCALATION EXPERT” EVER: Susan Schorn: I’ve been avoiding chiming in on the Maga-hat-wearing larval Catholics. Because nothing says “de-escalation” like analogizing high school kids on one side of a public dispute to immature insects. The far left has become such a parody of itself, if it were a parody people would think it’s too unrealistic.

OPEN THREAD: Did anything happen today?

JOHN HINDERAKER ON WHAT TO DO ABOUT COVINGTON: Sue The Bastards.

So, what has happened since? The Associated Press has refused to correct its lies. Liberals have threatened the families of the kids from Covington Catholic with death. Liberals have written to colleges, urging them to reject any applications from Covington Catholic students. Liberals have explicitly urged that the lives of the kids who innocently attended the March For Life be destroyed. Twitter has had no problem with tweets calling for violence, as long as the violence is directed against conservative teenagers.

Where do you go when the whole world seems to be against you? You hire a lawyer. Which is what some of the Covington kids’ families reportedly have done. For whatever reason, intolerant liberals on Twitter are frantically deleting tweets denouncing the innocent Covington kids, and in some cases calling for violence against them. Maybe they are just embarrassed at being caught red-handed, lying and purveying hate. But when has that ever embarrassed a liberal?

There is some evidence that the scrambling is due to the threat of litigation.

And it’s well-founded. I should note that people are talking about libel, but there’s also the prospect of a civil rights action for conspiracy to deprive the boys of their civil rights. Trying to get them kicked out of school or bounced from college admissions because they exercised their free speech rights is likely reachable under such an action. And, obviously, trying to organize violence against them is very close to the core of the Civil Rights Act, which was aimed at the Klan, which also went after people’s jobs, families, and lives when crossed.

This case might be a winner. And you know what the lefties say, the process is the punishment.

UPDATE: Lawyer for Covington Catholic HS Families Threatens Lawsuits Against Media Unless They Retract False Stories. “Barnes told PJ Media that he was working with the families to sue the media outlets that defamed them. He said that ‘anyone who doesn’t correct and retract’ their false smears would be subject to a lawsuit and that updated stories merely indicating ‘a more complex picture has emerged’ would not necessarily be enough.”

If there’s a GoFundMe for litigation expenses, I’ll let you know.

SPACE: Stratolaunch abandons launch vehicle program. “Stratolaunch, the company founded by the late billionaire Paul Allen, said Jan. 18 that it is ending work on a launch vehicle that would be flown on the company’s giant aircraft. In a statement to SpaceNews, a company spokesman said that the company was ending work on its own family of launch vehicles and would instead use its aircraft for launching small Pegasus XL rockets from Northrop Grumman.”

WELL: BREAKING: Twitter suspends account that spread the false narrative about Covington School students. There’s a concerted campaign for accountability on this, and it’s starting to bear fruit. Don’t let up.

EMERGING? Anti-Christian Ideology Is an Emerging Aspect of White “Progressive” Populism.

Who can forget the avatar of progressive populism himself, Bernie Sanders, in 2017 aggressively grilling a nominee for the Office of Management and Budget over his theological views on the differences between the Christian and Muslim faith? He actually said that the nominee was “not someone who this country is supposed to be about.” And of course Dianne Feinstein famously rebuked Trump judicial nominee Amy Coney Barrett by declaring that the “dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s a concern.”

This week, in response to my defense of Christian education (I attended a Christian college, sent my three kids to a Christian school, and served as the chairman of the school board of their school), an activist started an “Expose Christian Schools” hashtag designed to elicit stories of the terrible things Christian educators do.

As Matt Walsh of the Daily Wire notes, “The Left spent much of last week attacking Karen Pence because she got a job at a Christian school that follows Christian teaching. By the end of the week, #ExposeChristianSchools was trending on Twitter. Then, on Saturday, a false narrative was quickly constructed claiming that a group of students from a Catholic school harassed and taunted a Native American man. I do not think that these events came together coincidentally…The Left hasn’t gone to the trouble of painting Christian schools as dangerous hate factories for no reason. They intend to do something with the fruits of their labor. What that is, exactly, will become clearer very soon.”

NICHOLAS FRANKOVICH: An Apology. “I was preachy and rhetorically excessive, and I regret it. The overheated post I wrote has been taken down. Let this apology stand in its stead, both here on the Corner and in the memory of readers who justifiably objected to my high-handedness.” The apology is nice, but next time don’t underbus teenagers just to make clear you’re not one of those icky conservatives. If there’s a justification for ideological media, and there is, it’s that it will undertake to scrutinize the claims of its opponents more closely than the opponents’ colleagues will. If it rushes to join the opponents out of class insecurity, it’s a waste.

THREAD: “If I walked up to a group of Antifa thugs, and started banging a drum inches from their faces, what would happen to me?”

Very likely something far worse than a confused smile. Read the whole thing.

VULTURE WRITER WHO WISHED DEATH ON COVINGTON STUDENTS FIRED FROM JOB AT INE ENTERTAINMENT:

In his tweet on Saturday, [Erik] Abriss wrote: “I don’t know what it says about me but I’ve truly lost the ability to articulate the hysterical rage, nausea, and heartache this makes me feel. I just want these people to die. Simple as that. Every single one of them. And their parents.”

He added: “‘Racism is in its Boomer death throes. It will die out with this younger generation!’ Look at the shit-eating grins on all those young white slugs’ faces. Just perverse pleasure at wielding a false dominion they’ve been taught their whole life was their divine right. F–ing die.”

Related: What makes a liberal want to punch a child?

If you reach that point where you’re wishing death or violence on a young person because of his skin color and/or the baseball cap on his head, it’s time to ask yourself — are we the baddies?

ARE SICK DAYS DISAPPEARING?

Many companies don’t offer sick days, and as such, workers feel compelled to drag themselves into the office when they’re clearly under the weather. Of course, coming to work sick is far from ideal, since it exposes others to germs and creates a scenario where a whole team could potentially be taken out by a single virus. But plenty of companies do offer sick time, and in those situations, it’s easy enough for workers to take time away from their jobs in order to recuperate.

Or is it?

Now that remote work has become so commonplace, employees who have access to sick days often won’t use them. Instead, what they’ll do is ask for permission to work from home, and then push themselves to plug away at their laptops in between nose-blowing sessions and quick naps on the couch.

Well, at least they’re not infecting everyone else.

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WE LIVE IN RIDICULOUS TIMES:  Just ask Pickles.

CORPORATE-ENABLED HATE: Twitter Allows ‘Verified’ Calls for Violence Against Conservative High School Kids. Terms Of Service only matter when Twitter wants them to.

BLACK-NATIONALIST BIGOTRY:

One aspect of the Covington controversy has received very little coverage, let alone condemnation: the outright racism, homophobia, and anti-Semitism of the (very small) black-nationalist group confronting the teenagers. If you watch the nearly two-hour YouTube video, filmed by a man who seems to be a member of the Black Israelites, you will see the black men, all adult, hurling insult after insult at the students, for well over an hour. It seems accidental that the students and the black nationalists are at the same spot on the mall — the former waiting for their buses back to Kentucky and the latter staging a small demonstration.

The students are called “hyenas,” “dogs,” “white crackers,” and “faggot.” They are ridiculed for being lice-ridden and told to “to back to Europe where you come from.” One man says he can tell by looking in the students’ eyes that they will be “school shooters.” They are the “product of sodomy.” We hear that black Jesus is coming back to kick the “white crackers’ ass.” This black Christ is not like the image of Jesus the boys supposedly hold — that Jesus is a “faggot child molester.” “Your president is a homosexual!” one man yells. He urges the teenagers to look up a YouTube video of Rudy Giuliani in drag, kissing Donald Trump. (I imagine he is referring to the skit for a charity event in 2000 that featured Giuliani in, yes, a fetching blond wig, dress, and heels.) By “your president,” the black nationalist obviously means Trump, but one student hoists up a campaign poster of Obama, and only about 10 percent of the students are wearing MAGA hats. One boy says that most of the kids in the group aren’t old enough to vote yet.

The students for the most part keep their distance and respond only mildly to these insults, if at all. A few briefly try out a little dialogue. There is no violence or assault of any kind. This all happens before the now-famous Nathan Phillips approaches the student group, beating his drum.
5

To most in the media, the black nationalists’ words, and their role in the controversy, are apparently like wallpaper, barely worth a mention.

Well, you know why:

GOOD FOR HIM: Exclusive Interview: Rep. Thomas Massie Stands Up for Covington Catholic Students.

“It’s almost like this was a big psychology experiment – like freshman psychology 101,” he said. “You were told, before you saw the video, what you were watching so that when you watched the video, you completely fell for it. So, for instance, you were told before you watched this video that these kids were chanting ‘build the wall,’ and you can’t make out the words. You assume, yeah, they’re chanting ‘build the wall.’ In fact, they were not. You were told this kid was smirking, and that he had gotten in the face of this Native American. But that’s not the case. This kid was smiling – he was trying to diffuse the situation and broadcast to his friends that he wasn’t feeling threatened, so they didn’t need to feel threatened either. And then you were told that these kids surrounded that older man, and that was not the case.”

“But if you were told all these things, and then you watched the video, it was hard not to fall for it.”

Plus:

“The social media mob is a left-wing mob.” Massie said, “The right does not do this. It’s considered harassment if it comes from the right, and if it comes from the left, it’s just free speech – and there’s your double standard.”

Massie also admonished the left for moving their social media efforts into the real world, attempting to destroy the personal lives of the objects of their ridicule.

“What happens with the left, though, is they cross over into reality,” he said. “They migrate off of social media and they start calling the city of Covington to get tax records and figure out where people live. They go to their houses, and figure out where they work, and try and get the parents fired. That’s the difference. I mean, we all know Twitter’s a dumpster fire, but they try and take that fire and spread it into real life. That’s what this is. This is bullying.”

Yep. It needs to become expensive enough that they’ll stop. The Covington kids have a good pro bono lawyer and a lot of people gathering evidence on the threats, etc., though this is a good chance to make some examples.

I DON’T KNOW WHY, IT’S NOT LIKE THEY FACE ANY CONSEQUENCES FOR NOT DOING SO: Democrats Should Police Hate on Their Side of the Aisle, Too.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Maybe Reexamine Your Life If You Want to Punch a Kid in the Face.

CNN went from getting the vapors over the word “crosshairs” in 2011 to doxxing and threatening violence to its potential audience so quickly, everybody noticed.

Related: Your Complete Guide To How The Media Tried Ruining The Lives Of Innocent Teenagers.

You’re gonna need a bigger blog.

TELEMEDICINE: Survey finds positive feedback for virtual doctor visits.

YOUR DAILY TREACHER: Liberals Are Bigots, But It’s Okay Because That Kid Had a MAGA Hat.

I rarely argue with Jim, but they’re leftists — there’s nothing “liberal” about that mob.

DEMS FEAR MONEY CORRUPTING POLITICS. THIS WILL SCARE’EM TO DEATH: The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) invested more than $335,000 in 25 of the 27 Democrats serving in the 116th Congress on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

Why? Because that’s the committee that will soon pass the “Raise the Wage Act of 2019,” which will mandate a federal “living wage” of $15 per hour by 2024. The proposal will do some other stuff that SEIU likes, too, so the union’s strategists apparently think it’s in their interest to get it through the House this year in anticipation of a Democratic landslide in 2020 that puts the Senate and the White House back in their hands.

See, money does buy influence. So any minute now Democrats will start raising you know what about this blatant special interest abuse of democracy. Right?

 

THIS IS COOL: So in response to my post the other day on Greg Benford’s Rewrite, I got this email from famous physicist Frank Tipler:

Hi Glenn,

I pointed out in my book THE PHYSICS OF CHRISTIANITY (Doubleday, 2007), a copy of which I sent you, that Many-Worlds quantum mechanics resolves the Problem of Evil, in exactly the way you suggested. I also pointed out that Many-Worlds also resolves the free will problem. See Chapter 11, pages 257-265.

I had earlier published this solution to the Problem of Evil in THE PHYSICS OF IMMORTALITY (Doubleday, 1994), page 259.

The idea that God is morally required to create all possibilities goes back to Plato. See Arthur O. Lovejoy’s THE GREAT CHAIN OF BEING (Harvard University Press, 1936).

The only difference between us and the ancients is that we can PROVE the other worlds exist. As Stephen Hawking once told me, “the Many-Worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics is trivially true.” That is, only an idiot does not accept Many-Worlds.

As regards each of us dying horribly in at least one other universe, OF COURSE this occurs. BUT — we all will have a second chance when we are resurrected in the far future as computer uploads. See both of my books for details of how this works.

Best,

Frank

Oh, right, I remember that book. My “original thought” was probably just a vague memory of it after twelve years. So much for originality on my part, in either physics or theology. Though my father did once tell me that I had come up with a strikingly original heresy based on the Old Testament, so I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.

NEW CIVILITY WATCH: The Covington chronicles: on hating the face of a teenage boy.

As then-President Obama cautioned his fellow leftists in January of 2011, “At a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized, at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do. It’s important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds.”

AWKWARD TIMING AFTER THE COVINGTON HATE-FEST: Biden: Trump brought ‘folks out from under the rocks,’ ‘legitimized’ hate.

NEW FOR 2019: Walther Arms Q5 Match SF.

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ON ORDERS FROM ND PREZ: Notre Dame to cover murals of Christopher Columbus.

INFORMATION WARFARE: 1984 becomes real in 2024. I’d say sooner, but the post is analyzing China’s Social Credit Rating system “in which all the accumulated data on an individual can be analyzed to determine which patterns of behavior lead to criminal or anti-government behavior.” Read the whole thing.

STEALTH TRIO: A B-2 Spirit in formation with two F-22 Raptors near Diamond Head State Monument, Hawaii.

TEXAS IS THE FUTURE, CALIFORNIA IS THE PAST: SpaceX to Shift Starship Work From California to Texas.

NEO: The Covington chronicles: on hating the face of a teenage boy.

One of the most chilling aspects of the hatred fanned by the duplicitous reporting on the videotaped incident regarding the Covington students and the 60-something Native American has been the venomous rage directed against the face of one of the students, as well as the conclusions drawn about the expression on the face and what it might signify about the person. . . .

“Bullying” doesn’t even begin to describe what has been done to Sandmann by supposedly responsible and thoughtful adults. Even if the original story of what occurred had been true—and it was most definitely not—the depth of the rage would be way out of line. . . .

What is it they “recognized”? A face that is now permissible to hate, apparently; they’re not shy about writing about their hate and signing their names to it. That face is white, male, and supposedly “privileged” (whether they know a single thing about that person’s actual life circumstances or not). I have come to think of it in a kind of shorthand as hatred towards the “frat boy” in their minds. And it’s not new, although I’ve never before seen a national eruption of this hatred expressed towards someone who is not yet an adult

This hatred is bigoted and prejudiced, pure and simple. The hatred’s origins lie not just in the work the media had undertaken to shape its audience towards feeling this hatred—although that is most definitely part of it—but it also is an opportunity for the viewer to draw in all sorts of historical references to other white men and/or boys they have grown to hate, and to make often-absurd parallels.

Our political/journalistic class shows us what kind of people it is made up of every single day.

Meanwhile, I hope the voters of Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio remember who hates their kids on sight, and vote accordingly.

UPDATE: From a friend on Facebook: “Is no one else finding it sadly ironic that the country is in an uproar over a kid who practiced literal nonviolent inaction during a highly questionable confrontation – on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day?”

ANOTHER UPDATE: Also from Facebook: “Most people, to include conservatives, are now conditioned to unquestioningly assume racism on the part of conservative leaning people. The only behavior which would have placated the mob would have been for the boys to have bowed their heads, averted their gaze, and removed their hats while groveling.” Actually, it’s not clear that even that would have been sufficient.

THE LATEST THING THAT WILL PROBABLY KILL US ALL: The Hill reports that Washington is alarmed about “deepfakes,” an open-source technology for realistically (sort of) mapping someone’s face onto another person’s body. Obviously, this could be used in disinformation campaigns. (And, of course, people are using it for porn.) Time to panic? Don’t worry, lawmakers and “experts” have a plan, which appears to be:

1. Pass laws to ban the Deepfakes software and/or actually making videos with it, or even classify it as terrorism.
2. Completely ignore how ineffective and absurdly impossible this was last time, even our own country, where the law supposedly applies.
3. ???
4. Russians successfully prevented from interfering with election using Deepfakes software.

As usual, when it comes to making laws about technology or censorship, we are just not sending our best people. Sad!

 

NETANYAHU’S STRATEGIC GENIUS?: After Chad ties restored, Israel set to host Mali’s PM in coming weeks.

I have lots of reservations about the Israeli PM, but credit where credit is due. He has a strategic vision for the country, which he has been pursuing relentlessly:

(1) Preserve and expand market reforms to increase Israel’s wealth, thereby making emgiration less attractive, and immigration more so. Since 2001, Israel has moved from number 40 in the world in per capita nominal income to 20th.

(2) Expand ties with Arab neighbors who have a common fear of Iran and a common impatience with Palestinian extremism and intransigence. Reports of not-so-secret secret meetings of Israeli officials with Arab officials from countries with no diplomatic relations with Israel are frequent (e.g.).

(3) Instead of relying on fair-weather friends in Europe, expand diplomatic ties with India, China, and, as in the headline above, African countries, including Muslim-majority countries.

(4) Very much under the radar (because there is no domestic political gain from doing so), take significant, expensive measures to integrate the Arab population of Israel into the economic mainstream, including aggressive civil service hiring, additional spending on infrastructure in Arab towns, and perhaps most important, significant steps taken to close the education and career prospects gap between Arab and Jewish residents of Israel. If successful, such steps will dampen irredentist and secessionist views within the Arab population.

Admittedly, some of Bibi’s successes have been more luck than skill–Trump beating Clinton, and the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt were two very fortuitous events from his perspective. And he doesn’t seem to have any clue about what, if anything, can be done to alleviate the long-term conflict with the Palestinians, or how to stop the slide in Israel’s support among U.S. Democrats. But his successes shouldn’t be underestimated.

STRONGER IS BETTER: Could Neck-Strengthening Prevent Some Concussions?

MENLO PARK POCKET CHANGE: Google fined $57 million by French data privacy body.

RUN ALL THE CANDIDATES! Kamala Harris Will Kick Off 2020 Run on ‘American Values’ With Speech in … Silicon Valley. “Kamala Harris may have been born in Oakland, but that does not mean Americans want Oakland values.”

As Gertrude Stein famously said, “There is no there there.” Though I’m not sure if she was talking about Oakland, or Harris.

MEGAN FOX: MAGA Hat Madness, #FakeNews, and the Mob.

LIVE LONG AND PROSPER: ‘Longevity’ Science Could Reach Billions In 2019 – And Is No Longer Just The Preserve of Billionaires.

The hard science goes like this. Scientists, entrepreneurs and philanthropists are now re-thinking aging and our assumptions that chronic diseases – like arthritis – are the inevitable by-products of aging. The latest research unlocking the cellular basis of aging shows that we can prevent or slow down chronic diseases. Aubrey De Grey, the maverick bio-engineer who pioneered rejuvenation medicine, argues that aging is just a set of accumulated side effects from metabolism that eventually kills us off, and so we need strategies to minimize cellular death, improve the rate of repair and/or stop mutations going awry (as with cancer) to stay younger for longer.

Intriguing possibilities are emerging. Old drugs like rapamycin (used to prevent organ transplant rejection) and metformin (a gold standard in diabetes management to control blood sugar) are finding new uses to delay aging. Over 100 new drugs have also been found to extend lifespans of mice, with specific “senolytic” drug cocktails, for example, combining dasatinib (used to treat leukaemia), and quercetin (a plant chemical often found in red wine and kale), shown to kill off senescent cells. Unity Biotechnology, a company specializing in development of senolytics recently completed a successful IPO and the results of the clinical trials will soon show the effects of this new class of “geroprotectors” in humans.

This quest for drugs to extend longevity is not confined to big companies focused on keeping their shareholders happy. In 2018 several start-ups came out of the stealth mode including the Harvard spin-off Elevian, a company targeting age-related muscle wasting and another company with the ties to Harvard, Life Biosciences working as an accelerator for multiple longevity-oriented subsidiaries.

A recent call by Y-Combinator focusing on longevity means that we will see a plethora of young start-ups coming through in 2019. Increasing number of venture funds, holding companies and venture funds including Juvenescence, Apollo Ventures, Longevity Vision Fund, Life Biosciences, Deep Knowledge Ventures and Longevity Fund are funding and incubating a large number of promising companies in the longevity space.

Faster, please. Related: The Longevity Dividend.

QUESTIONS ONLY THE GRAUNIAD IS ASKING: Who is more dangerous: El Chapo or Carlos Slim?

Well, the latter happens to keep an infinitely more powerful PR operation in his back pocket.

REPORT: China’s Annual Economic Growth Rate Is Slowest Since 1990.

The 6.6% growth rate for 2018 reported Monday is the slowest annual pace China has recorded since 1990. The economic downturn, which has been sharper than Beijing expected, deepened in the last months of 2018, with fourth quarter growth rising 6.4% from a year earlier.

Adding to the gloom was the trade conflict with Washington. The uncertain outlook for Chinese exporters caused companies to delay investing and hiring and in some cases even to resort to layoffs—a practice often discouraged by China’s stability-obsessed Communist Party rulers. The official jobless rate ticked up to 4.9% last month from 4.8% in November.

In the southern technology and export-manufacturing center of Shenzhen, for instance, many private makers of electronics, textiles and auto parts furloughed workers more than two months before the Lunar New Year holiday, which begins in February, according to business owners and local officials. The neighboring city of Guangzhou saw growth slump to 6.5% last year—well short of the 7.5% annual target set by the city government—as trade tensions hit the city’s manufacturing sector hard.

These are the official figures, which don’t always exactly jibe with reality.

MAYBE A SISTER ISN’T WHAT IT TAKES: Rent-a-sister: Coaxing Japan’s young men out of their rooms.

SPOILER: THEY AREN’T COMPLYING. Report to Congress on Russian Compliance with INF Treaty.

ASS-COVERING WELL UNDERWAY: Journalists and Celebs Rush to Delete Tweets Slamming MAGA-Hat Kids.

New York Times opinion writer Kara Swisher, for instance, deleted one tweet saying she was thinking of “finding every one of these shitty kids and giving them a very large piece of my mind,” and other tweets throwing slurs like “Nazi” and “nationalist.” ABC chief political correspondent Scott Thurman deleted a tweet alleging students in MAGA hats were “mocking” and “taunting” a Native American in front of the Lincoln Memorial in D.C., asking in a new tweet if the new video changed minds about the kids.

Anti-Trump activist Ed Krassenstein deleted a neutral tweet contemplating the intentions of Nick Sandmann, the young MAGA student accused of smirking at a Native American. His brother, Brian Krassenstein, deleted a tweet calling the students “bigoted.” The New Republic‘s Jeet Heer deleted a tweet arguing the MAGA hat-wearing teens were “racist.” CNN’s Bakari Sellers deleted a tweet suggesting the kids should be “punched in the face.”

You’d like to think that people learned a lesson here, but I’m no longer that optimistic. The teens showed a lot more control in the face of actual provocation than these allegedly sensible and responsible media adults showed in the face of a bogus news report.

UPDATE (from Charlie): This may have to do with the fact that the kids and their families have obtained pro bono representation for libel action. Check out the #VerifiedBullies hashtag for more like this:

NO COMPROMISE:  It’s all about hating Trump.

RACISM, STRAIGHT UP: Pakistan is building a wall along its border with Afghanistan.

A JOURNALISTIC TIP FOR CNN:

You could start here:

As they say, punch back twice as hard.

ALONG WITH MOST OF THE MEDIA, INCLUDING MOST OF THE “CONSERVATIVE” MEDIA: I Failed the Covington Catholic Test: Next time there’s a viral story, I’ll wait for more facts to emerge.

As I watched the longer videos, I began to see the smirking kid in a different light. It seemed to me that a wave of emotions rolled over his face as Phillips approached him: confusion, fear, resolve. He finally, I thought, settled on an expression designed to mimic respect while signaling to his friends that he’s got this under control. Observing it, I wondered what different reaction I could have reasonably hoped a high-school junior to have in such an unfamiliar and bewildering situation. I came up empty.

He certainly did better than a lot of allegedly mature and sensible journalists and pundits. Which is the problem with this resolution at the end of the article: “I’ll get my news from legitimate journalists instead of an online mob for whom Saturday-morning indignation is just another form of entertainment.”

But it was the “legitimate journalists” who pushed this story and the dishonest video. It was other people who got to the truth.

Related:

YES, PLEASE: Pentagon considers an ICBM-killing weapon for the F-35, but is it affordable?

The Trump administration’s Missile Defense Review, released Thursday after months of anticipation, carves out an enticing new potential role for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

The jet “has a capable sensor system that can detect the infrared signature of a boosting missile and its computers can identify the threatening missile’s location,” the review states. “It can track and destroy adversary cruise missiles today, and, in the future, can be equipped with a new or modified interceptor capable of shooting down adversary ballistic missiles in their boost phase and could be surged rapidly to hot spots to strengthen U.S. active defense capabilities and attack operations.”

The report gives the Air Force and Missile Defense Agency six months to deliver a report on how best to integrate the F-35 into the larger missile defense architecture.

But with the armed services struggling to figure out how they can afford ramping up procurement as well as operating and sustaining the jets, it remains to be seen whether the Defense Department can afford having the F-35 as an ICBM killer.

Helluva lot cheaper than losing a city.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Was A Zionist.

Which makes for quite a contrast with this recent headline: Tablet Magazine: The Origin of the Women’s March is a Story of Virulent Antisemitism.

But then, today’s mainstream left and the alt-right are mirror images of each other.

COVINGTON FALLOUT: Truth And Disfavored Identities. “This disgraceful affair is further evidence of America’s spiralling polarization and of group hatreds being used to justify sanctimonious mobbing and violence. Activists and Twitter blowhards, some of them with thousands of followers, have run roughshod over the facts with a false narrative of grotesque privilege colliding with noble oppression that confirmed their ideological preferences. Their idle (and possibly cynical) demonization of schoolchildren was then amplified by click-hungry media sites trafficking in furious indignation and recklessly stoking sectarian anger. That Phillips played his own part in encouraging a misleading version of events does not excuse the failure to verify on the part of those uncritically reporting and circulating his remarks.”

Related: Brendan O’Neill: This Is A New Low For The Twittermob.

ROD KACKLEY: Georgia Religious Liberty Legislation Poised for Comeback. “But newly elected House Speaker David Ralston doesn’t want to see a repeat of the nation’s biggest businesses threatening to boycott Georgia like they did in 2016.”

SEA CHANGE: That idiotic Gillette ad may have turned the tide on ‘toxic masculinity.’ “Men take the most dangerous jobs, they fight and die in our wars, yet they are told nonstop that they are terrible, and the future isn’t for them. They are expected to shrug it off because, well, they are men.” And they’re pretty much over that BS.

DAVID FORSMARK: Hey, Tucker: Flyover America Is Not the Sh**thole You Imagine It to Be. “The Fox News host angles to be the Al Sharpton of white, blue-collar middle America.”

Flyover states are the worst. Stay away.

NARRATOR: HE WASN’T JOKING. ‘Poisoning Young Minds’: Democratic Rep Wants To Ban Teens From Wearing MAGA Hats, Says He Was Joking.

FOR DEMS – KAVANAUGH BAD, CARDENAS OK: Rep. Leo Cardenas (D-Calif.) is chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus BOLD PAC, which hosted that gathering of Democrats in Puerto Rico last week. He’s the same Cardenas who is accused by a woman of drugging and molesting her when she was 16.

And, according to the Washington Free Beacon’s Susan Crabtree, the same Cardenas of whom then-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called in 2018 for an ethics investigation to determine the credibility of the woman’s charge. No ethics probe of Cardenas is known to have been convened.

“Cardenas has vigorously denied the allegations, accusing the woman of seeking revenge for her father, a disgruntled former Cardenas staffer,” Crabtree reports this morning. “His lawyer issued a statement arguing that the request for a House ethics investigation shows that she has a ‘meritless and weak case.’ A Los Angeles Superior Court judge has determined there is enough merit to charges to move forward and has set a trial to begin in August.”

Now that Pelosi is Speaker of the House, how long before an ethics probe of Kavanaugh, uh, excuse me, Cardenas is convened?

 

PUNCH BACK TWICE AS HARD: Pro-Second Amendment march at Penn State counters appearance by David Hogg.

BOTTOM STORY OF THE DAY: Leslie Jones Slams New ‘Ghostbusters’ Film: “It’s Like Something Trump Would Do.”

SHUTDOWN THEATER: Pelosi Rejected Trump’s Immigration Compromise BEFORE HE GAVE IT.

“DREAMers” are just pawns in the Democrats’ power games.

ONLY THREE? BIGOTS! Yale students can now select from THREE gender options.

LIZ SHELD’S MORNING BRIEF: No MAGA hats for you and much, much more. “It took about a day before a more complete picture emerged of this purported provocative, racist interaction, but one has to be inclined to swallow the anti-Trump racist narrative with ease in order to start wagging fingers and writing hit pieces excoriating these kids without waiting for more information. I’m not referring to the mainstream media because I expect them to sell these kinds of stories, it’s all they know how to do. But people who are allegedly on the ‘right’ jumped on these boys FAST. Any story that exactly fits the liberal racist worldview, needs a time out and closer investigation, haven’t we learned anything?”

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: Should The FBI Run The Country? “Since the media would doubtless answer that loaded question, ‘It depends on the president,’ let us imagine the following scenario.”

ANALYSIS: TRUE. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Is Setting Women Back Light Years In Politics.

“I think that there’s a lot of people more concerned about being precisely, factually, and semantically correct than about being morally right,” Ocasio-Cortez told Cooper after he asked about her careless and incorrect analysis of the defense budget. In one sentence, Ocasio-Cortez portrayed herself as a woman who is ready to subordinate facts to her moral convictions, confirming achingly anti-female stereotypes. She may as well have driven erratically down the highway or failed to catch a gently thrown ball. Of course, she later admitted that being factually correct is “absolutely important.” She just doesn’t seem to care much about facts and numbers when she’s tweeting.

Or, for that matter, when she’s speaking. In discussing with Cooper her proposal for a “Green New Deal,” which would use the full force of the government in an attempt to convert the United States to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030, she could not offer an actual answer for how such an enormous transformation would be possible. “It’s going to require a lot of rapid change that we don’t even conceive as possible right now,” was all she could say.

Shockingly, the reason we “don’t conceive of it as possible” is because it is not possible.

Forget it, she’s rolling.

TO BE FAIR, THEY’VE FORGOTTEN A LOT OF STUFF: Salena Zito: Amtrak forgot trains aren’t planes.

What happens inside the train matters as well. One of the true charming parts of the ride is the dining car experience. It isn’t just the warm, buttery grits and the crisp bacon. It is the people you meet because of the communal dining.

It was there on the Friday before former President Barack Obama’s first inauguration that I met African-Americans traveling from as far as California by train to attend his inauguration. From veterans of the civil rights movement to young people caught up in his aspirational rhetoric, we were all sitting, conversing, sharing stories, and experiences.

Last Monday, when I boarded the train for the first time this winter, I discovered the warm, buttery grits were no longer an option, replaced by a tub of yogurt and granola. In a box. Dinner now came in a box. So did lunch. Gone were the crisp, white tablecloths, and gone were the people who always cheerfully made whatever meal you wanted.

Why make riding the train pleasant?

EZRA LEVANT: Meet the “woke” feminist behind that Gillette ad (video).

 

WELL, GOOD: Canada says it won’t be deterred by Chinese pressure.

Canada’s public safety minister said Friday that the country won’t be deterred by Chinese pressure after China threatened reprisals if Huawei was banned from supplying equipment for 5G networks, highlighting the growing rift between America’s neighbor and the emerging superpower.

There are accusations that the telecom giant is controlled by China’s ruling Communist Party or is required to facilitate Chinese spying. The U.S., Australia, Japan and other governments have imposed curbs on use of its technology.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said Canada has been abundantly clear it will not compromise national security.

“It’s a difficult challenge but we’ll not be deterred by what we believe to be right and what we believe to be in the interests of Canada,” Goodale said.

Lu Shaye, China’s ambassador to Canada, warned Thursday of repercussions if Canada bars the firm from its new 5G network.

“One of the things that is of concern in this situation is the blending of Chinese commercial interests with Chinese political positioning and consequences. That’s something that I think should be of concern to Canadians and people around the world,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.

Kudos to Trudeau.

FLASHBACK: China’s Plan to Break off US Allies.

JOEL KOTKIN: Technological Progress and the Global Sex Recession. The problem is, sex stays the same as it ever was, but the distractions keep getting better every year. This is the problem wherever humans compete with machines.

JAMES TARANTO NOTES THAT EVEN CONSERVATIVES PARTICIPATE IN THE OTHERING OF TRUMP SUPPORTERS:

Related:

The fear and hatred of young white males is palpable, and present even among some people on the right. Because that’s our culture in 2019. And don’t tell me your “true conservatism” is about “decency and standards” when you’re willing to flush the lives of teenagers so you can do your “I’m not like them” virtue-signalling.

UPDATE: From the comments: “The sh*tposters and trolls at 4chan had the story nailed down right away while highly paid and experienced ‘professionals’ had almost every aspect of the story wrong, wrong, wrong. They get paid too much.”

HMM: China isn’t looking to grow its economy but, rather, is waiting for it to recover. Good luck with that.

As household debt mounted, the property market turned downwards last year and auto sales fell for the first time in at least two decades. Property and car sales account for one-fifth of China’s gross domestic product. Although China’s foreign trade rose by 10 per cent last year, its growth rate will slip this year as the global economy softens and the United States’ trade war with China begins to bite. As exports also account for one-fifth of GDP, any slowdown there would hurt the economy. Obviously, with all this negative news, investment will also cool.

To stimulate the economy, Beijing is cutting banks’ reserve requirement ratios and launching infrastructure initiatives. Neither is likely to revive growth. Chinese debt, unofficially 300 per cent of GDP, is too high for any debt-led growth policy to be effective. Currently, infrastructure spending is around one-fifth of GDP. It is hard to see how a few projects can move the needle. It appears the government’s goal is stability, especially in the financial system and the labour market, not growth. As the property market tips over, loan repayments become more sporadic. The goal of the monetary policy is probably to keep lending institutions liquid. This policy could be undermined only by massive capital flight. But as long as the Great Wall of capital control is solid, China will remain stable for the foreseeable future.

Money, to misquote Dr. Ian Malcolm, finds a way.

EXCELLENT: The Navy’s newest aircraft carrier got a long-missing piece of gear in December, helping solve a problem the Navy secretary has bet his job on fixing.

On December 21, the Navy’s first-in-class aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford, which has been plagued by technical problems and cost overruns, got the first of its 11 advanced weapons elevators, “setting the tone for more positive developments in the year ahead,” the Navy said this week.

That tone may be doubly important for Navy Secretary Richard Spencer, who has staked his job on the elevators— which were not installed when the carrier was delivered 32 months late in May 2017 — being ready by the end of the carrier’s year-long post-shakedown assessment this summer.

Advanced Weapons Elevator Upper Stage 1 was turned over to the Navy after testing and certification by engineers at Hunting Ingalls-Newport News Shipbuilding, where the carrier was built and is going through a post-shakedown period after testing at sea.

The elevator “has been formally accepted by the Navy,” Bill Couch, a spokesman for Naval Sea Systems Command, said in a statement.

We’ve been building aircraft carriers with weapons elevators for nearly a century, so this might seem like an inexcusable delay. But part of the Ford-class’s selling point is its ability — well, hoped-for ability — to generate more aircraft sorties each day. And doing that requires an all-new launch system (the problem-plagued EMALS) and all-new/high-speed weapons elevators. There were bound to be teething issues, but it looks like they’re getting sorted out.

#JOURNALISM: The media’s “Gotcha!” hysteria is shameful.

Related:

Plus:

It’s been a bad week for Buzzfeed. Much more here.

WELL, SURE, BUT THOSE BECAME EVIL ONCE TRUMP SUPPORTED THEM: Democrats Were For Border Security And Against Illegal Immigration Until Trump.

ANOTHER FINE MESS: Erdogan seeks lifeline from Putin in Syria.

AN EXAMPLE OF PROFESSIONALISM FOR THE REST OF THE MEDIA: Fox News’ Restraint on Buzzfeed Paid Off, and Should Be a Lesson to Other Outlets. “There were, in short, dozens of red flags. Alarm bells should have gone off. Sprinting with the story should have seemed like a risky proposition. Fox, ironically, took heat for choosing not to go deep end, as critics on social media (but not only those on social media) sneered at screenshots of the three networks showing who was covering which news. But those sneers were backwards. It was CNN and MSNBC carpet-bombing every show with non-stop coverage of ‘IF TRUE’ scenario-building that made the bad call.”

Now do the Covington High boys.

EVERGREEN HEADLINE: What A Weekend for Media Accuracy.

BECAUSE THEY’RE MADE UP: BuzzFeed Reporter Cormier: ‘We Can’t Get Into, Like, the Details Here.’

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: From the BuzzFeed Psychodrama to the Covington Video Melodrama. “In all these cases, why not allow a little time, even if only a few hours, to be the arbitrator of veracity rather than shoot from the hip moral outrage? Otherwise, day after day after day, we are just updating The Ox-Bow Incident for the Internet age.”

Related: The Media Wildly Mischaracterized That Video of Covington Catholic Students Confronting a Native American Veteran.

A bogus story about Trump supporters. Who could imagine such a thing?

I’M HOPING THAT THE GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN WILL ACCELERATE THIS TREND: More Airports May Ditch the TSA and Use Private Security Instead.

AS SOMEONE WHO IS STILL SUFFERING THE CONSEQUENCES OF BEING MALIGNED IN A SIMILAR WAY (MUCH SMALLER SCALE) I IMPLORE ALL OF YOU: IF IT SEEMS TO FIT THE LEFT NARRATIVE, WAIT AND SEE.  THE MSM DOESN’T JUST LIE. IT MALIGNS, IT DESTROYS, IT MANUFACTURES THINGS OUT OF WHOLE CLOTH. IT’S WHAT THEY DO. PRAVDA IN ITS HEYDAY WAS MORE RELIABLE AND THERE WAS NO TRUTH IN PRAVDA:  Reporting on each other: the Covington boys, the Native American, and the smart phone vs. the telescreen.

AND AGAIN WITH MISSPELLING OCCASIONAL CORTEX!  The Ocasio-Cortez Amnesia Effect.