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THANKS, OBAMA: The secret backstory of how Obama let Hezbollah off the hook. “An ambitious U.S. task force targeting Hezbollah’s billion-dollar criminal enterprise ran headlong into the White House’s desire for a nuclear deal with Iran.”

The campaign, dubbed Project Cassandra, was launched in 2008 after the Drug Enforcement Administration amassed evidence that Hezbollah had transformed itself from a Middle East-focused military and political organization into an international crime syndicate that some investigators believed was collecting $1 billion a year from drug and weapons trafficking, money laundering and other criminal activities.

Over the next eight years, agents working out of a top-secret DEA facility in Chantilly, Virginia, used wiretaps, undercover operations and informants to map Hezbollah’s illicit networks, with the help of 30 U.S. and foreign security agencies.

They followed cocaine shipments, some from Latin America to West Africa and on to Europe and the Middle East, and others through Venezuela and Mexico to the United States. They tracked the river of dirty cash as it was laundered by, among other tactics, buying American used cars and shipping them to Africa. And with the help of some key cooperating witnesses, the agents traced the conspiracy, they believed, to the innermost circle of Hezbollah and its state sponsors in Iran.

But as Project Cassandra reached higher into the hierarchy of the conspiracy, Obama administration officials threw an increasingly insurmountable series of roadblocks in its way, according to interviews with dozens of participants who in many cases spoke for the first time about events shrouded in secrecy, and a review of government documents and court records. When Project Cassandra leaders sought approval for some significant investigations, prosecutions, arrests and financial sanctions, officials at the Justice and Treasury departments delayed, hindered or rejected their requests.

Read the whole thing.

RICHARD FERNANDEZ ON FOREIGN POLICY: Is the world developing a new adaptive order?

Adaptive order is not simply an ivory tower concept. It describes the process through which the Internet actually emerged and continues to be governed. As a report by Vinton Cerf explains, “we conclude it is folly to try and regulate all these areas through an international treaty, and encourage further development of mechanisms for global debate like the Internet Governance Forum (IGF).”

If the future world order resembles the Internet, it will be built and rebuilt in the background, through a nonstop process of deals and arrangements much more than by traditional diplomatic agreement. If the Trump administration is deliberately (or accidentally under evolutionary pressure) laying the foundations for an adaptive world order the next decades may see an increase, rather a diminution of American influence in the world.

The key conceptual innovation is that prestige is replaced by capability as a unit of negotiating power. . . .

The success of American foreign policy may depend not on how many diplomats it has in overseas stations but how much innovation the US fosters. American power may increasingly be a function of technological space rather than diplomatic maps. In such a world tax codes, regulatory environments, privacy regimes and human capital may count as foreign policy acts.

In that new world American prestige and influence will not depend on the dubious virtue of any individual human institution nor on the soaring eloquence of the media but upon the industry, inventiveness and moral compass of the United States.

Read the whole thing.


The old moguls — whether semi-literate glove salesmen or fast-talking Sammy Glicks — at least knew which business they were in. They had come from the Jewish Rialto on Second Avenue in Manhattan, from the nickelodeons, and the schmatta trade: they knew that the customer was a) fickle and b) king. When they went to Hollywood, they understood instinctively they needed a wide array of wares, goods that appealed to as broad a clientele as possible, not a one-size-fits-all union suit.

But ever since the studios started disappearing into the bean-counting maws of Gulf & Western, funeral-parlor and parking-lot operators, cable companies, and Japanese electronics manufacturers, the show has gone out of show business. The rise of the Internet, and the advent of the streaming services provided by Netflix, Amazon and others — which are so rich and successful that they are now not only creating their own content but outbidding studios for it as well — has meant that the theaters will soon be out of the theater business.

Comes the news of Disney’s tender for some bleeding chunks of 21st Century Fox, one of Hollywood’s Big Six studios that used to be known as 20th Century Fox or, in the old movie-biz parlance, simply “Twentieth.”

Read the whole thing.


Listing his principles, he started with one he often mentions. “We must reject as a nation the false paradigm that if you are pro-energy, you are anti-environment, and if you are pro-environment, you are anti-energy. I utterly reject that narrative. .  .  . It is not an either-or proposition.”

The New York Times is Pruitt’s most vigorous media critic. In August, it featured a front-page story under the headline “Scott Pruitt Is Carrying Out His E.P.A. Agenda in Secret.” The story, among other things, noted he’s “the first head of the agency to ever request round-the-clock security.”

Smart move by Pruitt. Given the way he’s been demonized, he needs the security. In September, the Washington Post reported that his guards—“triple the manpower” of his predecessors—are pulling agents away from “pursuing environmental crimes.” The story didn’t mention the EPA has 15,000 employees.

Read the whole thing.

Earlier: Think “Progress” melts down because “More than 700 employees have left the EPA since Scott Pruitt took over.” The rest of us think “faster, please.”

SALENA ZITO: Why depression and suicide are rampant among American farmers.

“There is particularly a lot of depression in rural society. It happens for a lot of different reasons. A lot of it is our roller-coaster economics. People outside of farming, I think, understand that farming is hard work. What they don’t understand is the depth of the lows that can hit you at any one time, with just one small problem that can lead to hundreds of little problems.

“I just had the discussion today with my son-in-law,” he explained. “We sold feeder steers. We missed by about 50 pounds what we were hoping to get. Well, that was about another $15,000 worth of income we’re not going to have. That’s a big deal, because the margins are so tough.”

His brother, who works on the ranch and keeps the books, told him that their diverse operation of crops and livestock should bring in enough money to keep the 3,500-acre ranch going next year. “You know, pay taxes, make sure you have money to pay people, pay for your seed, your fertilizer. And hope to hell no big catastrophes hit you in the side of the head.”

The 2016 CDC study of approximately 40,000 suicides reported in the US in 2012 — the most recent year for which statistics are available — showed that the rate for agriculture workers is 84.5 per 100,000. The next occupation most at risk were construction, extraction, installation, maintenance and repair workers who had a suicide rate hovering around the 50 per 100,000 mark. Meanwhile, the suicide rate among American male veterans is 37 per 100,000, according to a 2016 study by the Veterans Affairs department.

Read the whole thing.


What happens when a rape doesn’t fit within the ideological parameters of feminist discourse? It’s as if it never happened, although feminists have sometimes devoted enormous efforts to publicizing rapes that quite literally never happened, as in the case of Rolling Stone’s infamous 2014 hoax, where the non-existent “Haven Monahan” was invented by an emotionally disturbed freshman who falsely claimed to have been gang-raped at a fraternity.

That notorious hoax “sparked a national conversation about sexual assault at elite institutions,” the Guardian said in reporting the $3 million verdict against Rolling Stone after they were sued for defamation by a university official, former associate dean of students Nicole Eramo. Why did a lurid story about rape at “elite institutions” merit such treatment, but there is no “national conversation” about university students getting raped by cab drivers? Isn’t it because these crimes — real rapes with real victims — don’t fit the feminist narrative? Say hello to Jose Angel Moreno-Hernandez.

Read the whole thing.

ROCK AND ROLL EDITOR: Andrew Ferguson reviews Sticky Fingers, Joe Hagan’s new biography of Jann Wenner, and the recent HBO documentary on Wenner.

From the first, Hagan makes clear, Wenner was as much a fanboy as a journalist, hoping to use his position as editor of a rising publication to bathe in the nimbus of his favorite rock-and-roll celebrities. The ambition often paid off editorially. Wenner’s obsession with John Lennon led to other early scoops and made Rolling Stone seem indispensable to anyone following the counterculture. In 1968 word came that Lennon and Yoko Ono had posed naked, front and back, for the cover of a new album called Two Virgins. After Wenner’s relentless transatlantic hectoring, Lennon agreed to license the photos to Rolling Stone, if only because no one else would take them. (Asked about the significance of the Two Virgins cover, Lennon’s bandmate George Harrison said everything that needed saying. “It’s just two not-very-nice-looking bodies,” said the Quiet Beatle. “Two flabby bodies naked.”) Wenner put the flabby backsides on the magazine’s cover and tucked the other, full-frontal photo inside. It made a worldwide sensation. Multiple printings of the issue sold out. “Print a famous foreskin,” Wenner said, “and the world will beat a path to your door.”

And Wenner had made a new friend. The HBO documentary gives Homeric treatment to the relationship between Wenner and the Lennons, from foreskin to aft. The friendship was transactional, as friendships between journalists and celebrities usually are. Lennon had a constant need to generate publicity, especially for the new commercial entity known as “John and Yoko,” and Wenner craved proximity to a Beatle. A few months after the Beatles broke up, Lennon agreed to grant Wenner a long interview. Coming off years of drug abuse and months of psychotherapy, Lennon was as garrulous as any ex-junkie analysand could be.

He hammered his former bandmates personally and musically and careened from self-adulation (“If there’s such a thing as [a genius], I am one”) to self-loathing (“the Beatles are the biggest bastards on earth”). The interview, its extravagant profanity uncensored, appeared over two issues and again generated headlines everywhere. In his nationally syndicated column William F. Buckley Jr. referred to the interview as “How I Wrecked My Own Life, and Can Help Wreck Yours.”

Heh, indeed. Read the whole thing.™ For my own review of the Wenner bio, click here.


“Look, I just feel like we’re having a really unfair conversation here, I’m trying to have a conversation on the merits of the principle of unintended consequences,” Velshi whined. “And you’re dropping a lot of legal-ese.”

“The legal-ese is the merits though, Ali,” McDowell asserted. “That’s what’s at play here, and maybe you haven’t read these laws.”

“I’m very familiar with net neutrality,” Velshi snarked back. “I’m really not that familiar with being condescended to.”

Because it’s absolutely impossible to out-smug an MSNBC anchor. Read and/or watch the whole thing.

THE HILL: Prominent lawyer sought donor cash for two Trump accusers.

California lawyer Lisa Bloom’s efforts included offering to sell alleged victims’ stories to TV outlets in return for a commission for herself, arranging a donor to pay off one Trump accuser’s mortgage and attempting to secure a six-figure payment for another woman who ultimately declined to come forward after being offered as much as $750,000, the clients told The Hill.

The women’s accounts were chronicled in contemporaneous contractual documents, emails and text messages reviewed by The Hill, including an exchange of texts between one woman and Bloom that suggested political action committees supporting Hillary Clinton were contacted during the effort.

Bloom, who has assisted dozens of women in prominent harassment cases and also defended film executive Harvey Weinstein earlier this year, represented four women considering making accusations against Trump last year. Two went public, and two declined.

In a statement to The Hill, Bloom acknowledged she engaged in discussions to secure donations for women who made or considered making accusations against Trump before last year’s election.

Read the whole thing.


Mueller’s investigation was triggered when former FBI director James B. Comey, no fan of the president who dismissed him, leaked a memo of a meeting with President Trump. Comey admitted hoping this revelation would lead to appointment of a special counsel. Furthermore, the investigative team Mueller has assembled includes Democratic donors and supporters, including one lawyer who represented the Clinton Foundation and one who represented a subject in the Hillary Clinton email investigation. This month, moreover, it came to light that two members of the team, who had also worked on the Clinton email investigation, were having an extramarital affair and exchanged text messages expressing partisan political views — favoring Clinton and depicting Trump as ‘loathsome.’

Worse, in one August 2016 text, one of them, FBI agent Peter Strzok, asserted that the FBI “can’t take that risk” that Trump could be elected, equating some unspecified action against this seemingly unlikely possibility to “an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.” Dismayingly, this text, which crosses the line between political banter and tainted law enforcement, refers to a meeting in the office of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, then (and now) the bureau’s No. 2 official. While not as weighty, legitimate questions have been raised about McCabe’s own objectivity, his wife’s state Senate campaign having been lavishly funded by groups tied to Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), a Clinton insider.

Read the whole thing.

WHAT DOES THAT MEAN, EXACTLY? FBI Officials Discussed ‘Insurance Policy’ Against Trump Presidency.

“I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office — that there’s no way [Trump] gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk,” FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok wrote in a cryptic text message to Lisa Page, an FBI lawyer and his mistress.

“It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40,” Strzok wrote in the text, dated Aug. 15, 2016.

Andy is likely Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe.

Read the whole thing.


Forgive my cynicism, but I cannot help but think that the key to the timing of the letter is that the “workers of the art world” who signed it, having already achieved the desired “institutional access and career advancement,” and emboldened by the long-overdue disclosures around rape and sexual violence in the entertainment industry, decided to take this opportunity finally to cleanse the environment of what they perceive as undesirable elements. In the process, they risk going into a purging mode strikingly reminiscent of what happened under Comrade Stalin in my native country, the former ussr. It seems to me that despite the bombastic phrasing that recalls the furious tone of Russian avant-garde manifestos, these women do not realize where the primrose path of purging is likely to lead. If Soviet history is any indication, we should be seriously concerned by such ignorance. Once the processes are initiated, the enemy is identified, and the cogs of the apparatus are set in motion, there will be little reason to stop the purging at alleged sexual harassers. The clean-up will continue until the ranks of the art world are rid of any and all offensive elements. It is by no means impossible that even the righteous signatories of this letter may one day find themselves denounced for racism, classism, transphobia, ableism, homophobia, or any of the proliferating multitude of microagressive offenses.

Read the whole thing.

BONFIRE OF THE ACADEMIES: Two professors on how leftist intolerance is killing higher education.

At colleges and universities all over the country, students are protesting in increasingly virulent and sometimes violent ways. They demand safe spaces and trigger warnings, shouting down those with whom they disagree. It has become rote for outsiders to claim that the inmates are running the asylum; that this is analogous to Mao’s Red Guard, Germany’s brown shirts, the French Revolution’s Jacobins; and, when those being attacked are politically “left” themselves, that the Left is eating its own. These stories seem to validate every fantasy the Right ever had about the Left.

As two professors who recently resigned from positions at a college we loved, and who have always been on the progressive-left end of the political spectrum, we can say that, while none of those characterizations is exactly right, there is truth in each of them. . . .

Hateful white nationalists comprise a tiny but exceedingly loud minority of people on the Right. The analogous group on the Left is the virulent social justice crowd. Those who would have us destroy Martin Luther King’s dream comprise a small but disproportionately loud minority of people on the Left. Also, we would argue that “Right” and “Left” make little sense in either of these contexts. Both fringe groups, extremists wherever they are found, are more accurately described as authoritarian.

We come from the Left, and our values and worldview have not changed. But our understanding of the landscape has, as has our understanding of who is most likely to be interested in pursuing democratic goals through democratic means. A democratic system needs intelligent dissent, which means that it must create and protect the conditions in which people can learn how to think critically, and how to critique ideas and proposals. Those are longstanding values on the Left, but today, they are hanging by a thread. . . .

At Evergreen, a small fraction of students was the face of the protests, some even going so far as to patrol campus with baseball bats, threatening people, and vandalizing property. But the vast majority of students were not part of the protests. Some were yelled at, insulted, assaulted, even battered. Some left the school. Some graduated. Some are keeping their heads down, angry and scared, until they, too, graduate, while they wonder why their experiences are apparently of no interest to the college administration.

Read the whole thing.

D.C. MCALLISTER OFFERS HER TAKE ON REALITY AND RELATIONSHIPS: Can We Be Honest About Women? Here’s a little secret we have to say out loud: Women love the sexual interplay they experience with men, and they relish men desiring their beauty.

Women want to be desired by men, to attract them, to be the only woman in the world for that man. Their beauty is an essential part of their allure, especially when men and women first meet. They have little else to go on because they don’t know each other, and beauty serves as a guidepost to greater interest.

Outside of a woman looking for a mate, her beauty is a source of power because men and other women value it. This is why married women still want to be beautiful. It’s an expression of their femininity, which doesn’t disappear at the altar.

We don’t need studies to bear this out, though we do have them. A recent Pew Research study says society values physical attractiveness in women the most. Nurturing and empathy are second. The top traits most valued in men are morality and professional success. In other words, men want women who are attractive and emotionally connective, and women want good men who are financially successful.

Read the whole thing.

RICHARD VEDDER AND JUSTIN STREHLE: The Case For Taxing College Endowments.

There are two good reasons why the endowment tax makes sense to some politicians. First, public attitudes toward universities have distinctly soured in recent years. What the public perceives as outrageous student behavior, feckless university leadership, and excessive tuition fees has combined with a growing hostility by Republican lawmakers angered over the large political donations and public criticism that academics have made attempting to oust them from office. Lawmakers are growing tired of feeding the mouths that bite them. Revenues raised by taxing colleges can modestly help fund other tax reductions that lawmakers want to make, which are probably economically beneficial to the well over 90 percent of the population living outside the Ivory Towers of Academia.

Second, our econometric examination of college endowments suggests a large portion of endowment income is dissipated in relatively unproductive fashions, financing a growing army of relatively well-paid university administrators and giving influential faculty low teaching loads and high salaries. We estimate that roughly only about 15 cents out of each additional dollar of endowment income goes to lower net tuition fees.

Read the whole thing.


If our great American experiment fails it will because we’ve crumbled from within. We’ve failed to demand ethical leadership, and moreover, we’ve failed to be ethical in our personal lives. If the Christian church in America fails it won’t be because we didn’t win critical elections. It will be because we’re a nation of faithless, biblically illiterate Christians with weak churches and morally compromised leaders. Increasingly in the eyes of unbelievers, the Republican Party has replaced Jesus as the face of the Church. We’re known more for our politics and commitment to men like Roy Moore and Donald Trump than for our commitment to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Now more than ever, Christianity needs to divorce itself from partisan politics.

Hmmmm. Read the whole thing.

YOU DON’T SAY: Turkey’s Erdogan Was ‘No. 1’ in Corruption Probe, Witness Says.

Delivering fresh accusations against the Turkish leader through a court interpreter today, Korkmaz shared a personal story of exile, persecution, deliverance and globe-hopping escape worthy of a cross between a John Le Carre novel and a Homeric poem.

“I did not feel legally secure in any way for myself,” Kormaz told the jury about events that proceeded his dramatic escape from Turkey.

“During that time, the prosecutor had requested an order for arrest for myself based on a different investigation,” he continued. “I understood this time to be a time where rights to defend one’s own and freedoms of an individual and freedoms as a human were taken away. So I took my wife and my daughter, and I left the country that I dearly love.”

Korkmaz, who is barely 30 years old, told a New York jury that he graduated third in a class of roughly 360 students to rise through the ranks in the Istanbul police force, where he served as a ranking officer on the projects and public corruption desk.

In that capacity, Korkmaz said, his unit came across the case of gold trader Reza Zarrab, a former Erdogan ally whose testimony for the U.S. government last week rattled the highest echelons of the Turkish government.

Zarrab secretly pleaded guilty before trial to laundering billions of dollars to Iran through a complicated system of sham gold trades and spurious humanitarian food aid.

Read the whole thing.

MICHAEL WALSH: The End of Media History and the Last Honest Man.

What can journalism do to repair its tattered reputation? For one thing, it needs to stop responding like this:

A CNN spokesperson  previously told POLITICO that the reporters involved in the latest correction, Manu Raju and Jeremy Herb, would not be disciplined. “There will not be any disciplinary action taken because every procedure put in place as part of the editorial process was followed,” the spokesperson said. “People don’t get fired at CNN for making a mistake. They get fired when they don’t follow editorial procedures.”

If that’s its”editorial process,” then CNN has a bigger problem than it thinks. Reporters learned many lessons from Watergate, almost all of them bad, and one of the worst was the “two-source” rule that allowed Woodward and Bernstein to get information into print that wouldn’t have otherwise passed muster.

Read the whole thing.

GARRISON KEILLOR? WHO HE? Rod Dreher links to a column by David Vossbrink of the San Jose Mercury, who notes “Erasing Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion is a ‘1984’-like excess:”

Garrison Keillor has been disappeared into the Memory Hole. If you look for his biography or the archived shows from a half century of “A Prairie Home Companion” on the website of Minnesota Public Radio since his fall from grace, you’ll now find only this: “Sorry, but there’s no page here.”

Keillor and his entire body of work from “A Prairie Home Companion” and “Writer’s Almanac” have been effectively erased from the archives of MPR, along with the work of all the other storytellers, singers, poets and production staff who made the shows successful.

In these tumultuous days of unceasing revelations of sexual scandals in media, politics and business, media enterprises especially face a new ethical challenge with their fallen stars: What do you do with history and art?

As Dreher writes:

If you only chose to partake of art, music, and literature created by morally upstanding persons, you’d quickly come to the end of what’s available. Museums would empty out. Concert halls would fall silent. Bookstores would have to be repurposed as yoga studios, and movie theaters as hipster churches. The unfortunate truth is that bad, or at least deeply flawed, people often make the best art.

Assuming the worst about Garrison Keillor’s private behavior does not negate the decades of pleasure — wholesome pleasure, let it be noted; my kids and I used to listen to his show together — that his quality radio program provided. If we grant MPR and content-owners like them the right to erase the artistic legacy of creators like Keillor, where does it stop? Who will be next?

Indeed. Meanwhile, a former Martin O’Malley 2016 presidential campaign state coordinator and DNC organizer named Race Hochdorf explores “Garrison Keillor & The Dark Side Of #MeToo:”

One defense of assuming guilt is “Why would a woman lie about harassment or assault?” This is irritating for two reasons: 1) It presents women as saintly creatures, come down from heaven above, who would never ever have the desire to lie about abuse for any social or material benefit whatsoever (though this actually happens frequently in child custody cases, and despite the fact that several false rape allegations have made headlines in the past decade: The Rolling Stone/UVA case, the Duke Lacrosse case, and the Columbia University/“Mattress Girl” case to name just a few), and 2) It suggests that if no clear motive for lying about an incident can be immediately discerned, then automatic belief should be chosen over neutral investigation.

Another defense of assuming guilt of the alleged perpetrator is that the approach isn’t meant to be applied to the legal system, only applied in a social context. And what reassurance that is! Don’t worry men. If you ever find yourself among the 2-10% of persons falsely accused of rape, you can sleep easy knowing that even if a court of law finds you not guilty, society will loathe and ostracize you regardless. But this doesn’t matter to mainstream feminist writers and activists. In fact, they’re ecstatic about the possibility of innocent men being concerned and worried.

Emily Lindin, a columnist for Teen Vogue, tweeted: “Sorry. If some innocent men’s reputations have to take a hit in the process of undoing the patriarchy, that is a price I am absolutely willing to pay.”

But note how the article begins:

But it was the second work of Keillor’s that I read, his nonfiction Homegrown Democrat, which proved to have the greatest impact, convincing me to ditch my naive and juvenile libertarianism for a practical and caring liberalism that stressed a balance between heart and mind. It was not this book alone, mind you. My transition from libertarianism to liberalism was more of a journey than just one book or thinker. But nevertheless, Homegrown Democrat was the “straw that broke the camel’s back.” It was a book that was able to present a set of political ideas not as a set of political ideas, but as a deeply personal reminiscence of community and citizenship. It was democracy as a story told by a village elder near a fire, rather than a lecture delivered by an overly-polished plastic hack.

In short, while Garrison Keillor isn’t necessarily one I would consider an “intellectual influence,” his work has always managed to bring a smile to my face, as it no doubt has done for millions of other people. He is a warm old man with a tender voice who — up until recently — had found his life’s purpose in public radio broadcasting and in writing. He was the face of a kind, humble, rural liberalism; a liberalism, I should add, that is far too rare in American political discourse today.

Keillor is “the face of a kind, humble, rural liberalism; a liberalism, I should add, that is far too rare in American political discourse today”? It’s much rarer that Hochdorf thinks — evidently he missed Keillor, then about 74, telling the New York Times last year just how kind, humble and a man of the rural people he is:

Curiously, Mr. Keillor has always found it difficult spending so much time with the strong, good-looking, above average people of Lake Wobegon, which he based on his relatives, past and present.

In “The Keillor Reader” (2014), he complained bitterly about “their industriousness, their infernal humility, their schoolmarmish sincerity, their earnest interest in you, their clichés falling like clockwork — it can be tiring to be around.”

Speaking on his porch, Mr. Keillor said of Lake Wobegonians, i.e., his relatives, “I am frustrated by them in real life.” They were too controlled by good manners, he said, and “have a very hard time breaking through.”

So why devote so much of his professional life ruminating about them? “It’s the people I think I know,” he replied.

Will he miss them, and the weekly jolt of the show?

“No,” he replied. “No.”

Or Keillor, who “has made roughly $400,000 worth of political contributions to Democratic candidates and groups over the past 30 years,” according to the Washington Free Beacon, describing Trump’s Christian supporters in January, in the Washington Post:

And so the Boy President heads for Washington to be sworn into office, pumping his fist, mooning the media, giving the stinky finger to whomever irks him, doing his end-zone dance, promising to build the wall, cut taxes, create jobs, provide great health insurance for EVERYONE and send his son-in-law to the Middle East to solve that little problem, and the rest of us will sit in a barn and keep ourselves warm and hide our heads under our wings, poor things. Discouraging.

So I’ve been shopping around for a new religion to see me through the next four years. Too many of my fellow Christians voted for selfishness and for degradation of the beautiful world God created. I guess they figured that by the time the planet was a smoky wasteland, they’d be nice and comfy in heaven, so wotthehell. Anyhow, I’m looking around for other options.

Which was pretty much his reaction to George W. Bush’s supporters in 2004:

 The party of Lincoln and Liberty was transmogrified into the party of hairy-backed swamp developers and corporate shills, faith-based economists, fundamentalist bullies with Bibles, Christians of convenience, freelance racists, misanthropic frat boys, shrieking midgets of AM radio, tax cheats, nihilists in golf pants, brownshirts in pinstripes, sweatshop tycoons, hacks, fakirs, aggressive dorks, Lamborghini libertarians, people who believe Neil Armstrong’s moonwalk was filmed in Roswell, New Mexico, little honkers out to diminish the rest of us, Newt’s evil spawn and their Etch-A-Sketch president, a dull and rigid man suspicious of the free flow of information and of secular institutions, whose philosophy is a jumble of badly sutured body parts trying to walk.


Funny how “kind, humble, rural liberalism” sounds quite a lot like angry, smug, punitive* urban leftism, the type practiced by those who are busy airbrushing Keillor out of Minnesota history. As Dreher writes, “Unpersoning the accused ‘Prairie Home Companion’ host is a totalitarian act.” Similarly, Keillor himself had no problem making unpersons out of anyone whose political views he disagreed with – pretty much, based on the quotes above, half the country — to ally himself with those who smash the statues and stoke the memory hole.

* And don’t get the Hillary and Obama supporting Keillor started on gays raising children.

OOPS, THEY DID IT AGAIN: CNN Botches Major ‘Bombshell’ Alleging Contacts Between Don Jr. And WikiLeaks.

The story, which CNN published on Friday and covered extensively on TV, was touted as the first evidence that the Trump campaign was given a heads-up about documents stolen from Democrats.

But the story appears to have been riddled with errors, while also lacking key context.

Perhaps the most jarring error in the CNN report is the date on which Trump Jr. was sent the email. The network reported that a person named Mike Erickson emailed Trump Jr. and others on the Trump campaign on Sept. 4, 2016, with a link to Wikileaks documents as well as a decryption key to access them.

The email also offered access to emails that had been stolen from former Sec. of State Colin Powell, according to CNN.

But a copy of the email provided to The Daily Caller shows that Erickson sent the email on Sept. 14.

That date is significant because WikiLeaks had released a batch of stolen documents on Sept. 13. The group touted its release of the DNC documents, which were published by Guccifer 2.0.

Read the whole thing, which is yet another enforced error by a major outlet of the Democratic-Media Complex.


GOOD LORD: Arizona Cop Acquitted for Killing Man Crawling Down Hotel Hallway While Begging for His Life.

The incident occurred in January 2016. Daniel Shaver apparently was showing off a pellet gun, and it was visible through the hotel room window. This promped somebody to call to the hotel front desk, which prompted a call to the police.

So it wasn’t unreasonable for police to approach the hotel room thinking the encounter might be dangerous. They knew there was a gun there, and they didn’t know it was a pellet gun. But that video shows some truly baffling decisions by Brailsford that escalated the situation to make it even scarier, not the least of which was that Brailsford’s bluster and open threats of violence made him appear as terrified as Shaver.

The contents of the body camera footage had been described to the public before, when Brailsford was first charged, but the video itself was withheld until this morning.

Forcing Shaver to crawl toward the police like this increased the likelihood that Shaver would lose balance and make wild movements, and Brailsford’s bizarre orders were probably confusing even to a sober person.

Read the whole thing. And the video, I must warn you, is disturbing.

HMM: Obama Appointed Judge Mysteriously Recuses Himself From Michael Flynn Case.

U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras abruptly recused himself Thursday night with no explanation. Contreras is an Obama appointee who also sat on the FISA court while the Trump team was under surveillance by the Obama administration. Judge Emmet Sullivan, an Bill Clinton appointee, was randomly assigned to take over the case after Contreras’ recusal.

Of note, Contreras was appointed to the FISA court on May 19, 2016 – before the warrant to surveil one-time Trump advisor Carter Page was issued “in the summer” of 2016. It is unknown whether or not Contreras was involved in the decision, or whether he was involved in surveillance on Michael Flynn.

In fact every single FISA Court judge was appointed during the Obama administration.

Read the whole thing.

CLAIRE BERLINSKI: The Warlock Hunt: The #MeToo moment has now morphed into a moral panic that poses as much danger to women as it does to men.

Among us, it seems, lives a class of men who call to mind Caligula and Elagabalus not only in their depravity, but in their grotesque sense of impunity. Our debauched emperors, whether enthroned in Hollywood, media front offices, or the halls of Congress, truly imagined their victims had no choice but to shut up, take it, and stay silent forever. Many of these men are so physically disgusting, too—the thought of them forcing themselves on young women fills me with heaving disgust. Enough already.

All true; yet something is troubling me. Recently I saw a friend—a man—pilloried on Facebook for asking if #metoo is going too far. “No,” said his female interlocutors. “Women have endured far too many years of harassment, humiliation, and injustice. We’ll tell you when it’s gone too far.” But I’m part of that “we,” and I say it is going too far. Mass hysteria has set in. It has become a classic moral panic, one that is ultimately as dangerous to women as to men.

If you are reading this, it means I have found an outlet that has not just fired an editor for sexual harassment. This article circulated from publication to publication, like old-fashioned samizdat, and was rejected repeatedly with a sotto voce, “Don’t tell anyone. I agree with you. But no.” Friends have urged me not to publish it under my own name, vividly describing the mob that will tear me from limb to limb and leave the dingoes to pick over my flesh. It says something, doesn’t it, that I’ve been more hesitant to speak about this than I’ve been of getting on the wrong side of the mafia, al-Qaeda, or the Kremlin?

But speak I must. It now takes only one accusation to destroy a man’s life. Just one for him to be tried and sentenced in the court of public opinion, overnight costing him his livelihood and social respectability. We are on a frenzied extrajudicial warlock hunt that does not pause to parse the difference between rape and stupidity. The punishment for sexual harassment is so grave that clearly this crime—like any other serious crime—requires an unambiguous definition. We have nothing of the sort.

Read the whole thing. And here’s a nice note of sanity, in the form of a tweet from Berlinski: “So strange. Everyone likes it. I’d braced myself to hide under the bed, barricade the doors, and tell anyone who called I’d never even heard of this ‘Berlinski’ woman.”

Like most mass hysterias, there’s a critical mass, but not really the totality they’d like you to believe.

RICHARD FERNANDEZ: A Most Remarkable Year.

After a period of sheer disbelief these liberal revolutionaries are now going head to head with the Deplorable rebels. The game’s afoot and nobody can easily call it off.

Which will win has yet to be determined by history. All one can do is compare their present strengths and strategies. In the matter of strength there should be no contest. A survey of federal government employees has the liberals over the Deplorables by almost 19 to 1. Over 99% of Department of Education employees backed Hillary. Trump’s best showing was in the Department of Defense — and even there Hillary had 84% of contributions. Add to this the liberal dominance in the media (93%) and academe (92%) and in Big Silicon, and it should be a case of progressive Goliath walking over conservative David.

Yet for a variety of reasons, the contest is much closer than the liberals could have imagined. Even the term “Resistance” implicitly accepts the status of equality if not actual inferiority. One possible explanation for the surprising competitiveness is the existence of some weakness which prevents liberals from generating their nominal power potential. In fact, the inability of the Resistance to generate net thrust is indirect confirmation that the toxic lying, wasteful spending, institutional incompetence, and ideological madness of which they have been accused are at least partially true.

Though they won’t admit it, they’ve realized this. This quiet acceptance has driven their strategy. The Resistance’s need to rid itself of weakness explains the choice of rectification, also known as purge, as a major activity. Purges have traditionally been used by “progressive” movements to rid themselves of “undesirables.” In 2017 the purge took two forms. The first was directed against the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party, and the second became a vigorous, almost hysterical campaign against sexual predators in liberal ranks. The need to clear the decks was so great that even liberal politicians like Al Franken and John Conyers find themselves reclassified as expendable.

Read the whole thing.

TECH WARS: Inside Oracle’s cloak-and-dagger political war with Google.

The story that appeared in Quartz this November seemed shocking enough on its own: Google had quietly tracked the location of its Android users, even those who had turned off such monitoring on their smartphones.

But missing from the news site’s report was another eyebrow-raising detail: Some of its evidence, while accurate, appears to have been furnished by one of Google’s fiercest foes: Oracle.

For the past year, the software and cloud computing giant has mounted a cloak-and-dagger, take-no-prisoners lobbying campaign against Google, perhaps hoping to cause the company intense political and financial pain at a time when the two tech giants are also warring in federal court over allegations of stolen computer code.

Since 2010, Oracle has accused Google of copying Java and using key portions of it in the making of Android. Google, for its part, has fought those claims vigorously. More recently, though, their standoff has intensified. And as a sign of the worsening rift between them, this summer Oracle tried to sell reporters on a story about the privacy pitfalls of Android, two sources confirmed to Recode.

To be sure, the substance of Quartz’s story — Google’s errant location tracking — checks out. Google itself acknowledged the mishap and said it ceased the practice. Nor does Oracle stand alone in raising red flags about Google at a time when many in the nation’s capital are questioning the power and reach of large web platforms.

Still, Oracle’s campaign is undeniable.

A fascinating tale of corporate skullduggery — read the whole thing.

DA TECH GUY: Waking up to a layoff phone call at Christmastime.

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): Peter Ingemi (DaTechGuy) is good people. Help him out if you can.

CHANGE: The Rebirth of America’s Pro-Natalist Movement: Activists on the right and left want policies that will reverse the country’s baby bust. But the broader culture—and Congress—don’t seem to care.

America needs more babies.

That’s what policymakers seem to have decided, from the White House to Capitol Hill. Congress spent November considering the Child Tax Credit, a measure that reduces the federal income taxes owed by families with kids. The Senate and the House both voted to raise the credit in their recent tax bills, which will soon be reconciled. Meanwhile, two Democratic senators, Michael Bennet and Sherrod Brown, proposed their own version of an increase. And led by Ivanka Trump, the Trump administration has been softly pushing a child-care tax deduction and federal paid-maternity-leave program.

These programs have been sold as ways to support struggling middle-class families, but they also address another issue: declining birth rates. Government data suggests the U.S. has experienced drops in fertility across multiple measures in recent years. Even Hispanic Americans, who have had high fertility rates compared to other ethnic groups in recent decades, are starting to have fewer babies. Lyman Stone, an economist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture who blogs about fertility in his spare time, called this year’s downward fertility trend “the great baby bust of 2017.”

These are the seeds of a nascent pro-natalist movement, a revived push to organize American public policy around childbearing. While putatively pro-family or pro-child policymaking has a long history in the U.S., the latest push has a new face. It’s more Gen X than Baby Boom. It’s pro-working mom. And it upends typical left-right political valences: Measures like the Child Tax Credit find surprising bipartisan support in Congress. Over the last year or so, the window of possibility for pro-natalist policies has widened.

Read the whole thing. I’m beginning to think it was a mistake to listen to Paul Ehrlich.

MIDEAST: Saudi Arabia’s Earth-Shaking Coup.

How extraordinary to see a world-historical revolution unfolding before one’s eyes and not know how it will turn out: that’s what’s happening right now in Saudi Arabia. Mohammad bin Salman, a 32-year-old too young to be a partner in most law or finance firms, has managed, by intrigue not yet fully disclosed, to supplant his cousin Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef as heir to the throne and to carry out a purge of the royal family breathtaking in its sweep. Imagine: not only did bin Salman order the arrest of at least ten other princes and a score of former government ministers, now held in luxurious restraint in Riyadh’s Ritz Carlton; he also supposedly had Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, one of the world’s richest men and a major shareholder of 21st Century Fox, Citigroup, Apple, Twitter, and a host of other giant Western corporations, hanged upside down and beaten in an “anti-corruption” investigation.

No matter that “wasta”—corruption, kickbacks, and cronyism—has long governed Saudi Arabian business dealings. Now, the kingdom’s economic crown jewel—Aramco, the Saudi state oil company—is headed for sale on the public stock markets, and the financial future of the kingdom and its oligarchs is on the line. Sadly for the Saudis, Aramco is no longer as valuable, economically and geopolitically, as it once was. Natural gas from fracking has displaced oil as the fuel of the Western economy, with the result that OPEC (and, less critically, Russian oil) can no longer hold anybody’s economy hostage. For the Saudi government, moreover, no longer can cartel-inflated oil revenues pay for the gigantic welfare state that supports so much of the population in non–working, gilded, state dependency. What can’t go on, won’t, said economist Herb Stein sagely; and MbS, as the new crown prince is called, saw this reality and stepped in to take precautionary measures before a rapidly collapsing economic order sparked social anarchy, with an outcome no government could foresee or control.

Read the whole thing.

Bin Salman faces serious headwinds — violent Wahhabi hardliners, frustrated members of his own ruling clan, and of course the ticking time bomb effect of low oil prices on his country’s finances.


Believe in truth. To abandon facts is to abandon freedom.

Unless they are inconvenient facts that can be cast as irrelevancies, overshadowed by whatever fierce moral urgency now characterizes the issues. If one says “men cannot have babies, and do not menstruate” on Twitter you will set upon with great fury; what may seem to you to be factual, based on biology, is regarded by some as a misconstructed understanding of a larger issue, gender, which is not subject to the same set of empirical rules.

Many people who share your view will not defend you, because they do not want to be characterized as — phobes — another piece of linguistic violence, by the way; it turns a difference of opinion into a mental illness.

If nothing is true, then no one can criticize power, because there is no basis upon which to do so.

Question: was the deconstruction of Western modes of thinking a project of leftist intellectuals, or conservative ones? Who thought that “truth” was a figleaf for entrenched, reactionary authority?

Would you like to make the argument that Derida et al were classical liberals?

Read the whole thing.

JEFF DUNETZ: Six Facts The MSM Isn’t Reporting About The Jerusalem Issue.

Here are probably the two most important:

Jerusalem has been part of Israel since 1948. The Arab Nations aren’t objecting to Israel’s presence in the part of Jerusalem controlled since June 1967, they are objecting to any Israeli presence in Jerusalem, even the section agreed to as part of the 1949 Israeli/Jordan armistice. Because of the rejectionism by Israel’s neighbors, the United States has recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Under Arab rule holy sites were not protected. Only since 1967 when Israel took control of all of Jerusalem have the holy sites in the eastern part of the city been protected and open to all faiths. Between 1949 and 1967 the Jordanians breached their commitment (in the Armistice Agreement) to allow free access of Jews to the holy sites, mainly to the Western Wall and to the cemetery on the Mount of Olives. They also desecrated the Jewish holy sites.

Read the whole thing.

I’d just add that the Jewish State has been a boon to the local ecology, recreating a fertile land out of a Promised Land which had been badly stewarded for nearly two millennia.

THE GODFATHER AT 45: Why It Endures.

If The Godfather (1972) had come out a decade earlier than it actually did, audiences would have resisted it. You can imagine viewers asking: How are we supposed to get wrapped up in the internal disputes of this band of amoral brigands and murderers? Who is the good guy here? Doesn’t the film celebrate evil, or at least condone it? Why is Michael Corleone’s depravity rewarded instead of punished at the end?

* * * * * * * *

By 1972, the sense that America was not necessarily being run on the square had serious traction. The Pentagon Papers had been published the year before. Vietnam seemed to be rife with dishonor. At one point, Kay says that, unlike Vito Corleone, “Senators and presidents don’t have men killed.” It’s a view nearly everyone shared in 1962, but by 1972 the audience’s sympathies were with Michael, who responds that Kay is being naïve.

Read the whole thing.

STACY McCAIN: How Joy Reid’s Homophobic History Illustrates Vox Day’s Third Law of SJWs.

Read the whole thing.

MICHAEL LEDEEN ON MICHAEL FLYNN: “While working with General Michael Flynn on The Field of Fight, I interviewed many of his former colleagues in order to better understand my co-author. Virtually all of them described a man who cared deeply about the truth and presented it in circumstances that were certainly not favorable to him. These people portrayed General Flynn as a compulsive truth-teller. So why has he now confessed to making false statements to the FBI?”

Read the whole thing.

AND RIGHTLY SO: Ban on speech ‘about a person’ that negligently causes ‘significant mental suffering, anxiety or alarm’ struck down.

Illinois “stalking” and “cyber-stalking” statutes criminalize (among other things),

“knowingly engag[ing] in [2 more or acts] directed at a specific person,”
including “communicat[ing] to or about” a person,
when the communicator “knows or should know that this course of conduct would cause a reasonable person to”
“suffer emotional distress,” defined as “significant mental suffering, anxiety or alarm.”

The statute expressly excludes, among other things, “an exercise of the right to free speech or assembly that is otherwise lawful.”

This morning, the Illinois Supreme Court struck down these provisions (which it referred to as “subsection (a)”), in People v. Releford. (I should note that my students Brandon Amash, Sarah Burns and Emily Michael, and I — with the invaluable help of pro bono local counsel Steven W. Becker — filed an amicus brief on behalf of the Cato Institute and the Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project supporting this result.)

Read the whole thing.

BYRON YORK: In Trump-Russia probe, was it all about the Logan Act?

There’s too much meat here to give you a proper excerpt, so instead I’ll just urge you to Read the Whole Thing™.

TOO MANY LAWYERS: USNI: Can’t Kill Enough to Win? Think Again.

When is the United States going to do the killing necessary to beat its terrorist enemies or eliminate them entirely?

Those given the awful task of combat must be able to act with the necessary savagery and purposefulness to destroy those acting as, or in direct support of, Islamic terrorists worldwide. In 2008, then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Navy Admiral Michael Mullen said, “We can’t kill our way to victory.” Ever since, many have parroted his words. But what if Admiral Mullen was wrong? The United States has been at war with radical Islamists four times longer than it was with Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in World War II. And those previous enemies were far more competent and aggressive than the terrorists. It is time to kill a lot more of them.

Too many commanders and their “operational law” judge advocates have neutered U.S. military forces with far too restrictive rules of engagement and investigations. 1 One Army infantry battalion commander reported that during a 15-month command tour in Iraq, he had to endure 600 AR 15-6 investigations (equivalent to a Navy JAG manual investigation), most of which examined the use of force by his troops. When asked when he had time to command, he answered, “Exactly.”

Human behavior has not changed much in recorded history. Neither have the basic tenets of war. It takes killing with speed and sustained effect to win wars. The notions that the U.S. military can win with “precision strikes” or “winning hearts and minds” are fantasy. Even the great victory in Operation Desert Storm was a bloody killing field. Just ask the remnants of the Tawakalna Division of the Iraqi Army.

Read the whole thing.

GIMME SHELTER: Michael Walsh on the verdict in the Kate Steinle case.

In other words, the verdict had little or nothing to do with the victim or the defendant; rather, it was a thumb in the eye of the Trump administration, which has since its inception opposed the concept of “sanctuary” jurisdictions as part of its efforts to end illegal immigration…”Sanctuary” from what? Sanctuary from the laws of the United States.

Read the whole thing.

SARAH HOYT: Publishing in Cloud-CooCoo Land.

Read the whole thing.


268 settlements?  Does anyone know what they were? Who paid that $17.2 million and on whose behalf?  Don’t we have a right to know how it was spent, er, how we taxpayers were fleeced by our representatives? Apparently not.  At least tell who the harassers are who got a free ride.

Read the whole thing.


As the co-host of NBC’s “Today,” Matt Lauer once gave a colleague a sex toy as a present. It included an explicit note about how he wanted to use it on her, which left her mortified.

On another day, he summoned a different female employee to his office, and then dropped his pants, showing her his penis. After the employee declined to do anything, visibly shaken, he reprimanded her for not engaging in a sexual act.

He would sometimes quiz female producers about who they’d slept with, offering to trade names. And he loved to engage in a crass quiz game with men and women in the office: “fuck, marry or kill,” in which he would identify the female co-hosts that he’d most like to sleep with.

These accounts of Lauer’s behavior at NBC are the result of a two-month investigation by Variety, with dozens of interviews with current and former staffers. Variety has talked to three women who identified themselves as victims of sexual harassment by Lauer, and their stories have been corroborated by friends or colleagues that they told at the time. They have asked for now to remain unnamed, fearing professional repercussions.

On Wednesday, NBC announced that Lauer was fired from “Today.” It was a stunning move for a co-host who was widely considered the crown jewel of the network’s news division, with a $25 million annual salary.

I’d add the standard “read the whole thing” ending, but we’ve read this article so many times in the past couple of months each new one feels like boilerplate. However, a related piece is well worth your time — Jonah Goldberg on “Matt Lauer, Fox News, and How Tribalism Affects the Press:”

When the allegations about Bill O’Reilly and Roger Ailes came out, the mainstream media had a field day. But there was no larger feeding frenzy. Last year it was a “Fox News” story, not a “societal problem” story. It took the Harvey Weinstein allegations to get the mainstream press to start asking uncomfortable questions about its own institutions. I can think of several reasons for this, but one that stands out is the tribalism of media itself.

Read the whole thing for its look at elites on both sides of the aisle, particularly if these poll numbers remain accurate:


Here’s the story:

A government watchdog who played a central role in the Hillary Clinton email investigation during the Obama administration told Fox News that he, his family and his staffers faced an intense backlash at the time from Clinton allies – and that the campaign even put out word that it planned to fire him if the Democratic presidential nominee won the 2016 election.

“There was personal blowback. Personal blowback to me, to my family, to my office,” former Intelligence Community Inspector General Charles McCullough III said.

The Obama appointee discussed his role in the Clinton email probe for the first time on television, during an exclusive interview with Fox News aired on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” McCullough – who came to the inspector general position with more than two decades of experience at the FBI, Treasury and intelligence community – shed light on how quickly the probe was politicized and his office was marginalized by Democrats.

Read the whole thing.


We live in an age in which things are no longer what they are supposed to be. Words have come to denote the opposite of what they signify. Cultural institutions on which we rely to serve our personal and national interests have morphed into caricatures of their original intentions, working against their foundational purposes.

Linguistic and institutional inversion is the time-dishonored strategy of totalitarian systems and is generally associated with the theory and practice of the Left, which has infiltrated the culture and polity of the free world, particularly in the areas of language use, the media, education, the arts and gender relations. The democratic West is now at the mercy of its own reverse polarity.

Read the whole thing.

WESTERN AUTHORITIES ANTICIPATE CHRISTMAS MARKET TERROR ATTACKS: And as Patrick Poole notes, “gift-wrapping traffic bollards and painting concrete barriers to look like Legos barely conceal the new grim reality.”

Read the whole thing.

AMY PEIKOFF: The Supreme Court’s Opportunity to Legalize Privacy.

Enduring, reliable protection for the data we share with third parties must come from the Fourth Amendment. This is precisely the opportunity presented by Carpenter v. United States, soon to be heard by The Supreme Court.

Carpenter concerns the application of the third-party doctrine to Cell Site Location Information (CSLI) collected by service providers. Petitioner Carpenter argues that, unlike other data shared with a third party, longer-term cell phone location data (here collected for 127 days) is something in which one has a “reasonable expectation of privacy.” (“Reasonable expectation of privacy” is the standard the Court uses to determine whether a search has occurred within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment.) Accordingly, Carpenter argues that the third-party doctrine should apply neither to longer-term cell phone location data, nor to similarly sensitive data: “There is no basis in [the Supreme] Court’s jurisprudence for extending Smith and Miller [cases extending the third-party doctrine to ‘ordinary business records’] to CSLI, both because the information is more sensitive, and because it is not voluntarily shared with a third party in any meaningful way.”

Once you extend the scope of the third-party doctrine to “ordinary business records,” how do you draw even a semi-bright line, particularly one for which there is a principled rationale? How long is the “long-term” over which one’s data is collected, before one’s expectation of privacy becomes “reasonable”? Why shouldn’t digital information be subsumed if analog is? How sensitive is sensitive? And so on.

The Court should overturn Smith and Miller, and return the third-party doctrine to its original scope: sharing information with government agents in the course of criminal activity.

Read the whole thing.

KURT SCHLICHTER: Dating Tips For Prominent Democrats.

We’ve learned so much about what women face in the last few weeks, and you liberal men should take this as an opportunity to change – specifically, out of your flapping bathrobes and into some Dockers. Groping, flashing, molesting shrubs – believe it or not, some women consider these things to be wrong. Crazy? Sure, but for now it’s no more monkey business as usual. As a noted Democrat, you need to maintain your political viability, and you can exploit the respect and concern for women you’ve always pretended to have to help you dodge responsibility for whatever you’ve already done!

Hey, nobody gets into liberal politics because they actually believe this stuff! Being a Democrat leader has always been a traditional path to making special new friends for guys who can’t cut it on looks and personality. Face it – no one ever said, “You know who’s hot? Al Franken. I bet he can bench his body weight.” If Harvey Weinstein had managed a Safeway, America’s starlets and ferns would be substantially less traumatized.

Read the whole thing, but don’t be drinking anything you don’t want all over your keyboard.

JOEL KOTKIN: Radicalism Is On the Rise in American Politics.

Only one thing can save the Republicans from themselves: the Democrats. Although they have shown remarkable unity as part of the anti-Trump resistance, the Democrats themselves suffer deep-seated divisions. Most critically they are moving left at a time when more voters seek something more in the middle. Certainly this progressive tilt has done little to reverse their own declining popularity; public approval of the party has sunk to the lowest levels in a quarter century.

“Who the goods wish to destroy, they first drive mad.” Today this old Greek adage seems particularly applicable to the Democrats. In the past the party produced leaders, and endorsed positions, that appealed across a broad swath of the population. With the Republicans forced to defend Trump, and ally with the marginalized far-right, a more centrist approach seems almost guaranteed to create success, as we saw recently in the Virginia elections.

But, sadly, the much heralded “resistance” to Trump has radicalized the party’s grassroots, giving enhanced power to militant groups like Black Lives Matter, as well as the most extreme green and gender fundamentalists. Clustered increasingly in large urban centers, Democrats are moving more quickly to progressive extremes than the GOP is shifting to the right; the percentage of Democratic voters tilting left since 1994 has grown from 30 percent to 73 percent. Moderates in the party, argues Wall Street investor Steven Ratner, face a “freight train coming at us from the left.”

The centrist approach used in Virginia should show the way, and succeeded largely by winning moderate voters from the affluent D.C. suburbs. But in California or New York rank and file, suburban Democrats have little voice against the organized and strident habitués of the core cities. The various cultural imperatives of the media, the universities, the progressive non-profit and well-funded community groups wash out all other voices.

Yep. But read the whole thing.


Read the whole thing.™

CHARLES MANSON AND THE WEATHER UNDERGROUND: Let’s not forget Bernardine Dohrn, Bill Ayers, and the Four-Finger Salute.

Read the whole thing.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: “One of the rituals of Thanksgiving weekend is heading out to see a movie. And so, with that in mind, let me do you a mitzvah: Do not see Justice League. Under any circumstances do not go to see Justice League.”

Read the whole thing.

HISTORY: The First Thanksgiving Was Nothing Like What You Were Taught.

Among the most compelling historical accounts of that world comes from Charles Mann’s intriguing 2005 book, “1491,” a revisionist history of the pre-Columbian Americas that renders our storybook conception of the first Thanksgiving obsolete and, by comparison, rather boring. The truth is, the Pilgrims were able to survive and establish their colony because they were drawn into the political machinations of Massasoit, a shrewd and calculating Indian leader who was trying to figure out how to save his people from apocalypse.

The Indians Drew The Pilgrims Into a Political Alliance
Massasoit was the sachem, or political and military leader, of the Wampanoag confederation, a loose combination of villages in southeastern Massachusetts. About five years before the Pilgrims arrived, Massasoit’s people had been decimated by diseases brought by earlier European traders. Entire villages had been depopulated—including a Patuxet village that the newly arrived Pilgrims settled into and named New Plymouth.

As Mann explains, Massasoit was in a bind. The epidemic that had hit the Wampanoag hadn’t touched their longtime enemies to the west, the Narragansett. Massasoit feared his weakened people would be overrun, so he decided to gamble and let the Pilgrims stay. European traders had been visiting New England for at least a century, but Indian leaders always forbid them from establishing permanent settlements. The relationship was strictly transactional. Far from seeing the Europeans as superior, writes Mann, the Indians had good reason to take advantage of these strange newcomers.

Fascinating stuff — read the whole thing.

MARC THIESSEN IN THE WAPO: This Thanksgiving I’m Grateful Hillary Clinton Isn’t President: Read the whole thing.

MONSTER FROM THE ID: In “Charles Manson’s Race War Fever-Dream,” Henry Allen of the Weekly Standard is “Remembering what it was like when Southern California went mad.”

There’s a banality here: The agent could have been anyone, when you consider that Manson was a 5-feet-2, semi-literate jail-raped punk still dreaming of becoming a rock star in his mid-30s in a city where, as Dionne Warwick sang in 1968:

All the stars that never were

Are parking cars and pumping gas.

Manson had the knack of appealing to Hollywood celebrities. Back then, madness seemed like a kind of super-truth and so he bore an air of prophecy. Imagine his bitterness when they did his music career no good at all. He turned to the ultimate banality of the age: revolution. Manson took “Helter Skelter” and other Beatles songs as the foretelling of a race war soon to come. He predicted that the blacks would kill all the whites, then find they were unable to govern themselves.

Manson and his “Family” would arise from hideouts in Death Valley and take power. All he had to do was get the race war started.

He ordered his followers to go on a killing spree, leaving fake clues that the killers were black militants. The most famous of their victims was the impossibly beautiful Sharon Tate, eight-months pregnant and the wife of Roman Polanski (living now in Europe to avoid charges of raping and sodomizing a 13-year-old in Los Angeles).

In that summer of 1969, there was the vast but momentary promise of Woodstock, a music festival, all peace and love. Joni Mitchell compared it to Eden.

We are stardust

We are golden

And we’ve got to get ourselves

Back to the Garden.

The bible was The Whole Earth Catalog, which preached the odd combination of communes and rugged individualism. Its opening line and motto was “We are as gods and might as well get good at it.” Did the editor, Stewart Brand, hear the echo of the serpent tempting Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit? Ye shall be as gods.

Read the whole thing — as William F. Buckley liked to say, quoting political philosopher Eric Voegelin, “Don’t immanentize the eschaton.”

(Classical reference in headline.)

MANSON AND THE TOTALITARIAN TEMPTATION: “The potential for entire social movements to end up sympathizing with visibly pathological murderers with swastikas carved in their foreheads is a persistent potential. All you have to do is let down, for a brief moment, your simplest sense of right and wrong, perhaps because you pride yourself on being upset about some social issue….”

Read the whole thing.

SPENGLER: Angela Merkel’s Feet of Clay.

A great deal of the present problem is the result of Merkel’s incompetence. Nearly 300,000 Bulgarians and Romanians entered Britain in 2015 right after their countries joined the European Community. That explains a great deal of the Brexit vote. The Germans suffer from a massive labor shortage, especially in the construction industry, and the Eastern Europeans might have helped. The Germans would not have objected to European immigrants who can assimilate into their society as much as they do to Muslims who cannot. The European Community’s blanket policy of free migration among its members makes it extremely difficult to manage immigration even when it might be beneficial rather than burdensome.

Now Germany is split between ordinary citizens who want to hold on to some notion of German-ness, even if they are not quite sure what that means, and those who want to liquidate German culture as a remedy for war guilt. A natural conservative majority exists in theory, but does not exist in practice because no German party can articulate a coherent, let alone an acceptable, message of German particularism.

Read the whole thing.

YES: Want Widespread Prosperity? Radically Lower Costs.

The New Deal was based on the notion that the solution to poverty was to make everything more expensive. Obamanomics was a smaller-scale implementation of the same flawed thinking. Neither approach did much good for the working families their authors purported to be helping.

Anyway, do read the whole thing.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Social Media as Social Disease:

I’ve been reading James C. Scott’s Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States, and one of the interesting aspects to the earliest civilizations is how fragile they were. A bunch of people and their animals would crowd together in a city, and diseases that weren’t much of a threat when everybody was spread out hunting and gathering would suddenly spread like wildfire and depopulate the town almost overnight.

As Scott writes, an early city was more like a refugee resettlement camp than a modern urban area. He observes that “the pioneers who created this historically novel ecology could not possibly have known the disease vectors they were inadvertently unleashing.”

Then I ran across this observation on Twitter: “The Internet is rewiring brains and social relations. Could it be producing a civilizational nervous breakdown?” And I saw another article noting that depression in teens skyrocketed between 2010 and 2015, as smartphones took over. It made me wonder if we’re in the same boat as the neolithic cities, only for what you might call viruses of the mind: Toxic ideas that spread like wildfire.

Read the whole thing, of course.

MYTHEOS HOLT: Silicon Valley’s ‘Terms of Service’ Hypocrisy.

Whenever a new abuse of tech’s power comes down the pike, such as locking users out of their private documents because those documents include “offensive” language, or shutting users out of their emails, or conspiring to block apps that favor free speech from their online stores, or targeting users of a disfavored political persuasion for bans, the justification given is always that the terms of service require it. Never mind whether those terms of service are fair or consistent with American legal principles.

So, it seems only fair to ask, do these same companies follow the rules they set for themselves? In at least one case, the answer is clearly “no.”

According to a report last week from a Los Angeles local CBS affiliate, the home-sharing giant Airbnb has permitted convicted felons to rent out homes using its service. There’s just one problem — Airbnb claims to do a background check on all its hosts to ensure this sort of thing doesn’t happen. And yet, one of the hosts implicated by the CBS report had this to say when asked if Airbnb was aware of his criminal history:

“I don’t think they even asked.”

It gets worse from there.

Read the whole thing.

HELL IS TOO GOOD FOR HIM: Multiple sources reporting Charles Manson dead at age 83.

Related: Charles Manson, a Villain in Life & Death, Praised as a Counterculture Hero in 1969, Dead at 83:

The charismatic Bernardine Dohrn, later a friend of Barack and Michelle Obama, feverishly told Weatherman followers: “Dig it: first they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them, then they even shoved a fork into the victim’s stomach. Wild!”

When I asked Weatherman Mark Rudd why his otherwise intelligent friends paid homage to Manson, he told me: “We wanted to be bad.”

Like Dohrn, Rolling Stone later went on to enjoy mainstream respectability despite publishing bizarre views on one of the twentieth century’s most notorious serial killers. Whereas Manson looked every bit the madman on the cover of Life, he appeared as a visionary on the front page of Rolling Stone. Therein, the magazine depicted Manson’s refusal to offer an insanity plea as a principled stand and characterized his criticism of the legal system as “obviously accurate in many ways.” In calling him Charlie, a first-name-basis intimacy later reserved for Madonna, Prince, Bruce, and other singing celebrities, the magazine actively sought to humanize the man who dehumanized so many.

In Sticky Fingers, his recent (and well-written) biography of Jann Wenner, Rolling Stone’s founder and publisher, author Joe Hagan wrote:

As the 1960s kept ending, the next installment was the arrest of Charles Manson and four of his followers for the horrific murder of five people, including actress Sharon Tate, wife of Roman Polanski, at a luxury mansion north of Beverly Hills. When Manson’s trial began in 1970, Wenner [who would then have been about age 24–Ed] leaped at the story with an idea for the headline: “Charles Manson Is Innocent!”

Wenner’s headline was less insane than it sounds to modern ears. Manson was already an object of media obsession, a former Haight-Ashbury denizen who drifted to L.A. and collected hippie acolytes for LSD orgies and quasi-biblical prophecies. While the straight world viewed him as a monster, much of Wenner’s audience saw him, at least hypothetically, as one of their own. The underground press of Los Angeles, including the Free Press, cast him as the victim of a hippie-hating media. Manson was a rock-and-roll hanger-on. Wenner was convinced of Manson’s innocence by his own writer David Dalton, who had lived for a time with Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys, a Manson believer. “I’d go out driving in the desert with Dennis, and he’d say things to me like ‘Charlie’s really cosmic, man.’ ”

* * * * * * * *

Meanwhile, a lawyer in the DA’s office, believing he was doing a favor for a friend of [David] Felton’s at the Los Angeles Times and that this hippie rag from San Francisco was a benign nonentity, brought Felton [then-recently hired away from the L.A. Times by Wenner] and Dalton into the office to show them the crime scene photos of the butchered bodies of Manson victims — including a man with the word war etched in his stomach with a fork. Dalton blanched when he saw the words “Healter [sic] Skelter” painted in blood on a refrigerator, instantly recalling what Dennis Wilson told him about the coded instructions Manson heard in the Beatles songs. “It must have been the most horrifying moment of my life,” said Dalton. “It was the end of the whole hippie culture.” Jann Wenner changed the headline.

Rolling Stone’s infamous 2013 radical chic hot take on Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev looking totally cool and dreamy on their cover has its roots in the magazine’s founding days.

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: Undoing the Dis-Education of Millennials.

I teach in a law school. For several years now my students have been mostly Millennials. Contrary to stereotype, I have found that the vast majority of them want to learn. But true to stereotype, I increasingly find that most of them cannot think, don’t know very much, and are enslaved to their appetites and feelings. Their minds are held hostage in a prison fashioned by elite culture and their undergraduate professors.

They cannot learn until their minds are freed from that prison. This year in my Foundations of Law course for first-year law students, I found my students especially impervious to the ancient wisdom of foundational texts, such as Plato’s Crito and the Code of Hammurabi. Many of them were quick to dismiss unfamiliar ideas as “classist” and “racist,” and thus unable to engage with those ideas on the merits. So, a couple of weeks into the semester, I decided to lay down some ground rules. I gave them these rules just before beginning our annual unit on legal reasoning.

Here is the speech I gave them.

Read the whole thing.

(Via Maggie’s Farm.)


This is not the stuff of #metoo. I believe I had recovered from the trauma of that particular encounter by the time I exited the building. Still, as Hollywood’s hunt for celebrity-predators intensifies, I’ve been reflecting back on my own experiences of aggressively libertine environments. It remains to be seen how far the present round of scandals will spread, but this much is clear: Inappropriate sexual behavior is widespread in the entertainment industry, and in some cases has provided camouflage for serious crimes. If you’re accustomed to thinking of Hollywood as a cesspool of sin and vice, you may not find this surprising. Many were surprised, though. Progressives assume that their own mores protect and affirm women while the traditionalists objectify and repress. It’s worth thinking through the logic of a libertine environment, to see how mistaken this reasoning may be.

Over my two years in the Peace Corps, I would get many more openings for that cinematic slap. It’s the only place I’ve ever worked where one steps up to a conference check-in desk expecting to receive a room key, welcome folder, and bag of condoms. There was, to be sure, a method to this madness. For the most part, the Peace Corps was a magnet for educated, unwed twenty-somethings with broadly left-leaning views. Our Washingtonian handlers wanted us to spread goodwill abroad, but in an Islamic society, a recent-college-graduate approach to the bodily appetites was likelier to spread resentment and venereal disease. Thus, an implicit compromise was struck. We were not technically forbidden to have sex with locals, but we were urged to be “culturally sensitive” at our assigned work sites. Then, periodically, we were summoned to conferences at health sanatoriums deep in the mountains, where we were issued condoms and left largely to ourselves for a couple of days. Some Volunteers started referring to these scheduled get-togethers as “shore leave.”

Read the whole thing.

NEO-NEOCON: On unverifiable sexual allegations about political figures.

Why do I call such accusations of sexual misconduct “unverifiable”? Because ordinarily there’s no evidence whatsoever except the accuser’s words. Usually the closest we come to getting evidence is the unsealed divorce record (which usually merely contains the allegations of the accuser) or a settlement by a business (which is not an admission of guilt or even of a good case). But it’s not at all unusual to have no evidence at all, except that of proximity and opportunity (and sometimes not even that).

It’s quite different with incidents such as Trump’s “pussy” remarks, or Weiner’s penile emails, or anything with real evidence or physical evidence or documentary evidence rather than the unsubstantiated word of the accuser. In contrast, the unverifiable stories rest mostly on our evaluation of the veracity of the person making the allegations and whether their accusations are “believable” or “credible” based on what we know of the person being accused. In the case of Mitt Romney, for example, there were plenty of allegations but no sexual ones, and if there had been I doubt they would have gotten much traction (although in the current climate, they might have).

The accuser is generally someone we’ve never heard of before. How can people decide if that person can be trusted to tell the truth? Well, some listeners (way too many, actually), use the rule: “if the accused person is in my party, then the accuser is lying; if the accused person is in the opposition party, then the accuser is telling the truth.” Other observers try to look deep into the accuser’s eyes and decide if he or she (it’s ordinarily a “she” accusing a “he”) is telling the truth or is lying. In the law business, that’s called evaluating “demeanor,” and it’s always something that juries must take into account when a witness testifies.

Read the whole thing.

FEMALE PRIVILEGE: Fired Assistant DA Jody Warner Accuses Uber Driver of Scaring Her. Oh, Please.

The way the news is these days: In the middle of a storm of disgusting national stories about male sexual predators, we get our own local countercase — a fired Dallas County assistant district attorney, sobbing on camera, offering every conceivable excuse in the book for her terrible behavior with a young Uber driver.

District Attorney Faith Johnson fired Jody Warner, 32, an experienced assistant prosecutor, on Monday after Johnson reviewed an audio recording of Warner drunkenly threatening and abusing 26-year-old Uber driver Shaun Platt over the weekend. . . .

Through tears and much wiping of the nose, Warner made a completely off-the-wall gratuitous suggestion that Platt, the driver, was some kind of sexual predator and that’s why she got upset. That would have been like Trump saying he had to grab women there in order to proactively protect himself from personal violation.

“Oh my God, you’re an idiot. You are a legitimate retard,” Warner told Platt on a recording he made after he called the cops because she refused to haul her drunken self out his car. “We can hang out. I’m not scared,” she says.

Plus, get this: Warner, an experienced prosecutor of crimes, cried all the way through her press conference, but she also brought along Elizabeth Frizell, an ex-judge who will oppose Faith Johnson in the next election. So this was like a crying, confessional, tragic campaign event.

At the press conference, the candidate, Frizell, also piled on with the lurid sexual innuendos. The Dallas Morning News quotes Frizell as saying, “When you have a prosecutor who has tried sex assault cases for almost a decade, you know the signs. Her concern was heightened.”

No, her drunk-ass horrible behavior was heightened. She is on the audio recording telling Platt, “You’re so stupid I want the cops to come so they can fuck you up.”

He is on the recording he made saying “I am asking you politely to please …”

But she cuts him off: “Now I’m pissed the fuck off.”

See. This is why younger men are afraid to come forward when powerful women abuse them. Powerful women don’t know how to swear. . . .

But I do know this: A man in your position would not get away with your behavior at the press conference. He would not be able to stand in front of the cameras, wipe away tears and make all kinds of simpering little-boy-lost sexual suggestions about the woman he had just drunkenly and verbally abused on tape.

You abused your office that night, and it got way worse later when you did your press conference after you got canned. You exploited your status as a woman in a way that I suspect was cynical and calculated.

Read the whole thing.

SURVEILLANCE STATE, JUNIOR EDITION: These 3 Student Data Bills Could Ruin Your Kid’s Life.

Sadly, states have had only varying degrees of success stopping some of the unbelievable amounts of data being collected on public school students. When I say “unbelievable amounts,” I have actual screen shots from the National Center for Education Statistics’ “National Education Data Model” (no longer online, incidentally), which provided model data points to be collected from students for very important educational information like “routine health care procedure required at school,” “number of teeth,” “orthodontic appliances,” “voting status,” “religious affiliation” (these two being big no-no’s in the world of data collection), “weeks of gestation,” and “weight at birth.”

The Common Education Data Standards, a one-stop A-Z data collecting shop where anyone can see the possible data collection titles populating public school SLDS, are still online. Here, a cursory search of the letter “I” will return 133 main records, from “IDEA Disability Type” through “Itinerant Teacher.”

I was most interested in the category of “Incident Behavior.” Here one can find 30 different sub-category data tags for school officials to use in describing any number of ways students can misbehave on campus, including “Sexual Harassment,” “Obscene Behavior,” and “Threat/Intimidation.” Thank goodness the government has spent so many taxpayer dollars finding ways to label accused students with subjective and often juvenile behaviors that will follow them throughout their academic careers—and, thanks to some new bills in play, especially, possibly their adult lives.

Read the whole thing.


Query: why does Max say that the wisdom of America’s voters was “dubious”? For the same reason that Bill Kristol, to take another prominent NeverTrumper, is organizing a Committee Not To Renominate the President. Bill wants to liberate “conservatism from Trumpism.”

But what is the “Trumpism” from which he wishes to liberate us conservatives? Max Boot, Bret Stephens, and other anti-Trump pundits have told us repeatedly that Donald Trump is a “fascist.” What can that mean? They have read their George Orwell. They know as well as anyone that “fascist” in the context of modern American society is simply a term of abuse, a negative epithet impatient people apply to things and people they do not like. In this respect, “fascist” is a lot like “racist” when deployed on college campuses these days.

Donald Trump’s real tort, I believe, was to have somehow gotten himself elected despite the objections and without the permission of people like Max Boot. . . .

While you are waiting for evidence of these claims, Max wants you to know that he thinks “Trump has been utterly incompetent. Even if he wants to achieve more of his agenda, he doesn’t know how to do it.” He is, you see, “ignorant, petulant, unethical, avaricious, conspiratorial, nasty, shameless, bullying, egomaniacal.”

Quite a litany. But what this really means, I think, is that while Donald Trump’s election was supposed to be impossible, it is still utterly unacceptable. The fantasy of “Trumpism” is an expression of that state of affairs. Even before Trump was elected, some academic historians, fired by nostalgia for the radicals of the 1960s and their protests against the Vietnam War, created a group called “Historians Against Trump” to protest the “dangerous ideology of Trumpism.” “The lessons of history,” they intoned, “compel us to speak out against a movement rooted in fear and authoritarianism.”

Where is the fear? Where the authoritarianism?

I believe that one of the great embarrassments confronting the persistent anti- or NeverTrumpers has been, pace Max Boot, the utter failure of their fantasies about Donald Trump to materialize. He was supposed to be a horrible, xenophobic, racist, militaristic cad, but how has he actually governed?

I have several times, in this space and elsewhere, provided periodic reality checks comparing the hysteria of the anti- or NeverTrumpers to Trump’s actual accomplishments. The list of those accomplishments grows longer and more impressive as the months go by.

Read the whole thing.

BRUCE BAWER: Islam, Women, and Phyllis Chesler.

Phyllis Chesler’s new collection of articles, Islamic Gender Apartheid: Exposing a Veiled War against Women, is shot through with a notes-from-the-front-lines urgency and a righteous rage. The earliest of these pieces date back to 2003; the most recent are a few months old. Together, they form a chronicle of the post-9/11 era as observed by the only top-tier second-wave American feminist who – as the pernicious patriarchy of the Muslim world was increasingly introduced into the West – remained true to her values, consistent in ideology and in principles. Other feminists, including the entire academic Women’s Studies establishment, have linked arms with the sharia crowd. They’ve preached that it’s wrong for Westerners, operating from positions of post-colonialist privilege and power, to profess to “save the brown woman from the brown man.” They’ve made a heroine out of the vile, hijab-clad Linda Sarsour, a booster of sharia and apologist for jihad whose star turn at the Women’s March on Washington last January catapulted her to international fame. Even to suggest that such a person can be a feminist in any reasonable sense of the word is, of course, right out of 1984: war is peace, freedom is slavery, Sarsour is a feminist.

Read the whole thing.

BABY BOOMER EXCESS LED TO HUBRIS, CULTURAL DECAY, writes Victor Davis Hanson: “It is hard to destroy the NFL or to discredit a liberal-arts degree from Yale, or to turn NBC or CNN into a bastard of Pravda or to make the Hollywood of John Ford, Frank Capra, and Alfred Hitchcock into that of George Clooney. But we managed it — and more still to come before we are through.”

Read the whole thing.

BYRON YORK: Air Force Academy: A Perfect Hoax For The Age Of Trump.

It’s hard to exaggerate the praise heaped on Air Force Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria after his impassioned speech against racism went viral at the end of September. Silveria, superintendent of the Air Force Academy, spoke after five black cadet candidates at the academy’s prep school found racial slurs written on message boards outside their rooms.

“If you can’t treat someone from another race or a different color skin with dignity and respect, then you need to get out,” an angry Silveria told students. “If you can’t treat someone with dignity and respect, then get out.” When video of his speech hit the Internet — nearly two million YouTube views — and then cable TV, and then the old-fashioned press, the applause began. Silveria, some said, was a true American hero.

But in a few of the nation’s largest media outlets, the acclaim wasn’t just about Silveria. For some, celebrating Silveria was at least as much, if not more, about President Trump than it was about the Air Force general. For them, it was not enough to praise Silveria. One must also denounce Trump.

The Washington Post published an editorial headlined, “Moral guidance, if not from the president.” Silveria’s speech was “a welcome reminder of what leadership can look like,” the paper wrote, “all the more necessary and welcome because of the absence of leadership at the highest levels of government.” . . .

Now, as everyone knows, there’s an update to the story. The cadet candidate who reported the racial slurs has admitted that he was behind the whole thing. It was all a hoax. The young man, who is black, has left the academy.

Anyone who follows such incidents, certainly anyone in the news business, should have known that there was a substantial chance the Air Force Academy vandalism was a fake. Too many such incidents have turned out to be hoaxes not to raise suspicions about new ones, pending the results of an investigation.

There was the young black man in Kansas who admitted writing racist graffiti on his car. There was the black man in Michigan charged in three racist graffiti incidents at Eastern Michigan University. There was the young Muslim woman in New York who admitted making up a story about being attacked by white Trump supporters. The black Bowling Green State University student who said white Trump supporters threw rocks at her. The University of Louisiana student who said a white man wearing a Trump hat tried to pull off her hijab.

Then there was the wave of stories about threats to Jewish community centers — stories that received widespread news coverage in the context of the new Trump presidency. Most of the threats were made by a teenager in Israel, with the others made by a former journalist who was somehow trying to get back at a former girlfriend.

None of that means that all hate crimes reports are false. But it does mean people reporting and commenting on them should be cautious until the facts are known.

Gen. Silveria chose not to be cautious.


MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR, MINNEAPOLIS VERSION: At City Journal, Power Line’s Scott Johnson asks, “Why take Somali ‘community leaders’ on an exclusive airport-security tour?”

A sidebar to the story of the ISIS-affiliated Somali men convicted on terrorism charges last year in federal district court in Minneapolis: one of the men who pleaded guilty and cooperated with the prosecution had worked on the tarmac at Minneapolis–St. Paul International Airport (MSP) and could have done serious harm. So had the one who turned informant and was never charged in the case. When his FBI interlocutors persuaded him to turn, he had a question for them: “Can I get my job at the airport back?”

That’s not all. In his March 29, 2016 Star Tribune story, Stephen Montemayor reported in passing that local imams and Muslim “community leaders” had received a “behind-the-scenes security tour” in February last year at Minneapolis–St. Paul International Airport (MSP). Montemayor mentioned the tour when he noted that Hassan Mohamud—also known as “Sheikh Hassan,” an imam working as a legal assistant for one of the defendants—had been “uninvited” from the tour.

What was that tour for Muslims only all about?

Read the whole thing.

HE CHOSE…POORLY. Bill Nye agrees to do an “Ask Me Anything” chat on Reddit. It does not go well:

Hi Bill,

I have a great way you can start.

Stop pretending you’re a scientist.

In science, we begin with facts. The facts show you have no formal science education beyond a Bachelors in mechanical engineering from Cornell. That’s it. Not even a Masters degree, let alone a Doctorate. You literally have no formal science education beyond an undergraduate degree. The facts also show that the whole “Science Guy” persona emerged out of a stand-up comedy routine you used to perform on local public-access TV back in the 80’s:

Good science requires valid data, so, here you go:

Read the whole thing.

More at Twitchy, in a post whose title appropriately begins, “‘Holy sh*t, he’s getting destroyed!’”


James Bloodworth in the left-of-center Independent noticed the exchange of roles too. “In the past decade or so some progressives have found themselves – either through political expediency or something worse – on the side of the far-right. … The result … has been an anti-war movement working enthusiastically with those advocating the murder of homosexuals, a left-wing Mayor of London embracing a man who said Adolf Hitler had been sent by Allah to punish the Jews, and a group set up ostensibly to oppose fascism warmly welcoming religious fascists into its own ranks.”

‘Tis witchcraft. The populists now have the working class. The Western progressives rule at all the kingly courts: in Hollywood, the media, elite universities, in Washington and Brussels. Today social justice means government, regulation, constant nudging, endless investigations of suspicious sexual activity and and an unblinking cross-examination of anyone in contact with Russia.

Who could have predicted it.

Read the whole thing.

THE NY TIMES RUNS ITS LOUIS C.K. STORY, HEADLINED, “Louis C.K. Crossed a Line Into Sexual Misconduct, 5 Women Say:”

In 2002, a Chicago comedy duo, Dana Min Goodman and Julia Wolov, landed their big break: a chance to perform at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colo. When Louis C.K. invited them to hang out in his hotel room for a nightcap after their late-night show, they did not think twice. The bars were closed and they wanted to celebrate. He was a comedian they admired. The women would be together. His intentions seemed collegial.

As soon as they sat down in his room, still wrapped in their winter jackets and hats, Louis C.K. asked if he could take out his penis, the women said.

They thought it was a joke and laughed it off. “And then he really did it,” Ms. Goodman said in an interview with The New York Times. “He proceeded to take all of his clothes off, and get completely naked, and started masturbating.”

In 2003, Abby Schachner called Louis C.K. to invite him to one of her shows, and during the phone conversation, she said, she could hear him masturbating as they spoke. Another comedian, Rebecca Corry, said that while she was appearing with Louis C.K. on a television pilot in 2005, he asked if he could masturbate in front of her. She declined.

Read the whole thing, if you can stand it.


ANGELO CODEVILLA: Reflections on Terrorism, Dumb and Smart.

Peggy Noonan’s observation in the Wall Street Journal that the most recent jihadist mass murderer is “an idiot”—unlike the men who perpetrated 9/11, but like all who have struck us since—provokes more thought than likely went into it. Noonan correctly notes that 9/11 led us to expect more attacks with comparable planning and execution. Instead, we’ve been hit by random idiots, the most sophisticated of whom (the Bataclan murderers) operate at an elementary infantry level.

So what? Our ruling class concludes that more and better policing has precluded attacks on the scale of 9/11, limiting Islamist terrorism to a level with which we can live. But this lumping of terrorism into a single category misunderstands how very different 9/11 was from what has followed—different kinds of perpetrators, different bases of support, a different relationship with Islamism, and different in the dangers they comport for us. Hence they misunderstand what military and police action can accomplish.

Focusing on these differences—especially in the light of the recently released Osama Bin Laden documents and their emphasis on al-Qaeda’s latter-day relationship with Iran—invites us to cut through the establishment’s parrot-chorus of “what everyone knows” about terrorism and to unravel the complexity what we are really up against. The following is the first of a three-part attempt to do this. . . . The billions of dollars in barbed wire, badges, intelligence, and policing inflicted upon America since 9/11 have neither prevented nor thwarted any plans to attack the United States with the sophistication and on the scale of 9/11. The primordial fact is, no one has tried.

Read the whole thing.

SPENGLER: Curb your liberalism. “Liberal Jews aren’t funny, not, at least, to Jews who know the jokes in their original form.”

Read the whole thing.

BOTTOM STORY OF THE DAY: Tim Kaine Is Wrong about America and Slavery.

Kaine lays the blame at the feet of the Constitution: “a nation that put a Constitution in place that enshrined the institution of slavery and said that a slave is equal to three-fifths of a person.” But the compromises struck at Philadelphia in 1787 (or before that, during the Revolution) did not create slavery; slavery had existed in the Thirteen Colonies for a century, and the problem faced by the Founding Fathers was what to do with a society where it already existed.

By and large, the generation of the Founding Fathers saw slavery as an evil; they were acutely aware of the charge of hypocrisy laid against the broad principles of universal human rights they declared. At the same time, in an age when indentured servitude was still common, the moral argument that slavery was a fundamentally distinct evil was not as far advanced as it would later become.

Kaine, echoing today’s left-wing writers, would damn the Founding Fathers for their optimistic faith in the American promise. But the revolutionaries of France tried to tackle all of society’s ills simultaneously, and ended up on a Reign of Terror. We should not be so quick, from the distance of history, to condemn the Founders for making a world that was better than the one they knew just because the job was unfinished.


Good stuff — read the whole thing.

EVERYBODY’S TRANSITIONING THESE DAYS: The US is Saudi Arabia Now, Roger L. Simon writes.

But back to Saudi Arabia. They’re the bad ones here, not us.  They behave in a manner that civilized people must condemn.  We know this because Donald Trump approves of what King Salman is doing, cleaning house from characters like Bin Talal,  and Trump, as we know, is not an honorable man.

How do we know?  Because he has disgraced our country in Japan.  He is uncouth and does not even know how to feed koi. How bad is that! He could have killed the poor…  Oh, wait….

Heh. Read the whole thing.

ROGER SIMON: Riveting Harpoon Tells the Story of the Financial War Against Terrorism.

Read the whole thing.

DON’’T MINCE WORDS DR. DALRYMPLE, TELL US HOW YOU REALLY FEEL: Theodore Dalrymple on Le Corbusier, Liar, Cheat, Thief, and Plagiarist.

Like Hitler, Jeanneret [Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, Corbusier’s real name — Ed] wanted to be an artist, and, as with Hitler, the world would have been a better place if he had achieved his ambition. Had he been merely an artist, one could have avoided his productions if one so wished; but the buildings that he and his myriad acolytes have built unavoidably scour the retina of the viewer and cause a decline in the pleasure of his existence.

One of Jeanneret’’s buildings can devastate a landscape or destroy an ancient townscape once and for all, with a finality that is quite without appeal; as for his city planning, it was of a childish inhumanity and rank amateurism that would have been mildly amusing had it remained purely theoretical and had no one taken it seriously.

The good doctor is just getting started; read the whole thing.

I actually like many of the white stucco modernist buildings Corbusier built in the 1920s, when his career was just getting started. They were mostly small homes built for wealthy clients living in Paris who appreciated the avant garde and giving an early break to an artist on the way up.  But his French postwar apartment blocks were hideous and foreshadowed the concrete architectural style known as brutalism — — and for good reason.

Corbusier only saw two buildings bearing his imprimatur completed in the US. He was part of the architectural committee who designed the UN building in New York in 1948, and he designed the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts building at Yale in 1962.  However, Corbusier’’s urban planning concepts were enormously influential on American urban renewal in the 1950s and ‘’60s, with invariably disastrous results. Jane Jacobs’’ influential book 1961 book The Death and Life of Great American Cities is essentially a real-world rebuttal to his architectural and urban planning fantasies.

(Via Kathy Shaidle.)


This is the reality that made Ms. Warren’s attack on Mr. Sessions so tiresome. And it is what caused so many Democrats at President Trump’s address to Congress to look a little mortified, defiantly proud but dark with doubt. The sight of them was a profound moment in American political history.

Today’s liberalism is an anachronism. It has no understanding, really, of what poverty is and how it has to be overcome. It has no grip whatever on what American exceptionalism is and what it means at home and especially abroad. Instead it remains defined by an America of 1965—an America newly opening itself to its sins, an America of genuine goodwill, yet lacking in self-knowledge.

This liberalism came into being not as an ideology but as an identity. It offered Americans moral esteem against the specter of American shame. This made for a liberalism devoted to the idea of American shamefulness. Without an ugly America to loathe, there is no automatic esteem to receive. Thus liberalism’s unrelenting current of anti-Americanism.

Let’s stipulate that, given our history, this liberalism is understandable. But American liberalism never acknowledged that it was about white esteem rather than minority accomplishment. Four thousand shootings in Chicago last year, and the mayor announces that his will be a sanctuary city. This is moral esteem over reality; the self-congratulation of idealism. Liberalism is exhausted because it has become a corruption.

Read the whole thing,

(Try this link from RCP if the above link requires you to login.)


In this way, entertainment reporters are in a position similar to that of sports journalists. If you look too deeply into controversial subjects, you are barred from locker rooms, denied interviews with players, and meet resistance from coaches and management. In Hollywood, studios can deny access to the set and future projects. Anger an actor and you anger the agent, then lose out on contact with all their clients. Thus a journalist has to comport herself accordingly, or find she is cut off from the very industry she is covering.

Reading this passage in Brad Slager’s article at the Federalist, I had an immediate flashback to sportswriter Jeff Pearlman’s 2008 book, Boys Will Be Boys, his look at the insanity that surrounded the 1990s-era, Jerry Jones-owned Dallas Cowboys, including “the White House,” its infamous version of Delta House, a suburban home adjacent to their practice field, rented by wide receiver Alvin Harper, and how the Dallas sports media initially ignored the story:

“It was a frat house,” says Mike Fisher, the team’s beat writer for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “But most frat houses don’t specialize in hookers and cocaine.”

To visualize the White House, picture a relatively nice suburban home with a swimming pool in the back and a driveway packed with Jaguars, Bentleys, BMWs, and Ferraris. Then walk through the front door (no need to knock—it was always unlocked) and check out the enormous televisions, the pool table, the wet bar, and the prostitutes (often wearing nothing but the gold chains supplied by the residents). Oh, don’t forget the handful of video cameras hidden throughout the various bedrooms, allegedly installed by Dennis Pedini, one of Irvin’s close friends. “Everything that happened in the White House I’m assuming Pedini had on camera,” says Kevin Smith. “He didn’t tell the guys they were being filmed at the time, but—surprise!—they were.”

* * * * * * * *

The first member of the media to write of the White House was the Miami Herald’s Dan Le Batard, who merely mentioned it in passing in a larger piece about partying in the NFL. “The reality is that many teams throughout the league had places like the White House,” says Le Batard. “But the Cowboys were the biggest, baddest, best, and anything they did was vastly more magnetized.” Upon reading Le Batard’s story, the Dallas media went to work. In truth, many were well aware of the White House and its going-ons, but chose to ignore the story in the name of player-press relations. “Everyone knew about it, but what are you going to do, run a story about the guys cheating on their wives with hookers?” says Rob Geiger, a reporter for KRLD radio in Dallas. “The writers understood not to write about it, the radio and TV guys understood not to talk about it, because we’d be vilified by the fans and locked out by the team.” [Emphasis mine — Ed]

It was a gargantuan lapse in news judgment. The White House had everything one craves in a story—sex, drugs, fame, football.

When word of the White House finally broke, Jones and Switzer confessed to being shocked (shocked!) that a place of such ill repute existed. The Cowboys, after all, were a wholesome operation, made up of loyal, family-oriented men like, um, Jones and, uh, Switzer who would, eh, never, ah, dream of…cheating, uh, on, eh, a female. “Jerry Jones was chasing and f***ing the same women Michael Irvin was,” says Anthony Montoya, the gofer for Cowboy players. “He was out there just as bad as anyone else. I have no beef with that, because if you can get the p***y at that age, more power to you; I’m happy for you. But Jerry saying he didn’t know about the White House is a fucking lie. A big ***ing lie. I’d get calls from the team saying, ‘Can you get X player. We hear he’s out at the White House.’

“And usually,” says Montoya, “they were right.”

As Glenn noted, linking to his column this week in USA Today on Harvey Weinstein and Mark Halperin, “For people who keep telling us how fearlessly truthful they are, they sure have a lot of ugly ‘open secrets.’”

DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ DIDN’T TELL DNC OFFICERS OF HACK: “Schultz, the former head of the Democratic National Committee, did not tell the DNC’s own officers about a breach on its servers for more than a month after learning about it, according to then-DNC officer Donna Brazile…The timing suggests the DNC’s unusual and significant choice to have the private law firm CrowdStrike conduct the investigation into the breach, rather than turn the evidence over to law enforcement, was made without consulting DNC officers. ‘She told [officers] about the hacking only minutes before the Washington Post broke the news,’ Brazile wrote.”

Read the whole thing.

JUDITH MILLER: NYC terror attack: Halloween horror would have been much worse without top notch NYPD.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo pointed out another hallmark of a vehicle assault. The perp, he said, was one of those “lone wolves” who “meant to cause pain and harm and probably death and the resulting terror.”

But it takes a pack to raise a lone wolf. Even if Saipov acted alone, he was part of a growing ideological fraternity numbering in the tens of thousands who now inhabit every region of the globe.

Those seeking eternal glory have staged similar attacks in at least a dozen other cities—from Nice to Paris to Barcelona to London to Jerusalem.

Like the attacks in these cities, the Halloween attack in Lower Manhattan was aimed at inflicting maximum carnage. Schools in the area were letting out students shortly after three o’clock when Saipov drove his rented truck off West Houston Street onto the bike path.

There was no shortage of targets. The streets between West Houston and Chambers were crowded with parents picking up their costumed children prepared for an evening of trick-or-treating. Pedestrians and bikers on the Hudson River bike path were stunned and helpless as Saipov careened his weapon through the crowd.

With the collapse of its self-declared “caliphate” in Syria and Iraq, ISIS is on the run. So are its adherents. But as the extremists disperse, the terrorist threat, paradoxically, increases. American and other intelligence agencies have long warned of a likely rise in vehicle and other attacks as the frustrated, furious faithful are forced to reorient their campaign. In May 2017, the U.S. Transportation and Security Agency (TSA) warned truck and bus companies to be on guard for suspicious individuals seeking to rent vehicles.

According to TSA data, Islamist terrorists have carried out more than a dozen vehicular assaults since 2014 that have killed more than 170 people. Such attacks are ever more likely, the TSA memo warned, since “unsophisticated tactics such as vehicle-ramming” are hard to prevent and capable of inflicting “mass casualties if successful.”

Saipov might have killed even more people had the NYPD not been the nation’s premier counterterrorism force. NYPD officers showed up in force minutes after the attack began, shooting Saipov before he could kill even more New Yorkers.


Even more essential has been the NYPD’s intelligence division, which has long collected information about suspicious individuals. After being heavily, and in many instances unfairly, criticized for allegedly violating civil liberties, Miller’s former boss, William Bratton, shut down a particularly controversial program that the intelligence unit had run early in its existence—a so-called “demographic unit” that collected information on the location and activities of Muslims suspected of terrorist intentions.

Another critic was New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who lambasted the NYPD for surveilling New Jersey-based Muslims and asked whether the spying was “borne out of arrogance, or out of paranoia, or out of both.” Unconfirmed news reports Tuesday night indicated that Saipov had lived for some time in Paterson, New Jersey.

But the NYPD has not scaled back most of its vital surveillance activities.

Read the whole thing.

DONNA BRAZILE: When I was asked to run the Democratic Party after the Russians hacked our emails, I stumbled onto a shocking truth about the Clinton campaign.

I had promised Bernie when I took the helm of the Democratic National Committee after the convention that I would get to the bottom of whether Hillary Clinton’s team had rigged the nomination process, as a cache of emails stolen by Russian hackers and posted online had suggested. I’d had my suspicions from the moment I walked in the door of the DNC a month or so earlier, based on the leaked emails. But who knew if some of them might have been forged? I needed to have solid proof, and so did Bernie.

So I followed the money. My predecessor, Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, had not been the most active chair in fundraising at a time when President Barack Obama’s neglect had left the party in significant debt. As Hillary’s campaign gained momentum, she resolved the party’s debt and put it on a starvation diet. It had become dependent on her campaign for survival, for which she expected to wield control of its operations.

Debbie was not a good manager. She hadn’t been very interested in controlling the party—she let Clinton’s headquarters in Brooklyn do as it desired so she didn’t have to inform the party officers how bad the situation was. How much control Brooklyn had and for how long was still something I had been trying to uncover for the last few weeks.

By September 7, the day I called Bernie, I had found my proof and it broke my heart.

Read the whole thing.

Brazile has been nothing if not a Clinton loyalist, so there must be a heavy change in the winds for her to have written this piece. And for Politico, no less, which is basically the DNC’s unofficial house organ.

SEE ALSO: The previous post on the Democratic Civil War.

GREGG JARRETT: Still no evidence of Trump-Russia ‘collusion’ – but Hillary is a different matter.

George Papadopoulos pled guilty to a single charge of making a false statement to the FBI. He was not charged with so-called “collusion” because no such crime exists in American statutory law, except in anti-trust matters. It has no application to elections and political campaigns.

It is not a crime to talk to a Russian. Not that the media would ever understand that. They have never managed to point to a single statute that makes “colluding” with a foreign government in a political campaign a crime, likely because it does not exist in the criminal codes.

But that did not stop them from accusing Donald Trump, Jr., of illegally conspiring with the Russians when he met with a Russian lawyer to obtain information on Hillary Clinton. What law did he break? None. The Federal Election Commission has made it clear that it is perfectly lawful for foreign nationals to be involved in campaigns, as long as they are not paid and do not donate money. Which brings us to Hillary Clinton.

It is against the law for the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee to funnel millions of dollars to a British spy and to Russian sources in order to obtain the infamous and discredited Trump “dossier.” The Federal Election Campaign Act (52 USC 30101) prohibits foreign nationals and governments from giving or receiving money in U.S. campaigns. It also prohibits the filing of false or misleading campaign reports to hide the true purpose of the money (52 USC 30121). This is what Clinton and the DNC appear to have done.

Read the whole thing.

ROGER SIMON: Reform Islam or Live the “New Normal” Forever.

Two of the more repugnant Americans today are the moral narcissist judges from Maryland (Theodore Chuang) and Hawaii (Derrick Watson) who tried to upend Donald Trump’s travel ban. They have metaphorical blood on their robes, whether they know it or not.

Read the whole thing.

SAUL ALINSKY SMILES: Part III of Patrick Courrielche’s “Tinseltown Travelogue – a deplorable’s adventures in la la land” is online.

This politically incorrect movement has galvanized in a way that was unheard of just a few years ago. Instead of the Kum Ba Yah rallies of yesterday’s Tea Party, this new right prefers a more active approach. They bombard film reviews with negative grades, inundate show sponsors with calls to drop their advertising, and hit the most hate-filled celebrities with a flurry of boycott campaigns usually only seen coming from the left….The new right is beginning to use the tactics of the left – and most notably, they’re having fun doing it.

Read the whole thing. As Kurt Schlichter likes to say, the left is going to hate living under the rules they’ve created.

WELL, IT WOULD CERTAINLY BE A CHANGE: Kurt Schlichter: It’s Not Too Much To Ask That Our GOP Hacks Show Some Loyalty To Their Voters.

Let’s understand what “loyalty” is and isn’t when it comes to our elected officials. Loyalty is not a requirement for slavish agreement or utter acquiescence – those who either don’t want to be loyal or wish to excuse it in their favored pols will often try to tell you that’s what we normals expect in order to evade the real issue. But that claim is baloney – used baloney after having been eaten by a male cow. Debate and argument are vital. Criticize Trump’s actions if you feel they deserve criticism; criticize the man if you think he falls short. Ted Cruz does, and we dig him. But you need to be loyal to the people who sent you to Washington. We’re not going to tolerate you taking sides with people who hate us.

What is inexcusable are alleged Republicans going onto liberal media outlets to trash the base by sanctimoniously adopting lying liberal narratives about us and then basking in the loving liberal limelight their new liberal buddies temporarily bestow upon them. McCain pioneered that move, though he’s kind of the Sideshow Bob of maverickry – he’ll go through a period of liberal love then do something remotely conservative, like run for president, and his lib lovers will turn on him and he’ll stand there with hurt feelz and a rake mark on his sad face wondering, “What happened to all my new friends?”

“I don’t think I can be part of a party like this,” Flake essentially says, wiping away a figurative tear. What he’s really saying is that our interests and desires should be ignored (as they have been for decades) because we don’t meet his high standards. Fair enough, Jeff – but why are you now shocked that we decided that you don’t meet ours? . . .

The loyalty issue is just one component of the massive cultural/political upheaval we’re all living through. Normals are tired of being deceived, disregarded, and disrespected by those in power. Now we’re demanding loyalty, not asking for it. And we’re going to ruthlessly purge everyone who presumes to represent us who actually holds us in contempt, because the feeling is mutual.

Read the whole thing, especially if you’re a GOP officeholder.

OH: Bill Gates Tacitly Admits His Common Core Experiment Was A Failure.

“Based on everything we have learned in the past 17 years, we are evolving our education strategy,” Gates wrote on his blog as a preface to a speech he gave last week in Cleveland. He followed this by detailing how U.S. education has essentially made little improvement in the years since he and his foundation — working so closely with the Obama administration that federal officials regularly consulted foundation employees and waived ethics laws to hire several — began redirecting trillions of public dollars towards programs he now admits haven’t accomplished much.

“If there is one thing I have learned,” Gates says in concluding his speech, “it is that no matter how enthusiastic we might be about one approach or another, the decision to go from pilot to wide-scale usage is ultimately and always something that has to be decided by you and others the field.” If this statement encompasses his Common Core debacle, Gates could have at least the humility to recall that Common Core had no pilot before he took it national. There wasn’t even a draft available to the public before the Obama administration hooked states into contracts, many of which were ghostwritten with Gates funds, pledging they’d buy that pig in a poke.

But it looks like this is as close to an apology or admission of failure as we’re going to get, folks. Sorry about that $4 trillion and mangled years of education for American K-12 kids and teachers.

Read the whole thing.

JUST THINK OF HER AS A DEMOCRATIC OPERATIVE WITH A BYLINE, AND IT ALL MAKES SENSE. Andrew Klavan: Maggie Haberman is shocked — shocked — to find that Hillary Clinton’s people are dishonest.

Position yourself on your nearest fainting couch and read the whole thing.

ATTENTION ALL TRUMP VOTERS, IMMEDIATELY EXIT HOLLYWOOD STAGE RIGHT: “This ploy keeping Hollywood a liberal bastion is subtle, but extraordinarily effective – smoke out right-wingers and their sympathizers, spread the word of their apostasy, freeze them out, repeat. This process is seen in every crevice of Tinseltown, and it quietly teaches a lesson to all watching… The Deep Hollywood enforcers are everywhere, at every level…ejecting the deplorables while fortifying the liberal wall. It’s a process they’ve been employing and perfecting since the 1930s, with undeniable results.”

The second part of Patrick Courrielche’s “Tinseltown Travelogue – a deplorable’s adventures in la la land” is now online. If you read Roger Simon’s Blacklisting Myself, definitely read the whole thing for another insider’s look at how Hollywood has moved further and further left since the end of WWII.

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): You know the difference between a Republican and a pedophile? Hollywood will work with a pedophile.


The deplorable bunch in Hollywood is bigger in number than many think, but bullying tactics and blacklist fears have kept most in the closet. As a result, conservatives in Filmville seem as uncommon as a George Clooney hit movie…rarer than an unpilfered joke in Amy Schumer’s standup set. And believe it or not, in some Hollywood circles, being a conservative is more toxic than a grown man spooning in bed with other people’s kids.

If you think I’m exaggerating, you don’t know this town.

Indeed.™ It’s the first of a three-part series; read the whole thing.


If Donald Trump is a symptom of a disease, Mitch McConnell is what the virus looks like under the microscope. Much of what ails the GOP right now is because of the repeated betrayals by McConnell and his apologists in conservative media blaming everyone else but him.

So now they get what they deserve — Roy Moore. They could have learned their lesson with Trump. But many of the very same people now horrified by the advance of Roy Moore were in bed with Trump to stop Ted Cruz.

If they won’t learn, they can and should have Moore.

Read the whole thing.

HMMM: Hollywood Is Dying and Not Even Star Wars Can Save It.

[Jonathan Last of the Weekly Standard:] From the outside, it looks like Hollywood is undergoing four of five simultaneous crises: there’s the systemic sexual misconduct; there’s the Worst Summer Box Office Ever; there’s the precarious position of the theatrical release and the theater experience; and there’s the rise of streaming and Silicon Valley’s incursion into the entertainment business.

It’s like the industry version of a geostorm.

Is it really as bad as all that? Or is this one of those moments where the situation isn’t so dire, that the wheels always look like they’re falling off the cart, but never do?

[Richard Rushfield of the Hollywood-themed email newsletter The Ankler:] I’d say it is as bad as all that, for the reasons you describe, which all go back to: the movie industry, in particular, has lost the plot. It’s lost sight of the reasons why people go to the movies. It’s been so focused on “What movies can you market?”—which is generally shorthand for “What movies will people just show up for without you having convince them that they actually should?”

In particular, Hollywood has lost sight of the way people under 30—the ones who used to be the core audience—consume entertainment and what sort of experience they are looking for.

The tone for the past five years or so has very much reminded me of the mood you’d get around newsrooms 15 years ago, when if newspaper people were told that no one under 40 was reading the papers, they’d just harumph that “It’s about time someone explained to those whippersnappers how great newspapers actually are!” And I can see this all working out for the studios similar to how losing a couple generations of readers worked out for newspapers.


[Rushfield:] To boil this down, movies for me are about space. They are relatively condensed experiences—just a couple hours—but heightened (when they are good) by the intense craftsmanship that goes into every moment.

That’s why you can see your favorite films a hundred times and still find something new, why people watch them over and over even when they can recite the dialogue by heart. There’s this heightened reality that makes films special and begs to be seen in the best possible circumstances.

Television shows (dramas in particular) are about time—about building a relationship with the characters over the course of years. Game of Thrones didn’t become a vital experience in the minds of its viewers until the second or third season, after we’d spent 15 or 20 hours with the characters. That’s why in the great shows, the relationship with the characters grows over the years in a way that it might not if you were going to the theaters to see The Godfather Part 27.

Anyhow, there’s something about these Netflix movies every week that just radiates, non-special, non-heightened experience. That telegraphs You are not going to watch this fifty times.

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): What struck me at Marshall last night was that before the show they had more ads for programs on Amazon, Netflix, etc. than they had trailers for movies.


Every day that everyone remained silent amounted to tacit endorsement for allowing the depravity to continue. And each day another wagon-load of young cuties arrived in town to be put through the meat grinder, determined to crack the code of “how things are done” in pursuit of becoming the next Ringwald, or Paltrow, or Nyong’o. Hollywood, says Tarantino, has been “operating under an almost Jim Crow-like system” to oppress women. That comment must be causing a chill of recognition throughout the industry: What if we were the villains all along?

Read the whole thing. Incidentally, the cognitive dissonance of that moment when one colleague says to another, “are we the baddies?” can be rather difficult for all involved to process.

DRAGNET: DOJ Subpoenas Twitter About Popehat, Dissent Doe And Others Over A Smiley Emoji Tweet.

It’s a subpoena asking for information on the following five Twitter users: @dawg8u (“Mike Honcho”), @abtnatural (“Virgil”), @Popehat (Ken White), @associatesmind (Keith Lee) and @PogoWasRight (Dissent Doe). I’m pretty sure we’ve talked about three of those five in previous Techdirt posts. Either way, they’re folks who are quite active in legal/privacy issues on Twitter.

And what info does the DOJ want on them? Well, basically everything:

1. Names (including subscriber names, user names, and screen names);

2. Addresses (including mailing addresses, residential addresses, business addresses, and e-mail addresses);

3. Records of session times and durations, and the temporarily assigned network addresses (such as Internet Protocol (“IP”) addresses) associated with those sessions;

4. Length of service (including start date) and types of service utilized;

5. Telephone or instrument numbers (including MAC addresses, Electronic Serial Numbers (“ESN”), Mobile Electronic Identity Numbers (“MEIN”), Mobile Equipment Identifier (“MEID”), Mobile Identification Numbers (“MIN”), Subscriber Identity Modules (“SIM”), Mobile Subscriber Integrated Services Digital Network Numbers (“MSISDND”), International Mobile Subscriber Identifier (“IMSI”), or International Mobile Equipment Identities (“IMEI”));

6. Other subscriber numbers or identities, or associated accounts (including the registration Internet Protocol (“IP”) address);

7. Means and source of payment for such service (including any credit card or bank account number) and billing records.

That’s a fair bit of information. Why the hell would the DOJ want all that? Would you believe it appears to be over a single tweet from someone to each of those five individuals that consists entirely of a smiley face? I wish I was kidding.

Read the whole thing.

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: The ‘Never Trump’ Construct: The president’s fiercest critics still do not grasp that Trump is a symptom, not the cause of the GOP’s internal strife.

For all the talk of a Civil War in the Republican party over Donald Trump, 90 percent of Republicans ended up voting for him. Bitterness Over the 2016 Election? So a vocal Never Trump Republican establishment had not much effect on the 2016 election. Voters do not carry conservative magazines to the polls. They are not swayed much by talking heads, and on Election Day they do not they print out conservative congressional talking points from their emails.

John McCain and Susan Collins are as renegade now as they were obstructionist in 2004. If in 2016 it is said that John McCain cannot forgive President Trump for his 2016 primary statements, it was also said in 2004 that John McCain could not forgive President Bush for how he won the 2000 primaries. Trump is called a Nazi and a fascist. But so was George W. Bush in 2006. Reagan in the campaign and during his first few months as president was slandered as a pleasant dunce as often as Trump is smeared as a mean dunce.

If neocons are now on MSNBC in 2017 trashing a Republican president, paleocons were doing the same in 2006 over Iraq. Parties always have dissidents. Donald Trump got about the same percentage of the Republican vote (about 90 percent) as John McCain won in 2008 — slightly less than Mitt Romney’s supposed 93 percent in 2012. If Romney’s 93 percent is the standard of party fealty (Obama usually pulled in about 92 percent of the Democratic vote), then it is hard to know whether the 3 percentage points fewer of Republicans who could not stomach McCain were about the same as the 3 percentage points fewer who were Never Trump.

In either case, 90 percent party loyalty was not good enough for McCain, and even 93 percent did not win Romney an election. Both, unlike Trump, lost too many Reagan Democrats and Independents in the swing states of the Electoral College. . . .

Apart from establishment figures, there is a split in perceptions between the vast 90 percent majority of Republicans who voted for Trump and the small 10 percent minority who did not — and it is largely over Trump himself and not his message. Never Trumpers now see the Trump base as prone to demagogic frenzies on immigration and trade; too monolithically white; often-angry blame-gaming losers of globalization; naïve rather than self-critical about so-called white pathologies; and in their populism too dismissive of the importance of political experience, impressive education, and the changing demography of the U.S.

The far more numerous Trump base voters see the Never Trumpers as too self-important; predictably bicoastal careerist; too quick to judge and write off their supposed ethical inferiors; too eager to get along with liberals within their own bubble; too wedded to traditional definitions of political qualifications and success; and more worried about decorum than winning.

Read the whole thing.

Plus: “The war is mostly infighting among politicos, pundits, politicians, and media people and so far does not necessarily change the realities of the voting public. We saw that reality in 2016 when the thunderous damnation Trump received from his own party had no profound effect on his candidacy.”

MORE ON JEFF FLAKE from Stephen Kruiser:

It’s not the party that has changed so much (although it has changed some), it’s Flake.

Flake was a strong conservative when he was in the House. When he got to the Senate, he decided to be John McCain’s “Mini-Me” and has borne little, if any, resemblance to his former self. My many conservative and/or Republican friends back in my native state are completely mystified as to what happened to Flake during his first (and probably only) Senate term.

None of them are voting for him in the primary.

Read the whole thing — which Kruiser wrote last night, before Flake announced he was flaking out of the Senate.

DAVID HARSANYI: 10 Times CNN Told Us An Apple Was A Banana.

We’re talking about CNN host Chris Cuomo, who, in addition to his hopeless bias, regularly offers factually impaired assertions on every media platform available to him. During the presidential race, Cuomo argued that while it was “illegal” for citizens to look at WikiLeaks emails, the media was afforded special protection with illegally obtained documents. “It’s different for the media,” Cuomo explained, “So everything you learn about this, you’re learning from us.”

You might also remember that after an anti-Islamist was shot in Texas a few years ago, Cuomo, who has a law degree, did a bit of victim-blaming by arguing that “Hate speech is excluded from protection” under the First Amendment. Instead of admitting that his aversion to speech critical of Islam had led him to say something untrue, Cuomo attempted to walk it back by offering examples that had absolutely nothing to do with his initial comment.

We’re talking about Sally Kohn and her cohosts, who raise their hands in the air in a nod to the “hands up, don’t shoot” slogan. Political commentators are free to engage in political theater, of course, but if we call out Sean Hannity or Rachel Maddow when they perpetuate political myths, why not CNN, which fashions itself somewhere in the middle of Fox and MSNBC? CNN didn’t instruct its talent to stick to facts, it pushed the video out on its social media channels. Yet nothing in the Michael Brown case, not the ballistic or the DNA evidence or the witness statements, backs up the contention that Brown was shot with his hands up. Apples are not bananas no matter how many times you scream.

Read the whole thing.

If you’re unfamiliar with the apple/banana reference, here you go.

And a reminder: An apple is a banana, if the Party requires it to be.

CLAUDIA ROSETT: The UN’s Mugabe Moment, and Its Perennial Iran Problem.

Mugabe’s appointment as a WHO goodwill ambassador provoked well-justified outrage, and it was at least commendable that the WHO rescinded an appointment it should never have made in the first place. But where’s the outrage over the rolling depravities rooted far deeper within the UN system?

Read the whole thing.

BRENDAN O’NEILL: The Danger of “Believe the Victims.” And why Atticus Finch is an evil rape denier now.

It is not accidental that Mockingbird’s focus is a false accusation of rape. Accusations of rape were a key weapon in the armoury of racists in the American South. As everyone will know, black men were frequently lynched on the basis of accusations of rape. Others were lucky and were only imprisoned. What is less well known is that the culture around this racist weaponisation of rape accusations was strikingly similar to today’s “Believe Victims” movement. It likewise frowned upon scepticism, sought to protect women from cross-examination, and created a climate in which accusation alone was enough to destroy a man (a black man, in any event).

The accuser was always believed. In the words of Ida B Wells, the early 20th-century African-American journalist and activist, “The word of the accuser is held to be true”, meaning “the rule of law [is] reversed” and the accused must “prove himself innocent”. Then, as now, it was considered cruel to examine women or ask them to substantiate their accusations. In 1899, a writer for the Atlanta Constitution expressed his horror at “the very thought of a delicate woman being forced to go into the publicity of a court and there detail her awful wrongs in the presence of the brute who had inflicted [them]”. The woman’s goodness was proof enough, he said. This idea finds terrifying echo in Rose MacGowan’s insistence today that she doesn’t need to prove that Harvey Weinstein abused her. “I am the proof”, she said.

Read the whole thing.

HAVE YOU NO DECENCY? Democrat attacks ‘very private’ wedding of Pence’s Marine son.

An extremely private and intimate wedding ceremony at an Indiana state park Saturday for Vice President Mike Pence’s son has come under attack by a state Democrat who on Facebook identified the venue and wrongly warned that the whole area would be shut down.

The post from Sue Wanzer, a Democratic activist and local school board member, drew many angry responses like this: “Pence ruins everything!”

Her October 18 post read, “Heads up: If you’re planning a trip to Nashville (Ind.) this weekend, you should probably scrap that. Pence’s kid is getting married in Brown County State Park. It’s going to be an utter mess and a lot of areas (like the state park) will be shut down in large portions. This is unpublished, but reports from state park staff and things like flight restrictions over Nashville seem to confirm.”

Actually, the park has said that the park will remain open except for the wedding area. “The fact that the vice president will be here will not impact our regular visitors,” property manager Doug Baird told the Bloomington, Ind., Herald-Times.

No decency — and no facts, either.