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AIDE WHO CARRIED NUCLEAR FOOTBALL WARNS TRUMP ABOUT ‘CIVIL SERVANTS,’ ‘OBAMA HOLDOVERS: Former presidential military aide Buzz Patterson carried the bag with the big red button for President Bill Clinton for three years. He lived and worked in the White House throughout those years and when everybody else left for the day, he was the guy who screened incoming calls from all over the world.

Patterson told The Epoch Times’ Patrick Howley President Donald Trump should be especially wary of two classes of officials around him: “There are a lot of Obama holdovers who are still working in the State Department, White House, Pentagon. They’re not happy their team didn’t work. I was a commander for civil service people in 20 years.

“It is really hard to root out civil servants. Hard to root out people who are counter-productive. I think Trump has a lot of people still that don’t want him to last, or be successful in 2020. That’s how DC works,” Patterson said. As Glenn says, read the whole thing.


Computers, airplanes, population levels — nothing is off limits. But the downside of this militance is it engenders its mirror image. As Megan McArdle pointed out, in a zero sum game there are no points for second place. “Democrats who think court packing is justified by Garland forget that [Whispers] Garland was justified by Bork. In this game, you don’t move last.” When one side attacks the other must counterattack. The first side to falter loses. That fear, as Victor Davis Hanson notes, is what keeps the weary populists together. They will stand fast because for them the alternative to Trump is the abyss.

Read the whole thing.

THIS DOESN’T GET MUCH PLAY IN THE PRESS; WHY IS HARDLY A MYSTERY: Trump’s economic advantage within the Democratic base.

While those figures wrote the headlines, overlooked ones told the broader economic story. The unemployment rate stayed at historically low levels of just 3.7 percent. Simultaneously, labor force participation continued to rise, reaching 63.2 percent, while average hourly earnings have increased by 3.2 percent over the last year.

For the large majority of Americans, these are the real economic variables, the DJIA or GDP being relevant only in so far as they affect these basic household ones. The reason is simple: For a prolonged period, having a job has been a dicey question for too many.

It is through that prism, and particularly in comparison with this recent past, that the current economy looks so good for Trump.

At the same point during the Obama administration, and almost two years (Q3 of 2009) after the economy had begun growing again, August 2011 unemployment stood at 9.1 percent. There were 14 million unemployed then, compared to today’s 6 million.

Even comparing August 2016, President Obama’s eighth year in office, Trump’s economy looks strong. Just three years ago, unemployment was 4.9 percent, the number of unemployed were 7.8 million — almost 2 million more than today.

Additionally, those higher figures came despite a lower labor force participation rate: 62.8 percent versus 63.2 percent today. This resulted in 6.3 million fewer Americans working then: 151.6 million versus 157.9 million today. To cap it, in August 2016, hourly wages had increased just 2.4 percent over the previous year, compared to 3.2 percent today.

The secondary comparisons are just as telling.

Lots of good data — read the whole thing.

Related, from yesterday: Trump’s 2020 Game Plan Preview.

RICH LOWRY: The Ridiculous Campaign Against Vaping.

In announcing his flavored vaping ban, Cuomo said that “many of these other products have no control on them whatsoever,” which is by definition true because they are black-market products. We could make the risky products involved illegal, if they weren’t already illegal.

The problem with the flavor bans — and especially a San Francisco-style outright ban — is its effect on adult e-cigarette users.

About 11 million adults vape, and some percentage of them are former smokers or would be smoking in the absence of e-cigarettes. A robust study in the United Kingdom found that vaping is twice as effective as other common nicotine replacements in getting smokers to quit. The flavors, according to surveys of users, are a big draw for smokers quitting traditional cigarettes.

Anything that pushes e-cigarette users back into conventional smoking (now at a new low of 14 percent of adults) is bad for public health. It’s manifestly absurd to ban vaping products and leave cigarettes, including flavored cigarettes, on the market.

Read the whole thing.


Few journalists are as respected by, and respectable to, liberals as The Atlantic’s George Packer. The author of The Assassin’s Gate (2005), The Unwinding (2013), and a recently published biography of Richard Holbrooke, Our Man, Packer has written for bastions of liberal thought from the New York Times Magazine to The New Yorker in a distinguished, decades-long career. His latest piece for The Atlantic, “When the Culture War Comes for the Kids,” is essential reading.

Why? Because it relates, in Packer’s haunted and sympathetic style, the experience of having a child enrolled in a New York City school system corrupted by politics. For anyone who believes in individualism, the freedoms of speech and conscience, and the equal dignity of human beings, the experience sounds like a nightmare.

* * * * * * * *

Packer’s family was distraught by Donald Trump’s election. He found, however, that the school had deprived his son of a vocabulary to understand and oppose Trump on the basis of liberal principles: “By age 10 he had studied the civilizations of ancient China, Africa, the early Dutch in New Amsterdam, and the Mayans. He learned about the genocide of Native Americans and slavery. But he was never taught about the founding of the republic.” Packer notes that Richard Carranza, the far-left chancellor of New York City schools, mandated anti-bias instruction for school employees that categorized “perfectionism,” “individualism,” “objectivity,” and “worship of the written word” as hallmarks of “white supremacy culture.”

Packer’s article vividly describes the “progress” critical race theory has made as it percolates through American public education. He is a man of the left disturbed by a rising generation of left-wing ideology and activism. It has happened before. When the New Left politics of Tom Hayden began appearing on university campuses in the 1960s, social democrats and anti-Communist liberals found themselves appalled. Irving Howe debated Hayden for hours. Norman Podhoretz, shocked by the anti-Americanism of “the Movement,” moved right. “A neoconservative,” Irving Kristol quipped, “is a liberal who has been mugged by reality.”

Read the whole thing.

Earlier: Does the Left Suffer from ODS (Obama Disappointment Syndrome)?

BYRON YORK: Democrats, stuck in Watergate mode, bungle Lewandowski testimony.

The bottom line is that Trump has flummoxed Watergate-fixated Democrats with a simple strategy: cooperate with the special counsel. In not cooperating with the Judiciary Committee leadership, he is in effect arguing that he has already cooperated with the important investigation and does not have to cooperate with a political investigation on Capitol Hill, especially when the House leadership cannot decide whether it is a formal impeachment proceeding or not.

Read the whole thing.

BOB ZUBRIN: The Real Robot Threat.

In the fall of 1989, the peoples of Eastern Europe rose up against their Communist oppressors. The tyrants ruling these nations had no moral compunction about shooting their subjects down, but fortunately, they couldn’t count on their armed forces to do it. So the Iron Curtain fell, and two years later, even the mighty Soviet Union was brought down when the Red Army, sent into Moscow, refused the orders of those attempting to brutally reinstate Stalinist rule.

But imagine what might have occurred had those soldiers been not human beings but robots, lacking in any sympathy or humanity, ready, willing, and able to reliably massacre anyone the authorities chose to be their targets.

This is the threat posed by the emerging technology known as “autonomous weapons.”

Read the whole thing.


Michelle Goldberg of the New York Times has a dream, a dream in which about half of the American people are deprived of an effective means of political representation, a dream of one-party government in which the Democrats are the only game in town — “Dare We Dream of the End of the GOP?” her column is headlined — which also is a dream of visiting vengeance upon those who dared to vote for their own interests as they understood them and thereby schemed “to stop the New America from governing.”

That quotation is from a new book by Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg bearing the title R.I.P. G.O.P. Greenberg himself has a new column in the Times on the same theme. “The 2020 election will be transformative like few in our history,” he writes. “It will end with the death of the Republican Party as we know it . . . [and] liberate the Democratic Party from the country’s suffocating polarization and allow it to use government to address the vast array of problems facing the nation.”

We might understand the Goldberg-Greenberg position as “the divine right of Democrats,” who apparently have an eternal moral mandate to rule for reasons that must remain mysterious to those outside the ranks of New York Times columnists.

Goldberg and Greenberg should at least try to take seriously their own metaphor: polarization.

Read the whole thing, which was written last week, before the Times tried once again to make Brett Kavanaugh radioactive this weekend.

And not just the Times: Mollie Hemingway Uncovers Another Error In The New Kavanaugh Book: This time, in an excerpt published by the Atlantic.

BIDEN AND CORN POP, KAVANAUGH AND PORN COP: This composite is the true image of American politics today.

The Kavanaugh and Corn Pop stories must at all times be considered separately, for two reasons. First, if taken together, these stories show the extent to which pro-Democratic media, even the upmarket kind which advertises its fact-checking, will go in order to slander its enemies and support its team — and that the obvious cognitive decline of the Democratic frontrunner might not be as alarming as the obvious ethical decline in the press, because a party can find a better candidate, but the Times, it isn’t a-changin’.

Second, there’s the risk that the two stories will merge into a single image in which Joe Biden’s friends push his penis into Corn Pop’s hand in order to prove his tolerance, while Brett Kavanaugh the Porn Cop stands pink and proud for family values. This composite is the true image of American politics today, so is best not considered at all, let along pushed into anyone’s face as part of a presidential nomination strategy.

Heh. Read the whole thing.™

CHRISTINE ROSEN: Impeaching the New York Times Kavanaugh Story.

As Pogrebin and Kelly describe, Ramirez and some classmates “had been drinking heavily when, she says, a freshman named Brett Kavanaugh pulled down his pants and thrust his penis at her, prompting her to swat it away and inadvertently touch it. Some of the onlookers, who had been passing around a fake penis earlier in the evening, laughed.” Ramirez didn’t think it was funny and goes on to claim that this single episode scarred her for life. “I had gone through high school, I’m the good girl, and now, in one evening, it was all ripped away,” she told the Times. “By preying upon her in this way, she added, Kavanaugh and his friends ‘make it clear I’m not smart.’”

At the very least this is an overreaction. It’s also probably not true. When Ramirez initially made allegations about Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearings, the Times acknowledged that it couldn’t verify the story she was telling. This acknowledgment came after Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer at the New Yorker published a highly speculative bit of rumor-mongering about Kavanaugh based on what Ramirez herself admitted were drunken recollections and “significant gaps in her memories.”

Pogrebin and Kelly imply that the FBI did not thoroughly investigate Ms. Ramirez’s claims. “Ms. Ramirez’s legal team gave the FBI a list of at least 25 individuals who may have had corroborating evidence. But the bureau—in its supplemental background investigation—interviewed none of them, though we learned many of these potential witnesses tried in vain to reach the FBI on their own,” Pogrebin and Kelly claim.

Shameful, from top to bottom. And do read the whole thing.

REALITY…WHAT A CONCEPT: What If All Reality Were Optional?

A majority of politicians and pundits believe that economic reality is optional. Of course, they don’t express this belief in any manner so direct. But one can logically infer this belief from their policy proposals.

Take, for example, support for rent control. Having the state keep the monetary prices of rental units below the values that would arise in free markets is believed by many pols and pundits – and by nearly all “Progressives” – to effectively keep the actual market values of rental units at whatever low prices the state sets. In this reality-is-optional world, when the state pushes down nominal rental prices, the quantity of rental units supplied not only does not fall, it increases to match the increase in the quantity of rental units demanded.

Want more housing for folks with modest incomes? No problem! We’ll just push the rental prices lower to increase ordinary folks’ access to housing. See, the world is such a simple place!

Similar reality-is-optional ‘solutions’ are minimum-wage statutes (for increasing the pay of low-skilled workers) and mandated paid-leave (for increasing the welfare of all workers).

Read the whole thing — though I’m afraid my leftists may think of this as a how-to guide published by the Ministry of Truth.

(Via Ace of Spades; classical reference in headline.)

ROGER KIMBALL: A fresh assassination of Brett Kavanaugh’s character. Shame, shame on The New York Times and its sweaty minions for abetting the revival of this grotesque calumny:

Since we’re walking down memory lane by looking back at the disgusting effort to destroy Brett Kavanaugh, it is worth reminding ourselves about what was at stake in that perverted effort to weaponize the nomination process for partisan ends. Kavanaugh himself summarized it eloquently. Dismissing as groundless ‘smears’ the cornucopia of allegations that had been fabricated like little ju ju dolls to destroy him, he went on to note that such evidence-free allegations not only ‘debase our public discourse,’

‘they are also a threat to any man or woman who wishes to serve our country. Such grotesque and obvious character assassination — if allowed to succeed — will dissuade competent and good people of all political persuasions from service. As I told the committee during my hearing, a federal judge must be independent, not swayed by public or political pressure. That is the kind of judge I will always be. I will not be intimidated into withdrawing from this process. The coordinated effort to destroy my good name will not drive me out. The vile threats of violence against my family will not drive me out. The last-minute character assassination will not succeed.’

God bless Brett Kavanaugh. And shame, shame on The New York Times and its sweaty minions for abetting the revival of this grotesque calumny.

As libertarian Twitter user Neontaster notes today, “This is why they ran the story on a Saturday night. Fewer people will stick around to see how quickly it fell apart.” Read the whole thing.

SKYNET SMILES: How drones are dramatically changing warfare. The attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil facility that Glenn linked to yesterday is a reminder that “Within a very few years, every vulnerable public building, sports stadium or city center will have to install some kind of drone defense,” James Adams writes at Spectator USA.

Adams notes that Heathrow Airport dodged a protest by radical environmentalists intending to disrupt the airport via a massed drone strike “because Heathrow – unlike the Saudis – has installed a sophisticated jamming system that is specifically designed to prevent drones flying inside a five kilometer exclusion zone. Such jammers are part of a huge new industry that has grown up with, on the one hand, enthusiasts able to buy drones in any electronics store and the defense industry selling systems to prevent drones flying over vulnerable targets around the world.”

Read the whole thing.

WE’VE DESCENDED INTO SOME SORT OF BIZARRE HELL-WORLD IN WHICH ANDREW SULLIVAN IS A VOICE OF SANITY: With the “1619 Project” the New York Times Has Abandoned Liberalism for Activism.

But the NYT chose a neo-Marxist rather than liberal path to make a very specific claim: that slavery is not one of many things that describe America’s founding and culture, it is the definitive one. Arguing that the “true founding” was the arrival of African slaves on the continent, period, is a bitter rebuke to the actual founders and Lincoln. America is not a messy, evolving, multicultural, religiously infused, Enlightenment-based, racist, liberating, wealth-generating kaleidoscope of a society. It’s white supremacy, which started in 1619, and that’s the key to understand all of it. America’s only virtue, in this telling, belongs to those who have attempted and still attempt to end this malign manifestation of white supremacy.

I don’t believe most African-Americans believe this, outside the elites. They’re much less doctrinaire than elite white leftists on a whole range of subjects. I don’t buy it either — alongside, I suspect, most immigrants, including most immigrants of color. Who would ever want to immigrate to such a vile and oppressive place? But it is extremely telling that this is not merely aired in the paper of record (as it should be), but that it is aggressively presented as objective reality. That’s propaganda, directed, as we now know, from the very top — and now being marched through the entire educational system to achieve a specific end. To present a truth as the truth is, in fact, a deception. And it is hard to trust a paper engaged in trying to deceive its readers in order for its radical reporters and weak editors to transform the world.

To be fair, it’s been “Gray Lady Down” for quite some time now.


In many ways, [Exorcist author William Peter Blatty] was a man of his times, and those times were confusing. In the summer of 1969 (the summer of Woodstock and the Tate-LoBianca murders), as he was holed up in a Lake Tahoe cabin, hammering out the first draft of The Exorcist on an IBM Selectric typewriter, America was in the midst of cultural and political upheaval—the arrival of the Pill, the rise and demise of the hippie counterculture, the Stonewall riots and the beginnings of the gay rights movement, the Women’s Liberation movement, and the rejection of puritanical attitudes towards sex and marriage. The liberalization of abortion laws by the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe vs. Wade would follow the publication of The Exorcist by two years—the same year William Friedkin’s film appeared in US theaters.

By that time, Blatty had already spent about a decade toiling in that most godless of trades, the Hollywood film industry, where he wrote screenplays, most of them sex farces, which is hardly the kind of work you’d associate with a devout Catholic. His second marriage was already on the rocks, and he was writing a novel that would soon become a film that earned the condemnation of the Catholic Church. Clearly, he wasn’t anybody’s idea of a family-values conservative. But if his id was in charge of his Hollywood playboy lifestyle, his superego seems to have been firmly in control of his literary imagination as he cranked out The Exorcist over nine months.

Notwithstanding the Church’s reflexive condemnation, The Exorcist is a deeply religious novel in which Catholic priests play the most heroic roles, martyring themselves to save the life of a little girl who isn’t even Catholic. (In 2011, the publisher brought out a 40th anniversary edition that had been lightly revised by Blatty to, among other things, make it more Catholic-friendly; if you plan to read The Exorcist, I recommend finding the original.) And, although the book is a cautionary tale about the harm that divorce can do to children, it is not a call for an end to all divorce, nor is it an argument against women in the workplace.

Although the demon inside of Regan accuses Chris of bringing about the divorce by putting her career ahead of her marriage, Blatty indicates that this isn’t the case. He portrays Chris as a loving mother and wife, who still hopes to reconcile with her husband. The divorce is clearly the result of Howard’s fragile ego and his inability to handle his wife’s success. Just before they begin the exorcism, Father Merrin reminds Father Karras not to speak with the demon, warning him, “Especially, do not listen to anything he says. The demon is a liar.”

Nevertheless, it is Merrin who makes the clearest plea for Americans to reconsider the idea of ending their troubled marriages.

Read the whole thing.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: You’re not ‘demisexual’…you’re a normal human being.

Comparing a person who doesn’t experience sexual desire separate from genuine human connection to an ‘asexual’ (i.e. a person who does not experience sexual attraction at all), as Seventeen magazine did last year, explaining that, ‘demisexuality is within the asexuality spectrum,’ signals to me that we’ve gone way too far down the porn culture rabbit hole. If I can offer any advice as the wise elder I am, it is to get off your phone and interact with people in the real world. If nothing else, you’ll learn a lot about yourself and others, and will at least be able to avoid wasting your time DM’ing someone who you can’t have a conversation with in person, never mind make out with. I may be pegged a radical for saying this, but let’s normalize humanity, not objectification.

Read the whole thing, as our current weird inflection point in time between the Sexual Revolution and the left’s recent #MeToo and Kavanaugh freakouts plays itself out.

YOUR DAILY TREACHER: Hillary Clinton Is Still Pretending She Won.

She’s like Teddy Brewster in Arsenic and Old Lace, who was convinced he was actually Teddy Roosevelt. Everybody played along because it was just easier that way. But eventually, they had him committed to a mental institution for his own good.

I hope Hillary’s loved ones don’t do that to her. I don’t want her to go away to the funny farm. I want her to keep running around in public, humiliating herself for my amusement. I want her to serve as a constant reminder that things could always be worse.

I’m With Her (Downward Spiral)!

Heh. Read the whole thing.™

YOUR DAILY TREACHER: NYT: ‘Airplanes Took Aim’ on 9/11.

Yes, terrorists did it. Islamic terrorists. That’s what happened. Saying so doesn’t make you a racist, and avoiding it won’t keep Islamic terrorists from striking again.

I’ll never understand the mindset. They know Islamic terrorists did it. Yet their first impulse was to say that the “airplanes took aim.” As if nobody would notice. They had to be publicly shamed into grudgingly admitting even a partial truth about what really happened.

And they still think they’re better than us.

Read the whole thing.

THIS IS CNN: America’s 9/11 Amnesia: Right-Wingers Are America’s Deadliest Terrorists.

CNN’s Brian Stelter tweeted a segment by his colleague John Avlon, with the chyron reading, “America’s 9/11 Amnesia.”

Avlon attacked President Trump, before pivoting to what he calls, “another form of violent extremism: white nationalist terrorism.”

“Here’s a startling statistic,” he drones on. “Since 9/11 right wing terrorists have killed more people in the United States than jihadist terror. That’s according to New America.”

‘New America’ is one of your classic D.C. think tanks packed to the gunwales with establishment foreign policy impresarios, including — though not disclosed — Avlon’s CNN colleague Fareed Zakaria.

Amongst New America’s donors are the same old names: the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Google, the Omidyar Network, and of course George Soros’s Open Society Foundations.

But New America didn’t publish such a report, it simply aggregated an article written by the far-left Slate magazine. The author — Daniel Byman — has written about “right wing” terrorism almost every other month this year for Slate, with headlines ranging from Right-Wing Terrorism Could Get Even Worse After Trump” to “Trump’s Rhetoric Is Raising the Risk of Right-Wing Terrorism.” Breadth, perhaps, is not Byman’s strong suit.

On Aug. 5, 2019, he published what CNN laundered as a think-tank article by New America, titled: “Right-Wingers Are America’s Deadliest Terrorists.”

Byman’s article in turn leans on research conducted for New America, by author Peter Bergen, another CNN employee. You see how the D.C. merry-go-round works?

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: “Pretty f***ing bold to use the chyron ‘America’s 9/11 Amnesia’ while showing articles claiming ‘Right-Wingers Are America’s Deadliest Terrorists’ which memory hole the fact that, um, al-Qaeda’s attacks on 9/11 killing 3,000 people were by far the deadliest in American history,” Jerry Dunleavy of the Washington Examiner tweets in response.

RIP: T. Boone Pickens, larger-than-life energy tycoon and Oklahoma State University diehard, dies at 91.

L.A. movie producers would have been hard-pressed to create an exaggerated Hollywood version of the real-life man.

“Ralph Waldo Emerson said,  ‘Do not go where the path might lead, but instead go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.’ That was Boone,” said retired banker Alan White, one of Pickens’ closest friends. “Boone was always going some place where there was no path. He left trails all of his life. Many of us had the good fortune of being able to follow along with him.”

Pickens is the third Dallas business icon to die this year — following the deaths of Herb Kelleher in January and Ross Perot Sr. in July.

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): We interviewed Pickens for the late, lamented Glenn & Helen Show. His “wind corridor” never really got off the ground — and this 2008 interview predates the fracking boom — but it’s still a fun conversation with a genuine giant.

MEANWHILE, OVER AT VODKAPUNDIT: Americans Who Can’t Agree on Anything Agree Our Media Sucks.

Next time you’re at the grocery store, try counting the number of deodorants there are to choose from (sorry, Bernie!), and see which happens first: You add up the total, or you grow a ZZ Top beard. Now go down the aisle a little ways and try totaling up your shaving options. Hurry it up, please — I haven’t got all day.

Let’s not even get started on the number of faiths and denominations Americans have to choose from, because I’m trying to keep this column light and friendly.

All this choice, all these options — they’re a good thing, especially for 320 million people who can’t agree on much of anything.

And yet according to new research, there is one issue upon which virtually every American can and does agree: Our news media sucks.

Read the whole thing, if you don’t mind me saying so myself.

ROGER SIMON: After Bolton, Should Trump Be Talking to Despots?

But what to do about Afghanistan?  Trump wants to leave but Bolton wants to stay.  To be honest, fifteen years ago I would have agreed with Bolton – and so would have many of you, I wager.  And most of our political establishment, right and left, would have too. In fact, they did. Remember “Democracy, whiskey, sexy”?  How we would turn Iraq into Denmark…

But for quite a while now most of us have learned otherwise.  Horrid as Afghanistan may be — and a culture much of which still treats women like chattel and young boys like concubines in 2019, not to mention subsisting on the production of opium poppies, is pretty horrid indeed — there is little we can do about it.  Enough of our young people have been killed or wounded, enough of our treasure spent.  Basta!  Let’s get out, intelligently obviously (i. e. not like Vietnam).

Read the whole thing.


…China’s intellectual property theft is more than tax theft. Since the spying robs U.S. institutions and corporations of products and royalties, over time it becomes a form of trade theft, a long-range, indirect attack on U.S. future productivity.

Stealing knowledge may have immediate payoffs, but the drain on future productivity eventually contributes to weakening the U.S.

Seeding key American corporations, research and educational institutes, and media organizations with people China can influence or blackmail might eventually weaken American will to counter Chinese imperial adventurism. The U.S. has the political will to contest China’s slow invasion of the South China Sea. However, after 20 years of funding research and buying influence, America might not be so willing.

The bottom line: ” To counter China’s pervasive threat, the U.S. must attack China’s money — it’s economy. The time to do that is now.”

You should read the whole thing.

GERARD VAN DER LEUN: September 10, 2001: “Make no mistake, it’s not revenge he’s after. It’s a reckoning.”

Read the whole thing.


At the start of Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s novel In the First Circle, a Soviet diplomat on home leave in Moscow tries to make an anonymous call to the U.S. embassy. His purpose: warning the Americans of a Soviet theft of atomic secrets. But he gets a dull-witted, indifferent embassy staffer on the line, and the call goes nowhere. Or almost nowhere. The call is monitored by Soviet security. Arrested and imprisoned at the end of the novel, the diplomat’s final thought about Americans is that “prosperity breeds idiots.”

Solzhenitsyn’s diplomat channels views that were clearly held by the author himself. Comfort and safety, enjoyed too long in the West, invite complacency—and complacency leads to stupidity. As a gulag survivor, Solzhenitsyn had a barely disguised disgust for Western elites with little experience of political murder and repression. Nor could he abide the legion of fools who seemed fascinated, from a secure and prosperous distance, with socialist thought.

Read the whole thing.

YOUR DAILY TREACHER: Valerie Plame Drives a Fast Car, So New Mexico Should Elect Her to Congress.

Well, whatever. It’s politics. Since when has the truth mattered? It’s not about what did or didn’t happen in real life. It’s about awesome stunt driving and strutting toward the camera in slow motion while somebody plays generic blues-rock. It’s about declaring yourself a victim of those evil Republicans. It’s about telling people what they want to hear about their hated enemies.

“Get your revenge: Vote for me!”

It’s pure nonsense, and I assume she’ll win.

Congratulations in advance, Valerie. Beats getting a real job, right?

Heh. Read the whole thing.™

Related: Valerie Plame: Let’s Just Forget about that Anti-Semitism Thing.

WOW: The Trayvon Hoax That Divided America Is About to Be Exposed.

Having written a book on the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin — If I Had a Son– I have been following Gilbert’s progress with interest. In fact, I introduced Gilbert to George Zimmerman, the man who shot Martin. Those who have followed the case know that not since the Scottsboro boys has any ordinary citizen endured the kind of malicious and conspicuously false reporting Zimmerman has. My hope was that Gilbert would set the record straight.

Gilbert has done that and more. In the course of his relentless research into the shooting and subsequent trial, I can say without risk of overstatement that he has unearthed a legal fraud the likes of which I know no parallel. Not only has Gilbert discovered it, but he has also proved it six ways from Sunday, including DNA and handwriting analysis.

Read the whole thing.

GIVING UP THE GAME: “Even before attorney Debra Katz took on Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s primary accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, as a client, she was someone the abusive and unscrupulous should have feared. At least, that’s how she was portrayed in the press:”

As it turns out, Katz wasn’t as opposed to a “highly politicized environment” as she maintained. “In the aftermath of these hearings, I believe that Christine’s testimony brought about more good than the harm misogynist Republicans caused by allowing Kavanaugh on the court,” Katz told attendees at the University of Baltimore’s Feminist Legal Theory Conference this past April. “He will always have an asterisk next to his name. When he takes a scalpel to Roe v. Wade, we will know who he is, we know his character, and we know what motivates him. And that is important; it is important that we know, and that is part of what motivated Christine.”

Only someone with a lawyer’s gift for prevarication could fail to comprehend Katz’s meaning. In this textbook definition of the Kinsley gaffe, Katz has revealed that not only was she motivated to litigate the claims against Kavanaugh for the advantageous political effect they would have but that her client was, too. And what was that desired effect? Affixing an “asterisk” to Kavanaugh’s record so that his judgments and decisions would be regarded as animated by biases and prejudices and would be, therefore, suspect if not entirely illegitimate.

This is an admission entirely against interest, in part, because you do not have to announce the presence of an asterisk if it truly exists. The Democratic partisans who insist Justice Clarence Thomas has been similarly undermined are screaming into a void. His concurrences and dissents still carry as much moral and intellectual weight as any other justice. He still influences the evolution of legal thought as much as or more than his colleagues on the bench. His clerks still get confirmed to federal judicial appointments in striking numbers. The notion that Kavanaugh’s reputation had been irreparably tarred in some way by his confirmation hearings isn’t an observation. It’s a self-affirmation.

Read the whole thing.

ROGER SIMON: It’s Time for Conservatives to Build their Own Hollywood.

What is needed here by investors on the right is a little guts for a change. It shouldn’t be so hard, but somehow it is–or has been.  It’s obviously true that film, theatre, publishing are risky investments, but the center-to-right audience is huge.  Plenty of “proof of concept” exists with films like “The Blind Side,”  “Lone Survivor” and “American Sniper” just some examples of box offices smashes that fit that profile.

Now those movies have something in common other than their ideologies — they’re good. (They also don’t hammer you over the head with their views.) And that, of course, is the bottom line.  If art isn’t well made, it doesn’t matter where its heart is.  And if it isn’t free to skewer both sides — like Dave Chappelle’s hilarious new show that apparently has offended the left — it isn’t worth much either.

Read the whole thing.



…Michael Yon reports that one can feel the collective political and emotional change on Hong Kong’s streets — change that may have dire consequences.

Has the protestors’ cause gone beyond autonomy?

Sometime during the past three weeks, (Yon) mused, the situation went beyond civil unrest. “It is clear that a growing number want to overthrow the HK government,” he said. Though he had yet to hear anyone say it, he bet that “within just a week or so they will be saying it.” He speculated an insurgency could erupt because “clearly many protestors would rather see the city burn than just surrender.”

As Stephen Green noted in an earlier post, the Hong Kong government has withdrawn the “Extradition Bill” (nickname for the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019). The BBC calls the bill “controversial.” Despicable is more apt.

Is Beijing having second thoughts?

The column’s conclusion:

Beijing must de-escalate the Hong Kong crisis. If the regime resorts to force and kills hundreds, if not thousands, of Hong Kong citizens, President Donald Trump will use that heinous act to unite the world against communist China.

Stay tuned. And read the whole thing.


Freelance correspondent Michael Yon reports that one can feel the collective political and emotional change on Hong Kong’s streets — change that may have dire consequences.

My latest Creators Syndicate column. Read the whole thing.

RICHARD FERNANDEZ: While Elites Gnaw on Stale Agendas, the Future Is Full of Things We’ve Yet to Imagine.

Today the political elites are in a crisis resulting from an expected future that didn’t happen. The End of History didn’t pan out; Russia and China failed to join the liberal democratic club; the EU fell apart. The global world failed to last. But Brexit and the defeat of Hillary did not spur them to listen; instead, it inspired frantic efforts to reimpose absolute control via Chinese 5G, facial recognition, Google surveillance, G7 pacts against hate speech, and the NYT witch hunt against white supremacy.

Is it any wonder they are failing? That depression is rising among youngsters and social tensions are increasing? Not only are they jamming themselves, they are suppressing the small still voice that whispers in the heart of undiscovered genius. As the political elites gnaw at the ends of their stale agendas it is hard to remember that the future is still full of hope, danger, love, opportunity and things yet undreamed of. Will we send ourselves an interocitor? Maybe. But if we’re not free to listen for the signal then the world will most certainly be stuck with a politically correct and strictly rationed turboencabulator.

Read the whole thing. While I’m also optimistic that “the future is full of things we’ve yet to imagine,” getting there will be remarkably turbulent for many in what were once mass media industries, as I write today: Rock Music Is on Life Support. Is Hollywood Next?

MASS. JUDGE TO ANTIFA: “Stay out of Boston.”

Three of the 36 anti-Straight Pride Parade protesters being arraigned today were ordered to “stay out of Boston” by a judge who said he wouldn’t even allow one of them to visit relatives in Jamaica Plain.

All three were accused of assault and battery on police at Saturday’s downtown parade, with two of them also arraigned in Boston Municipal Court on disorderly and resisting arrest charges. Others also arraigned today were told to stay out of downtown.

Judge Thomas Horgan said the three risked being put in jail for 90 days if they didn’t follow his instructions. “Stay out of Boston,” Horgan repeated when the attorney for one of the men asked that his client only be forbidden from downtown Boston so he could visit relatives in Jamaica Plain.

“They’re going to have to go visit him, then,” Horgan said.

Good. Read the whole thing.


On August 12, conservative lawyer Leif Olson began work in the Trump administration’s Department of Labor. On September 3, he resigned, after Bloomberg Law published what seemed to be a shocking expose of his anti-Semitism. The only problem: the entire allegation was false. Simply put, poor reporting took Olson’s clear mockery of Breitbart and the alt-right and recast it as support. Here’s how.

Just think of the media as Democratic Party operatives with bylines, and it all makes sense. Read the whole thing.

Related: At Hot Air, Allahpundit adds:

I assume Olson’s resignation will be belatedly unaccepted as this becomes a conservative cause celebre online today. Maybe even you-know-who will weigh in with a tweet or two; a case of the media falsely accusing someone on his side as bigoted to serve its own agenda is political gold for him, a smoking gun that they’re cutthroat and can’t be trusted in their commentary on Trump himself. Coincidentally, this episode is playing out on the same day that Axios is reporting that allies of Trump are raising money to investigate the social-media (and personal?) histories of members of the media, a process that’s already resulted in embarrassment for the New York Times.

“Good luck finding anyone in conservative activism who has a problem with those tactics after episodes like this. Turnabout is fair play,” he concludes.

DNC-MSM: HOW DARE YOU SEARCH THROUGH OUR OLD TWEETS. ALSO DNC-MSM: Shameful: Trump Labor appointee forced to resign after Bloomberg portrays sarcastic 2016 Facebook post as anti-Semitic.

What’s particularly amazing is that [Bloomberg reporter Ben] Penn, the reporter on the story, is showing no remorse, defending his article as merely having asked questions to the department about it. But he is clearly still stating as a matter of fact that Olson was engaging in anti-Semitism, writing, “This is the latest in a series of mishaps under the Trump administration personnel vetting system. What makes this one remarkable is that Olson’s Facebook page was public to his nonfriends. Any cursory screening of his social media accounts could’ve uncovered the anti-Semitism.”

This is a shameful episode in media bias, no doubt, but the Trump administration shares some of the blame here too. For all of Trump’s attacks on the media and tendency to be unapologetic about his own remarks, [Leif] Olson was largely hung out to dry here. They could have stood by him, fought back by saying that it was clearly sarcastic. Instead, they let somebody be smeared and lose his job and have his life disrupted based on a sick lie.

Read the whole thing, and note that even lefties such as Jonathan Chait and never-Trumpers like John Podhoretz are attacking Penn.

UNLIKE HIS PREDECESSORS TRUMP GETS CHINA: Paul Mirengoff excerpts Chinese human rights activist Chen Guangcheng’s Washington Post op-ed that praises the Trump Administration’s China policy. Chinese dissidents “note and appreciate what [Trump] is doing.” Read the whole thing.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: The GOAT, Roger Simon’s Latest Novel, Goes on Sale Sept. 1. As Paula Bolyard writes in her review:

This is the first book that Roger has self-published. (He explained his reasons here.) As conservatives, we should all applaud — and support — such efforts. Self-publishing puts authors in the driver’s seat, freeing them from the whims of corporate book publishers and Big Tech control freaks. And while I’d encourage you to buy Roger’s book for that reason alone, I assure you it won’t be a fully altruistic effort on your part — I’m confident you’ll enjoy the book as much as I did. Believe me, you won’t be able to put it down.

Read the whole thing. DIY – it’s not just for music and journalism anymore. Buy The GOAT here.

ANDREW KLAVAN: ‘Watergate’ Doesn’t Mean What the Press Thinks It Means.

Recently, reading Mark Levin’s Unfreedom of the Press, I was reminded that, before reporters went on their great crusade against Richard Nixon, they had overlooked a whole lot of corruption in the Democrat presidents who preceded him.

Levin tells how John F. Kennedy, with the knowledge of his brother and Attorney General Robert, nudged the IRS into auditing conservative groups. With Kennedy approval, the FBI was also employed to investigate those the administration disliked, including Martin Luther King Jr. Lyndon Baines Johnson would later increase the politically motivated auditing and spying. None of this was uncovered until later on.

Ben Bradlee — the editor of the Washington Post, where Woodward and Bernstein broke the Watergate story — was well aware of his pal Kennedy’s misuse of the tax and investigative agencies. Not only did he not report it, he allowed himself and his paper to be manipulated by information JFK had wrongly obtained.

This totally changes the Watergate narrative. Nixon’s dirty tricks and enemy lists may have been creepy and wrong, but the press exposure of these misdemeanors came after years of ignoring similar and worse malfeasance by Democrat administrations.

That changes what Watergate means. That transforms it from a heroic crusade into a political hit job, Democrat hackery masquerading as nobility. The press turned a blind eye to the corruption of JFK and LBJ, then raced to overturn the election of a man they despised—despised in part because he battled the Communism many of them had espoused.

What is it Karl Marx said: History repeats itself, the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce?

Read the whole thing. While the left launched Watergate to destroy Nixon, the discovery by the American people that It Didn’t Start With Watergate, as Victor Lasky accurately titled his 1977 book did much to make the distrust of government an “unexpectedly” bipartisan affair in the 1970s. Or as David Frum puts it in his 2000 book How We Got Here: The 70s The Decade That Brought You Modern Life — For Better Or Worse: 

Some blame Watergate for this abrupt collapse of trust in institutions, but not very convincingly. For one thing, the decline in trust begins to appear in the polls as early as 1966, almost a decade before the Watergate was known as anything more than a big hole in the ground alongside the Potomac River. For another, the nation had managed unconcernedly to shrug off Watergate-style events before. Somebody bugged Barry Goldwater’s apartment during the 1964 election without it triggering a national trauma. The Johnson administration tapped the phones of Nixon supporters in 1968, and again nothing happened. John F. Kennedy regaled reporters with intimate details from the tax returns of wealthy Republican donors, and none of the reporters saw anything amiss. FDR used the Federal Bureau of Investigation to spy on opponents of intervention into World War II—and his targets howled without result. If Watergate could so transform the nation’s sense of itself, why did those previous abuses, which were equally well known to the press, not do so? Americans did not lose their faith in institutions because of the Watergate scandal; Watergate became a scandal because Americans were losing faith in their institutions.

Which brings us back to Andrew Klavan’s article above, in which he writes, “History repeats itself, the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce…Like the Nixon takedown, the attacks on Trump come after years of turning a blind eye to the corruption of a Democrat. Obama’s IRS campaign against the Tea Party? His lies about Benghazi? His Fast and Furious fiasco? His shutdown of a massive drug investigation to appease Iran? No big deal. Obama was, as almost every mainstream outlet has declared, ‘scandal free.’”

Read the whole thing.

#JOURNALISM: 24 Hours Of Media Malpractice.

Late Tuesday afternoon, some conservatives on Twitter started grumbling about an article the Washington Post published that morning. The op-ed in question accused best-selling conservative author J.D. Vance of being racist, and otherwise tried dubiously to connect the dots between mainstream pro-life advocates and white supremacists. At a speech in July, Vance said the following: “Our people aren’t having enough children to replace themselves. That should bother us.” Washington Post contributor Marissa Brostoff characterized the remark by saying, “Vance did not spell out exactly who was included in the word ‘our.’ He didn’t need to.” Her clear implication was that Vance was referring to the fact he only wanted to have white children. This would be news to Vance, since he’s married to a woman of color, and his best-selling “Hillbilly Elegy” ­– a movie version, directed by Oscar winner Ron Howard, is in post-production – is a very critical look at the mores of poor white Americans.

And Vance did, in fact, spell out exactly what his pronoun referred to. A couple of sentences earlier in his remarks, which Brostoff didn’t bother to read closely, he makes it clear he’s referring to all Americans. Low birth rates are a serious concern in Western countries for many reasons, including the need to sustain liberal welfare policies, which have nothing to do with racism.

The Post printed a correction after all this was pointed out, but that doesn’t answer the question of how it got published in the first place. Once upon a time, accusing people of racism was a serious matter. If you were going to do it in print, editors would demand it was sufficiently backed up by evidence. But if Brostoff is to be believed, “my editor suggested that Vance’s comments might be added to the list of evidence being marshaled” and “we both did our due diligence in putting them in context.” Perhaps it’s telling that this op-ed appeared in a section of the Washington Post’s website called “Post Everything,” a title that, based on many other ill-advised opinion pieces that have run under that heading, appears to have become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The whole point of journalism is that you don’t post everything – you make sure it’s fair and accurate first.

A few hours after the controversy over Brostoff’s article flared up, on Lawrence O’Donnell’s 10 p.m. MSNBC show he delivered a blockbuster report that a Russian oligarch co-signed loans Trump took out. O’Donnell apparently kept repeating “if true” in regard to the assertion throughout the segment.

And that’s just the beginning. Related: J.D. Vance just the latest right-thinker to be smeared by leftist lies.

If you want to understand the power of social media in weaponizing and accelerating the left’s attack on truth and ­decency, look no further than The Washington Post’s false accusation this week that J.D. Vance, author of the bestselling memoir “Hillbilly Elegy,” is a closet white supremacist.

This is the anatomy of a Twitter lynching, a good man’s reputation strung up and beaten to a pulp. In the impressionistic half-life of ­social media’s attention span, the damage can never really be undone.

Marissa Brostoff’s column trying to link the pro-life movement to white nationalism was stupid enough to have been rejected by a proper newspaper, but it is astonishing that the smear against Vance made it through any honest editing process.

Her thesis is that pro-life conservatives oppose abortion not because they believe every human life is sacred, but because they fear that abortion will accelerate the demographic “replacement” of white people by nonwhite immigrants.

It’s a stupid argument, considering black babies are aborted at five times the rate of white babies in America, as even the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute ­admits.

Brostoff arrives at the point only in her final paragraphs, in what amounts to a rhetorical drive-by shooting of Vance, whom she introduces as her sole example that white-supremacist ideas have become mainstream conservative thought.

She’s a lefty hack boosting a political agenda, without principles or morals. Or, in other words, a typical journalist today.


I was most intrigued by Wax’s statement that “essentially what the left is saying is: We can’t even answer the question…  Once we’ve labelled something as racist, the conversation stops.”  When I asked her whether President Trump’s unapologetic rhetoric that stands up to this sort of Orwellian-control could combat this stifling and intellectual laziness, she said, “Not really, because progressives control the universities and the mainstream media.  They are unmoved by candor and plain speaking – it just enrages them.  And they go into attack mode.  Much of Trump Derangement Syndrome can be explained this way.”

Professor Wax is totally correct that this does enrage modern progressives.  But in the words of Sun Tzu in The Art of War, “If you know your opponent is temperamental, seek to irritate him.”

President Trump does not allow Leftists the free assault of calling him a racist.  In fact, he hits them back with the charge.  He has called “The Squad”, Rep. Elijah Cummings and even Hollywood racists.  Instead of getting trapped in defending himself from this idea of veiled racism (remember: It’s impossible to prove that you aren’t a racist), he just hits them back.  And the last thing modern Democrats can handle is a parallel drawn to their own racist history.

Read the whole thing.

FROM GEORGE KORDA, A REMINDER: It used to be unsafe for U.S. soldiers to travel alone in America.

I was in an Atlanta airport concourse the other day when the place erupted in cheers.

There was nothing on the TVs of special note. A moment earlier everyone seemed to be doing what people do in an airport concourse, stand around hoping their plane leaves on time.

Then, I saw the reason for the applause. A group of U.S. military service members was walking through the concourse. As people noticed them, they cheered and applauded, causing more people to notice, with more cheering and applause.

How times have changed. In a good way. It used to be much different, and not that long ago.

One evening in Dec. 1974, shortly after leaving Ft. Benning, in Columbus, Georgia, for my new assignment at the Office of the Chief of Public Affairs, U.S. Army, Europe headquarters, a bunch of us, enlisted men, were sitting around and talking in someone’s barracks room. Doug, a short-timer about to get out of the Army, said he couldn’t wait to get back to the U.S. because, he said, “There are a lot of Germans who hate American soldiers.”

Reflecting on this, I said, “Doug, you can walk down any American street and run into a lot of Americans who hate American soldiers.”

The room became quiet. Some nodded. We all knew it to be true, but there was nothing we could do about it.

Read the whole thing.

ROBERT SPENCER: Everybody Must Get Stoned – Except Ilhan Omar.

Omar has joined the Clintons and their cronies in the new protected class in America, made up of people who are above the law, any law, because their importance, power and influence overrides all other considerations. Will she reward this development with her gratitude? Will she become kinder in her appraisal of her adopted country, which unlike the country of her birth, will not require her death for this offense? Don’t bet on it.

Read the whole thing.

LIONEL SHRIVER: The abject stupidity of the San Francisco George Washington murals debacle.

So what’s the problem with these images? I fear I will bore you. ‘Don’t tell us,’ you say. ‘Pictures of slaves and dead Indians make students feel “unsafe”. The murals are “offensive” to certain “communities”. Did we get that right?’ Of course you did. But to be fair, when 49 freshmen at George Washington High were asked to write about the murals, only four wanted the works erased; the rest would preserve them intact, visible, and in place. Aside from a handful of noisy activists, this isn’t a snowflake story. It’s the grown-ups who are the idiots, and who assume that their city’s children are idiots — since if there are any kids who repeatedly pass these murals on the way to class and fail to get their message (and that’s hard to imagine), these children are already in a school where at least in theory one learns things.

It’s progressives of the sort who sit on the San Francisco School Board who are always banging on about the importance of teaching students the sordid aspects of American history. They’re the ones who would happily set aside lessons on the ingenious civic architecture of the Constitution in preference for concentrating solely on the document’s initial hypocrisy over slavery, and who denigrate George Washington as a slaveholder. They’re the ones who love nothing better than to induce a burning sense of hereditary shame in upcoming generations over how the West was won. So they’re the ones who, we presume, had they the talent, would paint the very murals they now want to obscure. ‘Bewildering’ doesn’t begin to say it.

Would that I could reassure my British readers that this urge to artistic vandalism is an American affliction, perhaps one specific to whackadoodle California. But campaigns to take down monuments and ban art that doesn’t pass an ever-stricter political purity test is not constrained to the US.

Read the whole thing, as the left’s cancel culture airbrushes down the memory hole the work of a communist painter hired by the FDR administration, in the name of what Rod Dreher dubbed “moralistic therapeutic barbarism.”


Ron Fellows played cornerback for the Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Raiders from 1981–1988. He intercepted 19 passes and scored three touchdowns, including two on interception returns. Now 61 years old and living in Sacramento, Calif., Fellows suffers from Alzheimer’s, and his cognition is gradually declining. What follows is a description of life from the perspective of Debra Fellows, Ron’s wife since 2002, as told to Dom Cosentino.

Just recently, Ron’s best friend, who played for the Raiders, called me and said, “He’s getting worse isn’t he, Deb?” And I said, “Yeah.” And he hasn’t seen him in person for a couple of months. He said, “I can hear it on the phone … He’s angry all of the time.” And I said, “Exactly.”

While quarterback Andrew Luck was recently given plenty of grief by Indianapolis Colts fans for walking away from the NFL at age 29, the article above by Fellows’ wife, whose husband left the game at about the same age, is a harrowing tale of what awaits far too many players (and the families who look after them) after their careers are over. Read the whole thing.

Related: The hardships of 11 former NFL players show why Andrew Luck’s early retirement shouldn’t come as a surprise.


(Via Ace of Spades.)

PRIVACY: I Visited 47 Sites. Hundreds of Trackers Followed Me.

Like a colonoscopy, the project involved some special prep. I had to install a version of the Firefox web browser that was created by privacy researchers to monitor how websites track users’ data. For several days this spring, I lived my life through this Invasive Firefox, which logged every site I visited, all the advertising tracking servers that were watching my surfing and all the data they obtained. Then I uploaded the data to my colleagues at The Times, who reconstructed my web sessions into the gloriously invasive picture of my digital life you see here. (The project brought us all very close; among other things, they could see my physical location and my passwords, which I’ve since changed.)

What did we find? The big story is as you’d expect: that everything you do online is logged in obscene detail, that you have no privacy. And yet, even expecting this, I was bowled over by the scale and detail of the tracking; even for short stints on the web, when I logged into Invasive Firefox just to check facts and catch up on the news, the amount of information collected about my endeavors was staggering.

Read the whole thing.

HMM: Conrad Black: 2020 Vote Looks Like 1972 — With No Watergate.

It is exquisite that Mr. Trump has used the hard-left social press to outmaneuver the traditional media kingmakers and now nods approvingly as Senators Warren and Sanders and their allies attack the new media cartel, whose leading figures are almost as hostile to the president as are those seeking the Democratic nomination against him next year.

Whatever anyone might think of the president’s public personality, his progress toward his goal of radically altering the government and shattering or co-opting the long-tenured OBushinton political establishment has been a relentless and unstoppable juggernaut. His candidacy was mocked, his chances of election were minimized, his ability to avoid impeachment was artificially maintained in doubt for over two years, and the idea that he will be easy to defeat next year is only starting to expire, strangled by facts.

The country is prosperous and the attempt to orchestrate economic pessimism will be no more successful than all the bunk about misogyny, incitements to violence, “racially charged” demagogy, corruption, treason, chaos in the White House, and the rest of it.

Read the whole thing.

AYN RAND DIDN’T INTEND FOR THE RETURN OF THE PRIMITIVE TO BE A HOW-TO GUIDE: “Remember the guy who shot multiple people in Dayton OH?”, James Lileks asks. “There was one thing that stood out, because it was new. He was a member of the ‘Menstrual Munchies,’ a ‘pornogrind’ band…Now, the kicker: ‘Musicians in this genre posted messages online saying they were disgusted by Betts’s actions.’ Why? What gives these lazy-brained uncultured guitar-abusers the standing to be disgusted by someone shooting up a nightclub?”

Read the whole thing.

GOVERNMENT MEDICINE: I Was a Physician at a Federally Qualified Health Center. Here’s Why I No Longer Believe Government Health Care Can Work.

For example, one of the requirements for federally qualified health centers is that they must maintain a certain number of physician assistants and nurse practitioners. Rural health clinics were the first sites to receive a federal mandate to hire non-physician practitioners.

For me, this meant supervising a physician assistant from day one. And within a few months, a brand new nurse practitioner was added to my list of responsibilities. Despite this extra workload, there was no time allotted in my schedule to provide education, review charts or discuss cases—nor was I compensated for my extra duties.

Federal regulations also create massive amounts of paperwork. While the medical staff worked hard to move patients through the registration process, my schedule often ran hours behind as forms were signed and documents reviewed.

This bottleneck often led to me starting my day late and working into the evening. When I started coming in a bit later than my assigned start time, knowing that patients would not be ready for me, I was given a stern warning by administrators.

Medicine is going to get worse, as those best-qualified to become doctors decide the bureaucratic BS isn’t worth the bother.

And do read the whole thing.

HMM: Beijing is manufacturing the circumstances to justify brutal intervention in Hong Kong.

The normal Beijing playbook for managing dissent has just not worked in Hong Kong, for four main reasons. First, the protest movement in Hong Kong is what Beijing truly fears—a mass movement whose scale is undeniable. And there’s no clear leadership group Beijing can arrest or intimidate to decapitate the protests, although the authorities have continued to arrest those they think might be important.

On top of this, the protesters have been incredibly innovative in shifting the nature, location and tactics of the protests, making containment impracticable. They’ve drawn on international sources of inspiration, as we saw with the kilometres-long ‘human chain’ on the weekend, which echoed the ‘Baltic Way’ protests in 1989 that helped topple Soviet rule in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

And lastly, the protests have been broadcast virally by multiple eyewitnesses through social media and have been covered extensively in the international media. Pretending they’re just by a small group of extremists or about low-level issues, which has worked in the curated information environment of mainland China, just hasn’t washed with international audiences and governments.

So, we’ve got to a point where the playbook needs to turn a page.

Read the whole thing.

THE 100 BEST JAZZ ALBUMS YOU NEED IN YOUR COLLECTION: Even the author admits that this is Brit GQ’s “totally subjective list of the 100 best jazz albums in the world * *Purists beware. You may be alarmed and offended,” but what’s fascinating is the throat-clearing before getting to the list:

“Jazz is for people who don’t like music,” says GQ’s Deputy Editor; it must be fun to play, he says, because it sure ain’t fun to listen to. (“I remember this tune,” he’ll say, “which is more than the guy playing it does.”) It is, in the words of some forgotten Eighties comedian, six guys on stage playing different tunes. GQ even ran a joke about it a few years ago: “Q: Why do some people instantly hate jazz?” “A: It saves time in the long run.” Even my youngest daughter hated it at the time. Aged five, after being subjected to hours of Charlie Parker in the car one weekend, she said, “I don’t like this music. There are no songs for me to sing to.” (The only jazz tune she liked is “Everybody Want To Be A Cat” from Disney’s The Aristocats.) Unbeknown to her, she was echoing John Lennon’s little-known jibe: “Jazz never does anything.”

Some people’s innate hatred of jazz is simply the result of an unfortunate experience, but then anyone who’s witnessed Art Blakey performing a three-and-a-half hour drum solo is entitled to feel a little peeved (and I speak as someone who has seen one at close quarters). On top of this, some people just don’t get it. Like the later work of James Joyce, the films of Tarkovsky and “tax harmonisation”, the fact that some things will always lie just beyond the common understanding is something jazz enthusiasts must learn to live with.

Also, jazz has often been victim to the vagaries of fashion, destined to be revived at the most inappropriate moments. The last time jazz was really in the limelight was back in the mid-Eighties, when it became the soundtrack du jour in thousands of matt-black bachelor flats all over designer Britain and when every style magazine and beer ad seemed to look like a Blue Note album cover. Jazz went from being a visceral, corporeal music to a lifestyle soundtrack. This was the age of Style Council, of Absolute Beginners… of Sting. Buying into jazz was meant to lend your life a patina of exotic sophistication and was used to sell everything from Filofaxes and coffee machines to designer jeans and sports cars.

In his excellent book, Jazz 101: A Complete Guide To Learning And Loving Jazz, John F Szwed writes: “The life and look of the black jazz musician offered a double attraction, that of the alienations of both artist and colour. Whatever jazz might have been as an actual occupation, the jazz musician offered one of the first truly nonmechanical metaphors of the 20th century. Now, whether one has heard of Charlie Parker or not, we inherit a motion of cool, an idea of well-etched individuality, a certain angle of descent.”

If jazz started life as a subversive sexual extension of ragtime, blues, boogie-woogie and the New Orleans sound, by the end of the century it had become the soundtrack of accomplishment, a way of upstairs acknowledging downstairs in the manner of nostalgie de la boue.

Read the whole thing, though if you know even the tiniest bit about popular postwar jazz albums, you’ll spot the number one title on the list coming from a mile away.

(Via Terry Teachout.)

SKIN IN THE GAME: The U.S. can slash health-care costs 75% with 2 fundamental changes — and without ‘Medicare for All.’

The first policy—price tags—is a necessary prerequisite for competition and efficiency. Under our current system, it’s nearly impossible for people with health insurance to find out in advance what anything covered by their insurance will end up costing. Patients have no way to comparison shop for procedures covered by insurance, and providers are under little pressure to lower costs.

By contrast, there is intense competition among the providers of medical services like LASIK eye surgery that aren’t covered by health insurance. For those procedures, providers must compete for market share and profits by figuring out ways to improve efficiency and lower prices. They must also advertise to get customers in the door, and must ensure high quality to generate customer loyalty and benefit from word of mouth.

That’s why the price of LASIK eye surgery, as just one example, has fallen so dramatically even as quality has soared. Adjusted for inflation, LASIK cost nearly $4,000 per eye when it made its debut in the 1990s. These days, the average price is around $2,000 per eye and you can get it done for as little as $1,000 on sale.

Read the whole thing.

ROGER KIMBALL: David Koch’s ‘dark money’ was misunderstood.

It tells us a good deal about the moral complexion of the reflexive left that someone like Bill Maher, whom the herd of independent minds clusters around when it wants to indulge some particularly ungenerous impulse, should have greeted the death of David Koch with the remark that ‘he and his brother have done more than anybody to fund climate science deniers for decades, so fuck him. The Amazon is burning up. I’m glad he’s dead.’

‘Climate deniers.’ ‘The Amazon is burning.’ ‘I’m glad he’s dead.’ A better example of stupidity fired by heinous moral obtuseness would be hard to find. It almost goes without saying that Maher’s television audience erupted in applause and titters at his ignorant and shameful observation.

In another bit of news yesterday, it was reported that Supreme Court Ruth Bader Ginsburg had just completed yet another round of radiation to treat the recurrent cancer she has been suffering from. The venue for her treatment was Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital in New York.  Only a few stories noted that in 2015 David Koch donated $159 million to Sloan Kettering, thus plausibly salvaging the life of one of the left’s hoariest icons.

Read the whole thing.

ALL THE NEWS THAT’S FIT TO SLANT: Matthew Continetti takes one for the team, reads Merchants of Truth by former New York Times editor Jill Abramson so you don’t have to.

Indeed, Merchants of Truth exemplifies the very problems it describes. Abramson needs an editor, too. Her narrative is repetitive, contains factual errors, and loses momentum near the end. She acknowledges the Times’s liberal bias but is much more circumspect when it comes to her own. She says the Times “generally eschewed celebrity news,” which is laughable to anyone who has had to endure its endless profiles of Frank Ocean, Lena Dunham, and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter.

Abramson refers to the “respected” former Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse—respected by whom? Her main criticism of the Times is that it did not do enough to prevent the Iraq war. She calls The Baffler “an intelligent magazine for political and cultural analysis,” which might be true, but it’s also left-wing. Perhaps Jane Mayer of the New Yorker is “one of journalism’s most intrepid investigative reporters.” She is definitely one of its most ideological and partisan.

It got worse for Abramson. On February 6, Vice correspondent Michael Moynihan said on Twitter that the chapters of the book on his company

were clotted with mistakes. Lots of them. The truth promised in Merchants of Truth was often not true. While trying to corroborate certain claims, I noticed that it also contained…plagiarized passages.

Moynihan found that Abramson had without attribution used work from the Columbia Journalism Review, Time Out Chicago, the New Yorker, and a master’s thesis.

She reacted clumsily, saying she had been “sloppy.” Later, in a statement, she admitted,

The notes don’t match up with the right pages in a few cases and this was unintentional and will be promptly corrected. The language is too close in some cases and should have been cited as quotations in the text. This, too, will be fixed.

An admission of guilt.

Clumsy, sloppy, scandal-prone, reflexively liberal, and unable to live up to her own standards, Jill Abramson is the perfect representative of an industry in terminal decline.

Read the whole thing.


MICHAEL BARONE: The End of America’s 30-Year Engagement With China?

The hope through these years was that a more prosperous China would also become more democratic and tolerant at home, and less aggressive abroad. But as foreign affairs journalist James Mann pointed out in his 2007 book, “The China Fantasy,” and as longtime Kissingerian Michael Pillsbury wrote in his 2015 book, “The Hundred-Year Marathon,” China’s leaders weren’t interested in following this script.

On the contrary, Pillsbury argued that they had their own scenario, in which China would embark quietly but steadily on a long-term race to world supremacy by 2049, the 100th anniversary of Mao Zedong’s victory over Chiang Kai-shek.

China would use strategy and tactics laid out by Sun Tzu 2,500 years ago and restore the state to the primacy it enjoyed before the civil wars and invasions that started with the Taiping rebellion in 1849 and ended with Mao’s death in 1976, costing millions of Chinese lives. Before this strife, China had 40 percent of the world’s population and economic production, and an emperor reigning 60 years, who reportedly told the British envoy Lord Macartney in 1793, “Our Celestial Empire possesses all things in prolific abundance” and has “no need to import the manufactures of outside barbarians.”

Xi Jinping, as he disapprovingly watches peaceful marchers in Hong Kong week after week, perhaps feels similarly. His attempted crackdown on the independent judiciary Hong Kong was promised until 2047, and abolition of his 10-year term limit amounts to jumping the gun on Pillsbury’s 100-year-marathon finish line of 2049.

Presumably, Xi has the power to squelch the Hong Kong demonstrators as his predecessors squelched Tiananmen protesters 30 years ago. But not without significant economic cost, which he may be willing to pay. The economic ties symbolized by “Chimerica” are already unraveling. They could be completely split if the Red Army ravages Hong Kong.

Read the whole thing.

ANALYSIS: TRUE. All The People Who Think They Are Better Than You Are Much, Much Worse.

Never before have so many snobs had so little to be snobbish about. It’s not like the ruling caste that turns up its collective snout at the people who actually make this country work has a CV full of achievements to back up its arrogance. Our elite is anything but. It’s a collection of pedestrian mediocrities who inherited our civilization from the people who actually created it and fought for it, and like every spoiled child who was handed free stuff by his doting mommy and daddy, our elite is resentful and obnoxious.

We’re ruled by a bunch of Veruca Salts.

Kurt Schlichter, so read the whole thing.

HE WHO IS WITHOUT ZINN: Review of Land of Hope: An Invitation to the Great American Story By Wilfred M. McClay.

There have always been rancorous debates among historians, and schools of history are often tinctured by dogma. But our current predicament is, to some degree, unprecedented. What we might call the pathological view of the United States—American history as a chronicle of injustice, oppression, inequality, violence, and little else—is firmly established in the academy and insulated against institutional dissent by the custom of tenure and the folkways of academic publishing. To make matters worse, one of the seminal texts of contemporary doctrine—Howard Zinn’s People’s History of the United States (1980)—is also one of the few academic bestsellers of our time.

So McClay has his work cut out for him. Does he succeed? Well, he begins at the beginning—the archaeological evidence of our aboriginal inhabitants—and like most American histories, McClay’s tends to pass a little quickly over the first century-and-a-half of European settlement. But this is a minor complaint. His description of America on the eve of revolution is perceptive and succinct, and capacious as well. The reader never doubts the author’s perspective on the colonists’ revolt, or British government in America, but he tells the story with illuminating clarity and, above all, fair-mindedness. The answer to ignorance is not indoctrination but knowledge.

This virtue in the writing of history is not necessarily self-evident. The American Revolution, like any such episode, was a complicated matter, reaching back in history and forward in effect; and both sides—one is tempted to say all sides—were benighted and heroic, generous and arbitrary, products of their various places and time. George Washington was not without his flaws, and the Loyalists were not without their reasons. McClay sets all this out in crisp detail, balancing his judgment in conjunction with the evidence, flattering his readers to draw their own conclusions.

Read the whole thing, and then, as Glenn quipped this morning regarding a related book, Debunking Howard Zinn: Exposing the Fake History That Turned a Generation against America., “Send a copy to the folks at the New York Times.”

CALIFORNIA’S WAR ON CARS: Add a congestion “crisis” to the list of other California crises, but the state government hasn’t been building roads and simply wants to punish us for getting around.

This is how government works, and how California’s government works the most. They provide crummy public services. Instead of fixing the problems of their own making, officials spend their time punishing us for relying on private alternatives. California lawmakers couldn’t fix the congestion situation even if that were their goal. Worse yet, they use their own failings to justify their real goal: getting us out of our cars and into their lousy transit systems. They won’t succeed, but they have an infinite capacity to make us miserable in the process.

Read the whole thing.

SOUTH CHINA SEA: Has Beijing Given Up Fortifying Its Illegal Islands?

More than a century before France built the ill-fated Maginot Line, Napoleon Bonaparte supposedly was presented with a similar fortification plan, and his response (perhaps apocryphal) was, “What are you trying to defend me against, smugglers?” American General George S. Patton is on the record saying, “Fixed fortifications are monuments to man’s stupidity.” More broadly, from the SWAT team preparing to bring in a criminal holed up in a bank, to a bunker-buster bomb crippling the best-engineered underground fortress, if there’s one thing governments know how to do, it’s how to bring overwhelming force down on a known location.

That’s been my line of thinking while most everyone else has been fretting about China’s unprecedented fortification of the South China Sea (SCS) — and now it seems that even Beijing has caught on to their error.

Read the whole thing, if you don’t mind me saying so myself.

THE PROVOCATIONS OF CAMILLE PAGLIA: The maverick critic and scholar has championed great art, defended free speech, and offered groundbreaking analysis of popular culture.

A professor of humanities and media studies at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where she has taught since 1984, Paglia became an intellectual celebrity after the 1990 publication of Sexual Personae, her first book, which carries the subtitle Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson. Melding history and psychology with art and literature and laced with references to popular culture, the book delivered a one-two punch to academe. A feminist critical of the modern women’s movement, Paglia insisted on the greatness of Western civilization, though it was already unfashionable to do so. And she asserted that its greatness resulted from a creative but violent tension between male and female—between the Apollonian male principle of order (civilization) and the Dionysian female principle of chaos (nature). Two of the book’s most quoted lines are “If civilization had been left in female hands, we would still be living in grass huts” and “There is no female Mozart because there is no female Jack the Ripper.” Reading Sexual Personae, one reviewer wrote, was “a bit like being mugged.”

Now, nearly 30 years later, Paglia has once again found herself in the middle of the culture wars. Taking aim at the #MeToo movement, she told an interviewer that it is “ridiculous that any university ever tolerated a complaint of a girl coming in six months or a year after an event. If a real rape was committed, go frigging report it to the police.” In April, students at her university, upset by such statements, tried to de-platform Paglia, a lesbian who identifies as transgender. When they failed to get her scheduled lecture, “Ambiguous Images: Sexual Duality and Sexual Multiplicity in Western Art,” canceled or moved off campus, they organized a protest during the talk—and someone pulled the fire alarm. Later, the protesters urged the university to replace Paglia with a “queer person of color.”

Fortunately, the university’s president, David Yager, did what many of his peers at other schools roiled by such protests have failed to do: issued a statement defending freedom of expression. “Artists over the centuries,” Yager wrote in an e-mail to campus, “have suffered censorship, and even persecution, for the expression of their beliefs through their work. My answer is simple: Not now, not at UArts.” Paglia was delighted. An outspoken defender of free speech, she is horrified by the rise of censorship in academia—and was especially aghast, given her own history, at Yale’s attempt to police students’ Halloween costumes in 2015.

In her latest book, an essay collection called Provocations, she states that she’d like to be remembered as a “dissident writer who defended free thought and free speech.” But Provocations is not just a polemic against political correctness. The career retrospective, which includes writings from the last 25 years, covers subjects like gender, education, popular culture, and art. It showcases Paglia’s sweeping scholarship and puckish irreverence for PC pieties. “To questioning young people drawn to the siren song of hormones and surgery,” she writes, “I say: Stay fluid! Stay free!”

Read the whole thing.

JOHN KASS: Robert Mueller crushed their dreams, so Democrats pivot to race.

They had invested so much in their fantasy that President Donald Trump was a treasonous agent of Russian boss Vladimir Putin. But when special counsel Robert Mueller’s report came out, and there was no collusion, no crime charged, their fantasy collapsed.

And so, after a brief spasm of despair, the left pivoted to their default position: race.

Race. Race. Race. Race. Race.

With Americans working and with money in their pockets again, with the 2020 election approaching, Democrats are reaching for the race card the way a sick man reaches for the waters of Lourdes. Desperately. Their allies in media followed suit, with Trump called everything from a white supremacist, to a Nazi, and on and on.

Meanwhile, the New York Times embarks on an ambitious new series, the 1619 Project — marking the 400th anniversary of the first slave ships to our shores.

The newspaper said it hopes “to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.”

NYT editor Dean Baquet, a former colleague of mine at the Chicago Tribune, a thoughtful man now with his newsroom in turmoil, expressed the pivot in a different way.

In terms of Mueller.

In a transcript of a newsroom meeting with his liberal staff that made its way to Slate, Baquet said this:

“The day Bob Mueller walked off that witness stand, two things happened,” Baquet said. “Our readers who want Donald Trump to go away suddenly thought, ‘Holy s—, Bob Mueller is not going to do it.’ And Donald Trump got a little emboldened politically, I think. Because, you know, for obvious reasons. And I think that the story changed. A lot of the stuff we’re talking about started to emerge like six or seven weeks ago. We’re a little tiny bit flat-footed. I mean, that’s what happens when a story looks a certain way for two years. Right?”

So the Times pivoted.

The story of slavery in America is compelling and worthy of such attention. But reducing the whole of America to the sin of slavery and racism that America has tried so hard to reject — by shedding blood in the Civil War, by passing the Civil Rights Act, by twice electing Barack Obama to the White House — is absurd. But revealing.

They are awful people who don’t care what damage they do, so long as they regain power — or at least manage to feel superior to their countrymen.

WHAT JEFFREY EPSTEIN GOT RIGHT: “We call Epstein a monster. We recoil and condemn. But he called our bluff. Almost no one is willing to admit that Epstein was right: His behavior falls well within historical norms.” But read the whole thing, as they say.


Trump has been strongly pro-life, strongly pro-American, strongly pro-Israel, strongly pro-capitalism, and he has pushed back against the freedom-robbing regulatory state. He cut taxes and he left evangelicals alone. He didn’t sue the nuns. He doesn’t want our guns.

Voting for Trump is not “trading Christian values for political power.” It’s voting in self-defense against the radical, evangelical-hating left and hoping for the best – and getting more than expected.

Read the whole thing.


The problem with nostalgia is the way you burnish and polish the past, until you’ve a curio that bears little resemblance to your actual experience. The question isn’t whether things were somehow Better when there were post-modern geometric patterns at Taco Bell; the question is why in the NAME OF GOD you would even begin think things were better. Because they weren’t, and I know it. Some things were, but there was an underlying dread of an existential sort that today’s climate-emergency hyperbole can’t touch.

Let me put it this way: we were, at any time, a few hours away from a series of mistakes or overreactions which would result in the destruction of our civilization.

If that didn’t happen, we would all get SEX CANCER.

On the other hand, glass blocks made a comeback in architecture, and that was cool.

For everyone who lived through the 1970s, with one disaster after another (the Penn Central bankruptcy, Watergate, the oil crisis, the disastrous last days of the Vietnam War, leisure suits, the Iranian hostage crisis, sky-high unemployment, inflation and interest rates, nuclear winter, Super Train, and Hello Larry, etc., etc.) that mid-1980s period of Miami Vice, MTV and the last vestiges of modern architecture and cool European design really did seem like “Morning in America,” and helped George H.W. Bush get elected in the hopes the good times would continue. (Until the DNC-MSM convinced voters that they wouldn’t.) Read the whole thing.

YOUR DAILY TREACHER: Andrew Cuomo: ‘Don’t You Dare Liken My Family’ to The Godfather.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is in an unenviable position. Once again, a powerful man from a powerful family is being forced to clean up after the clumsy mistakes of his weak, stupid, useless brother. And if that reminds you of an old movie, you’d better keep it to yourself.

Read the whole thing — but don’t be a jamook and violate the omerta, capisce?

IT’S ALWAYS IN THE LAST PLACE YOU LOOK: The Left Discovers Eco-Fascism.

It has always been considered bad form to point out that the German Nazis had a conscious environmental quotient to their ideology, but what’s this? The Washington Post noted yesterday that two of the recent mass shooters—the New Zealand shooter last year and the El Paso shooter two weeks ago—embraced environmental themes, fusing them together in fact with anti-immigration views. The Post is shocked and befuddled at this seeming anomaly (though to be fair, the Post notes as briefly as possible: “Ecofascism has deep roots. There is a strong element of it in the Nazi emphasis on “blood and soil,” and the fatherland. . .) But this is only anomalous to clueless liberals, who suffer cognitive impairment when it comes to imagining the connection between the anti-natalism of the “population bomb” mentality and seeing immigration as a driver of population growth… Gee—where would these kids have learned these ideas about our despairing future?* Oh that’s right—from just about any eco-tract, university course, or leading politician (let’s recall the similarities between the Unabomber manifesto and Al Gore’s Earth in the Balance.)

Heh. Read the whole thing.


Halperin’s effort, How to Beat Trump: America’s Top Political Strategists on What It Will Take, is set to be published by Regan Arts. Founder Judith Regan is renowned for her attempt to publish another redemption story: O.J. Simpson’s If I Did It.

According to Sunday’s Politico Playbook email, the book will feature interviews with Jill Alper, David Axelrod, Bob Bauer, Donna Brazile, James Carville, Tad Devine, Anita Dunn, Karen Dunn, Adrienne Elrod, Jennifer Granholm, Ben LaBolt, Jeff Link, Jim Margolis, Mike McCurry, Mark Mellman, Amanda Renteria, John Sasso, Kathleen Sebelius, Bob Shrum, Ginny Terzano, and David Wilhelm.

Cockburn has so many questions. If these strategists are so wise, did they not see how rubbing shoulders with Halperin could backfire? Is that the same Anita Dunn who’s advising the Biden campaign, the one who spends her day freaking out at what Uncle Joe’s next perceived misstep will be? What would so many Hillary Clinton backers know about how to beat Trump?

But chief among them…when exactly did they decide it was time to move on from #TimesUp?

Read the whole thing.


Inoue is the director of the UW-Tacoma Writing Center and has explained that “White language supremacy is perpetuated in college classrooms despite the better intentions of faculty, particularly through the practices of grading writing.” It appears that grading on writing ability is one of those acts of white supremacy. He has insisted that professors who use a single neutral standard for all students are perpetuating racism: “[using] single standard to grade your students’ languaging, you engage in racism. You actively promote white language supremacy, which is the handmaiden to white bias in the world.”

You might be thinking, “OK, that’s nuts, but that kind of thing would never fly in STEM disciplines.” Let me introduce you to a peer-reviewed 2017 paper by feminist scholar Donna Riley, who in the same year became head of the Purdue University department of engineering education. Purdue is one of the top engineering schools in the country. Here’s the abstract:

Rigor is the aspirational quality academics apply to disciplinary standards of quality. Rigor’s particular role in engineering created conditions for its transfer and adaptation in the recently emergent discipline of engineering education research. ‘Rigorous engineering education research’ and the related ‘evidence-based’ research and practice movement in STEM education have resulted in a proliferation of boundary drawing exercises that mimic those in engineering disciplines, shaping the development of new knowledge and ‘improved’ practice in engineering education. Rigor accomplishes dirty deeds, however, serving three primary ends across engineering, engineering education, and engineering education research: disciplining, demarcating boundaries, and demonstrating white male heterosexual privilege. Understanding how rigor reproduces inequality, we cannot reinvent it but rather must relinquish it, looking to alternative conceptualizations for evaluating knowledge, welcoming diverse ways of knowing, doing, and being, and moving from compliance to engagement, from rigor to vigor.

In the paper, she writes:

One of rigor’s purposes is, to put it bluntly, a thinly veiled assertion of white male (hetero)sexuality” because rigor “has a historical lineage of being about hardness, stiffness, and erectness; its sexual connotations—and links to masculinity in particular—are undeniable.

Er, right. Here’s a tip for travelers: if you arrive at a bridge over a gorge, you’d better hope that it stands stiff and erect, and that one of Donna Riley’s rigorless students, with their diverse ways of knowing, didn’t have anything to do with engineering the thing.

See also: the 2018  Florida International University bridge collapse that killed six and injured eight, but whose engineers were praised beforehand for their environmentalism and gender equality.

Read the whole thing, which also explores the New York Times’ racialist “1619 Project” as well.

JEFF GOLDSTEIN: The post I’d hoped I’d never have to write.

As many of you know, my oldest son, Satchel, had a rare form of brain cancer, which — thank god — he’s had successfully treated. He’s fine, though he has to take a regimen of medicine every day to replace pituitary function, having lost his pituitary gland during the surgery.

Bottom line is this: we need to somehow get out from under our medical debt, which we put on credit cards mostly, so that we’re able to wait out the sale of our house and not have to declare bankruptcy.

This site of course doesn’t have the readership it once did, as many of my former readers have moved on to new places and new things. But if my long-time readers and friends can possible help us out and would ever be inclined to do so, I ask that you please do so now — and pass the word along to others you think might be able to help.

Read the whole thing, and if you can, maybe chip in. I’m on my way over to PayPal to do just that.

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): I just made one of my larger blogger donations.

RICHARD FERNANDEZ: Without a Stable Moral Currency, There Is Terror Without Trust.

Traditionally the solution to the problem of immorality has been the diffusion of power. Thus the current crisis of morality signifies a crisis in the containment of power. Many of the old checks and balances that once curbed power have been weakened by “changing cultural mores” which expanded the role of Big Government into areas once proscribed by religious taboo. The compartmentalization of formal structures was compromised by international travel, financial mobility, and ubiquitous telecommunications.

Jeffrey Epstein’s little black book is a map of a social network whose power can outflank most walls.  It had a list of Hollywood, royalty, political consultants, billionaires, publishers, financiers, entertainers, foreign world leaders, American presidents, state governors, politicians, corporate executives, influential scientists, rock stars, lawyers, Nobel Prize winners, comic book moguls,  socialites by the dozen,  comedians and of course fixers and assorted low characters.  There are dozens of similar social networks in the world.  Some are even more powerful.

Bringing power under control again will require expanding the scope of trustless systems and reestablishing a stable moral currency. Readers will recall that such systems don’t actually do away with trust. They simply move it away from one actor to a system where provenance, transaction, and state can be verified independently by anyone through the mathematical security of cryptography.  The idea is that you don’t have to trust if you can verify.

But while systems can capture what is through the blockchain and other devices, no amount of technology can say how things ought to be without postulating a set of values.

Read the whole thing.

(Via Small Dead Animals, which also has a related video rant on Epstein and conspiracy theories by PJTV alum Steven Crowder.)

WHY WE’RE STILL TALKING ABOUT CHARLES MANSON: Get Lost, Charlie. “Neil Armstrong’s footprints may be on the moon, but Manson’s footprints (or fingerprints, more aptly) seem more pervasive than do those of the Apollo heroes,” writes Paul Beston in a terrific essay on Manson’s cultural impact and the new film. “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is a Tarantino opus that contains all his hallmarks, good and bad, along with what seems a new sense of humanity and justice.” Read the whole thing.

SECONDS: Kathy Shaidle looks back at the brilliant and terrifying 1966 John Frankenheimer film starring Rock Hudson.

Much has been written about the multiple subtexts of Seconds — the Hollywood “blacklist,” as well as Hudson’s then-secret (more or less) gay identity; the crazy “Brian Wilson connection”; the extraordinary lengths to which Wong Howe and Frankenheimer went to realize their vision: For one thing, to thin out a section of Grand Central Station to capture their opening shots, they hired a woman in a bikini to create a crowd-forming spectacle at the other side of the terminal.

And all these factors do indeed add invisible yet palpable depth to a film that is in and of itself a stunning feat of storytelling, acting and technical prowess.

Liberal fans of Seconds praise it as — you guessed it — a chilling condemnation of shallow materialistic American consumerism and conformity. Yet few of them mention that when Hamilton gets his twice in a lifetime opportunity to savor the idealized progressive lifestyle instead, he’s miserable then too. Actually more so.

In fact, coming out as it did in that pivotal year between the early Sixties New Frontier/Mad Men era, and the late Sixties of Woodstock and Manson, Seconds could just as easily be read as a critique of the then-nascent youth “drop out” counterculture.

Read the whole thing, though as James Lileks once wrote, “The hero wakes up to find himself looking like Rock Hudson. He does not adapt well.  The viewer thinks: you moron. Cheer up! You look like Rock Hudson! Get to work! Enjoy!”

ROGER KIMBALL ON TRUMP AND TONE: “At any rate, the situation in China reminds me of one of the political philosopher James Burnham’s famous political laws: Where there is no alternative there is no problem. What’s the alternative to Donald Trump on any of these issues? Joe Biden? Elizabeth Warren? Bernie Sanders? To ask the question is to answer it.”

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): What’s funny to me about China is that the same people who were saying that Trump would blunder into a war with some thoughtless angry tweet are now dumping on Trump for not interrupting his delicate negotiations to call the Chinese murderers.

EMBRACE THE HEALING POWER OF “AND:” Is The New York Times a Newspaper, Or the Oberlin Faculty Senate?

If you keep your eye on media news, you know that The New York Times, the most important newspaper in America, has been roiled internally over whether or not a headline it published over a Trump story (about his post El Paso speech) exonerated the president from racism. The original headline read “Trump Urges Unity Vs. Racism.” After a staff revolt, the headline was later changed to “Assailing Hate, But Not Guns”.

The paper’s executive editor, Dean Baquet, met with the staff about the headline, and the paper’s coverage of race. Slate published the transcript of a leaked recording. I encourage you to read it to get an idea of how the people who put out the most influential newspaper in the world think about this stuff. They go on and on and on, torturing Baquet over this one measly headline that accurately and neutrally described Trump’s speech.

Rod Dreher includes a link to a Times page that illustrates just how badly Oberlin-style identity politics have seeped into the Gray Lady’s product:

The 1619 Project is a major initiative from The New York Times memorializing that event on its 400th anniversary. The goal of the project is to deepen understanding of American history (and the American present) by proposing a new point of origin for our national story. In the days and weeks to come, we will publish essays demonstrating that nearly everything that has made America exceptional grew out of slavery.

As Dreher writes:

The importation of the first slave into the land that would become the United State is the “true founding” of America? That is a breathtaking — and breathtakingly ideological — claim. This is substantially different from claiming that slavery was a key part of this country’s identity — a claim that is indisputably true, and important to recognize. The Times — our newspaper of record — is on record now saying that the establishment of slavery was the Ur-event of American history. If you want to know how they managed to come to that conclusion, well, that transcript will give you an idea. A staffer who “feel[s] like racism is in everything” asks the executive editor why racism isn’t in every single story they write — and he responds not by challenging the premise of the question (if only from a professional journalism point of view), but rather by pointing him to the 1619 Project.

In the weeks and months after 9/11, then-editor Howell Raines dusted off Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals #13 to “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it,” and aimed the massed reporting resources of his newspaper in the early days of the War on Terror on a target he deemed far more horrifying than Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein: the Augusta National Golf Club. In the era of Trump, current editor Dean Baquet has scaled Rule #13 up a bit to go after America itself as “the 1619 Project” and its identity politics-obsessed coverage of America’s first manned moon landing last month illustrate. Thankfully, we can still rely on the Times’ coolly objective look back at the Soviet Union to help balance things out.

(Curiously though, despite “the 1619 Project,” Ralph Northam remains entirely off the Times’ radar. Funny that.)

Read the whole thing.

YES. NEXT QUESTION? “Is the British Empire Largely Misunderstood?”

Several years ago, while on a business trip to New Delhi, I remarked to an Indian colleague, a Hindu, on the beauty of his country’s Sansad Bhavan, or Parliament House. “Yes,” he remarked, “though we Indians didn’t design it. It was the British. And Taj Mahal was built by the Muslim Turkic Mughals. None of the best architecture in this country is truly Indian.”

I was a bit shocked by his frank willingness to appreciate his country’s debt to former conquerors. Later, after I noticed a worn copy of P.G. Wodehouse on his office desk, he acknowledged that he and his Indian colleagues all loved British literature above any other. Perhaps, I surmised, imperialism’s legacy is not as black and white as we are often told.

This is the central argument of University of Exeter professor of history Jeremy Black’s new book Imperial Legacies: The British Empire Around the World, which, according to the book jacket, is a “wide-ranging and vigorous assault on political correctness, its language, misuse of the past, and grasping of both present and future.” The imperial legacy of Great Britain is also, in a way, an instructional lesson for the United States, which, much like the British Empire of the early to mid-20th century, is experiencing a slow decline in influence.

* * * * * * * *

Yet, Black notes, “there is sometimes a failure to appreciate the extent to which Britain generally was not the conqueror of native peoples ruling themselves in a democratic fashion, but, instead, overcame other imperial systems, and that the latter themselves rested on conquest.” Take, for example, the Indian subcontinent, which was a disparate collection of kingdoms and competing empires—including Mughals, Sikhs, Afghan Durranis—during the early centuries of British intervention. All of these were plenty brutal and intolerant towards those they subjugated. Moreover, Hinduism promoted not only the oppressive caste system, but also sati, or the ritual of widow burning, in which widows were either volitionally or forcibly placed upon the funeral pyres of their deceased husbands. It was the British who stopped this practice, and others, with such legislation as the Hindu Widows’ Remarriage Act of 1856, the Female Infanticide Prevention Act of 1870, and the Age of Consent Act of 1891.

As Mark Steyn has written:

In a culturally confident age, the British in India were faced with the practice of “suttee” – the tradition of burning widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands. General Sir Charles Napier was impeccably multicultural:

‘You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows.You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours.’

India today is better off without suttee. If you don’t agree with that, if you think that’s just dead-white-male Eurocentrism, fine. But I don’t think you really do believe that. Non-judgmental multiculturalism is an obvious fraud, and was subliminally accepted on that basis. After all, most adherents to the idea that all cultures are equal don’t want to live in anything but an advanced western society.

“It can be difficult for those seeking to offer a different view to get their works published, a situation to which I can attest,” Black writes. “There is scant attempt by critics to explain why empires arose. There is almost a zeal to suggest that Britain was as bad as the most murderous regimes in history…. Individually, these criticisms largely rest on emotion and hyperbole instead of informed knowledge.”

Read the whole thing.

JOHN TAMNY: Dear Catherine Rampell, the Former Soviet Union Had Many ‘Experts’ Too.

A frequent theme in this column is one about the fallability of the brilliant. Jeff Bezos regularly acknowledges how often his experiments prove much less than great, the best venture capitalists admit that more than nine out of ten capital commitments result in bankruptcy, and then the world’s best traders note that they’re wrong almost as often as they’re right. It’s incredibly difficult to predict the future, and that’s an understatement.

This truism came to mind while reading Washington Post columnist Catherine Rampell’s lament about the Department of Agriculture’s recent decision to relocate the Economic Research Service (ERS) from Washington, D.C. to Kansas City. Rampell reports that in response to the announced change, only 116 ERS employees had agreed to move. The columnist is up in arms. Rampell claims that the “small-but-mighty ERS is arguably the world’s premier agricultural economics agency. It produces critical numbers that farmers rely on when deciding what to plant and how much, how to price, how to manage risk….” Someday Rampell will admit she overreacted here.

No, she won’t. But you’ll want to read the whole thing.

YOUR DAILY TREACHER: The Latest Beto Campaign Reset Will Be the One That Changes Everything.

Beto wants to be the all-white Obama, but he just doesn’t have it. Obama’s one and only talent was lying with a straight face, telling enormous whoppers smoothly enough to fool enough people enough of the time. I didn’t like him and he didn’t convince me, but he was not a complete spaz like this guy. Beto is just off-putting.

But what else is Beto going to do? This is all he’s got. He has no marketable skills and nobody really likes him. He has nothing to lose by staying in the race. He’s never going to win, so he may as well drag down as many of his rivals as possible. He’s like a Democrat version of John Kasich.

Just kidding. The Democrat version of John Kasich is John Kasich.

Analysis: True. Read the whole thing.

MEANWHILE, OVER AT VODKAPUNDIT: Nearly 200 House Dems Now Support Bill Outlawing All New Semiautomatic Weapons. “Showing absolutely no clue what she’s talking about, Florida Democrat Frederica Wilson told The Hill on Wednesday, ‘Assault weapons were designed for one purpose: to kill people in war. Ordinary citizens should not own or have access to assault weapons.’ A .22 target pistol is now an ‘assault weapon.’ Good to know, Congresscritter!”

Read the whole thing, if you don’t mind me saying so myself.

YOU’RE GONNA NEED A BIGGER BLOG: Max Boot’s Dishonesty. “Such as it is, Boot’s newfound modus operandi works as follows: First, he scans entirely innocuous pieces for sentences that he can willfully misconstrue; second, he presents those misconstrued sentences as evidence of a deeper flaw with a person or outlet or institution; and, finally, he submits the conclusions he has drawn as confirmation of why he, Max Boot, convert to truth and light, is on the Right Side of History. Because Twitter is an echo chamber and the Post is one-tracked, he does this safe in the knowledge that those whom his mendacity incites to outrage will never read the primary sources he is corrupting — and that, if they do, they will never comprehend them.”


Read the whole thing.

ALSO: Max Boot Hits Bottom, Tunnels Down to the Hollow Earth, Falls, Somehow Keeps Digging.

ANGELO CODEVILLA: The White Supremacy Hoax. “In practice, a ‘white supremacist’ is anyone whom anyone in power dislikes enough to so label him. Who would accept being outlawed at will? Our ruling class plays with matches in a house drenched in gasoline.”


The Wall Street Journal on Saturday featured an essay by one Clint Watts, formerly of the FBI and West Point’s Counter Terrorism Center. Watts makes those proposals using the word “white” 16 times in 18 paragraphs. The sociopolitical ideas rife among white people are the main matrix of terrorism in America, Watts contends. Racial profiling, anyone?

Bemoaning the fact that U.S. law now restricts surveillance of, never mind restrictions on, U.S. persons to those who have committed or may be about to commit crimes, Watts proposes legislation that would permit designating persons associated with what the government may identify as “white supremacist ideology” as subject to surveillance to “preemptively assess whether these white supremacists are taking a radical turn toward violence.”

Watts also proposes “red flag” laws, that would allow the government to take away weapons from someone so designated. Loss of weapons would be the least of burdens imposed on anyone so “red-flagged.” Career, reputation, possibly family, would be gone because someone in the notoriously impartial FBI so decided, perhaps with the agreement of the highly scrupulous FISA court, subsequent to ex parte, secret proceedings.

This has become ruling-class conventional wisdom. Desire to wage war on ordinary Americans—to disadvantage them and even to kill them—had long been bubbling in the ruling class’s basements. The countless, nearly identical pronouncements from on high in recent days can be taken as an announcement that the ruling class has raised them into its forceful mainstream.

Needless to say, read the whole thing.

TOO MUCH DEMOCRACY CAN BE FATAL: Strategypage’s latest podcast on Hong Kong’s crisis. If you like it please subscribe.

VERY RELATED: Hong Kong challenges Xi’s authoritarianism.

According to the latest Jamestown Foundation China brief, China’s moribund economy presents Xi and the entire CCP with “immense difficulties.” The report cites two telling examples. Chinese information technology companies “are having trouble obtaining core components” from the U.S. and Western countries. Consumer spending is listless due to “unprecedented levels of household debt, which is estimated at 52 percent of GDP.”

Read the whole thing.

ROGER SIMON: Why, After 12 Books, I’m Self-Publishing The GOAT.

Why am I self-publishing? Aside from the obvious publishing world bias against anyone to the right of Trotsky (this is particularly true for fiction; there are several good conservative venues for non-fiction), I have real reasons for having decided, after all these years and books, to self-publish. And not just because it’s clearly the wave of the future.

I believe in free markets and self-publishing is entrepreneurial. You get a greater hand in your own creative destiny, even if it’s more of a gamble.

The author foregoes a publisher’s advance for a significantly larger piece of the revenue pie and control of production, pricing, and marketing. Of course, that means paying for everything yourself from the cover design to formatting to ads.

Speaking of which, I recall asking (begging) publishers for ads on more than one occasion and being told: “Ads don’t sell books.” When I replied, “But what about using my [in those cases stellar] reviews?” I was informed, “Reviews don’t sell books.” Then I queried, “What sells books?” Silence.

Enough of that. I’ll make that call for myself from now on, thank you.

Surprisingly, and more importantly, self-publishing tends to make the book itself better — at least it did for me. How’s that? Don’t publishers have editors? Yes, and often good ones, but they don’t, in the end, hold a candle to the “beta readers” you assemble when self-publishing. (“Beta readers” are as they sound — people who read and comment on early versions.)

As Glenn likes to say — well, this is the 21st century you know. Roger was a pioneer blogger and Internet videomaker; it makes sense that he’d eventually carry that DIY attitude to longer form mediums as well. Read the whole thing, then check out The GOAT at Amazon.


HEADLINES FROM 1968-2019 INCLUSIVE: The American Left Goes Increasingly Stalinist.

This clandestine approach to—or should we say sabotage of—the foundations of American life and politics didn’t begin with Trump. It began long ago, even before the Roosevelt years, and has ebbed and flowed since. This recent rise can be dated from 1991 when then Vermont congressman, now presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders helped found the Congressional Progressive Caucus along with Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and a few others. Sanders, at that point, was just back from spending his honeymoon in the Soviet Union.

Joining shortly thereafter was New York congressman Jerrold Nadler, now leading the impeachment chorus against Trump. Sanders, as almost everyone knows, was an avowed socialist, but so also, although it’s lesser known, was Nadler. The New York congressman was a member of several socialist organizations and was the one who convinced President Bill Clinton to commute—during his last days in office—Susan Rosenberg’s sentence.

In 1981, Rosenberg allegedly drove a getaway car for the left-wing terror groups the “Weather Underground” and “Black Liberation Army” after they had robbed a Brink’s truck, killing two policemen and a security guard in the process. Rosenberg got away, but they caught her three years later, this time unloading 740 pounds of explosives and an arsenal of weapons from a car. But 16 years later she had reformed enough for her to go free, according to Nadler.

Of course, there’s a bit of guilt-by-association here but, considering the endless impeachment accusations toward Trump by Nadler and others for nothing even approaching “high crimes and misdemeanors,” assuming they’re real at all, this use of Stalinist tactics must be exposed and ended.

Read the whole thing.

QUESTIONS ANSWERED: “Bubby then asked what exactly it means to be ‘made to care’ and what that looks like.” And the answer is: “Jessica Yaniv.”

Read the whole thing.

THE ULTIMATE KINSLEY GAFFE: Biden’s gaffe is the left’s truth, Neo writes.

Which gaffe of Biden’s? I’m talking about this one:

Everybody knows who Donald Trump is. Even his supporters know who he is. We got to let him know who we are. We choose unity over division. We choose science over fiction. We choose truth over facts.

Everybody keeps referring to that last sentence of the paragraph as a “gaffe,” and so I called it that in the title of this post. And I suppose it’s possible that it’s some sort of slip or error by Biden. But let me take the whole paragraph, one sentence at a time.

Read the whole thing.


Who wrote ‘Our lifestyle is destroying the environment of our country … creating a massive burden for future generations. Corporations are heading the destruction of our environment by shamelessly over-harvesting resources … the next logical step is to decrease the number of people in America using resources. If we can get rid of enough people, then our way of life can become more sustainable’?

The answer, if media reports are accurate, is Patrick Crusius, the man accused of the El Paso massacre. The words appeared in his testament, entitled (in homage to Al Gore?) The Inconvenient Truth, which he seems to have put online before decreasing the number of people in America by 22.

Who said, on Twitter, ‘I want socialism, and I’ll not wait for the idiots to finally come round to understanding’? Connor Betts, the man accused of shooting nine people, including his sister, in Dayton, Ohio.

This week’s reporting of the two atrocities has painted Crusius as a white supremacist. This does not seem to be accurate. In his manifesto, he is against ethnic mingling and mass immigration, but his view that immigrants should be killed is based not on racial superiority theory, but on his sense that too many people pollute the environment of America. He despairs of persuading his fellow Americans to change their consumerist lifestyles, so he decides to attack the ‘invaders’ instead.

Meanwhile, Rod Dreher asks, “Patrick Crusius: On The Spectrum?

Let me emphasize strongly: I am not in any way saying that all people on the spectrum are at risk of becoming mass killers! What I am saying is that if Patrick Crusius is on the spectrum, and suffered from the torments of sensory processing disorder, then there are treatments that could have helped. Maybe the people in his life — his family — could have known to look for signs of obsession and perseveration on certain topics. Maybe Crusius himself could have found some relief for his suffering. The fact that he couldn’t go to school because his clothes didn’t feel right to him — you might think that this is a sign of fashion anxiety, but for people with SPD, it’s a very serious tactile issue. It is physically painful for them to be in clothes that don’t seem right. Something as minor as a tag in the collar of a shirt can be a kind of torture. It might sound ridiculous to you, but I’m telling you, it’s very real.

If Crusius suffered from this kind of thing, and didn’t know what was happening to him, or how to fix it, well, that might explain some things.

Read the whole thing. Though as with the post-Christchurch “manifestos,” it’s worth remembering Brian Cates’ take from last week: “Mass shootings done for **fun** as the ultimate troll where these shitposters write confusing manifestos and then sit back & watch the fun as both sides claim he belongs to the other.”

BYRON YORK: Has anyone actually read the El Paso manifesto?

Much discussion was spurred by an article in the New York Times with the headline, “El Paso Shooting Suspect’s Manifesto Echoes Trump’s Language.” The story quoted just 28 words of the nearly 2,400-word manifesto. It noted that Crusius specifically wrote that his views “predate Trump.” And it warned that “linking political speech, however heated, to the specific acts of ruthless mass killers is a fraught exercise.” Nevertheless, the Times declared that even “if Mr. Trump did not originally inspire the gunman, he has brought into the mainstream polarizing ideas and people once consigned to the fringes of American society.”

Democratic contender Beto O’Rourke, an El Paso native, was much more blunt. “22 people in my hometown are dead after an act of terror inspired by your racism,” O’Rourke tweeted to the president.

So what did Crusius actually write? The Times story did not link to the manifesto, nor did many other media accounts. Most news organizations decided that even though the manifesto is clearly part of the El Paso story, they should not give Crusius the exposure he sought by linking to its full text. So many stories have included just a few snippets from the document. (The Washington Examiner has also decided not to link to the manifesto, but it can be easily found on the internet.)

But since the manifesto has become such an important part of the moment’s political debate, it is worth looking at the whole thing. And the impression one gets after reading the manifesto is quite different than some press accounts.

Shocking, that. I think that it’s unprofessional to simultaneously not link to the manifesto to deny it attention — and then talk about the manifesto a lot, especially in a misleading way. But then, “unprofessional” is what journalism is all about these days.


Speaking with a retired intelligence analyst a few years ago, I was surprised to hear him insist that we had, in a sense, been lucky with the horrifying attack of September 11, 2001. There are today many factions and tendencies that operate under the name “al-Qaeda,” but, as the analyst explained at the time, the group associated with Osama bin Laden was determined never to follow a spectacular terrorist atrocity with anything except a more spectacular sequel. That insistence, combined with our efforts to degrade the jihadists’ logistical and financial infrastructure after 9/11, probably prevented a series of subsequent attacks. Al-Qaeda could not manage something bigger and more homicidal than 9/11 at the time.

But it could easily have managed what many of us feared at the time: a series of low-level, paralyzing attacks on shopping malls, movie theaters, and other public places, unsophisticated and low-investment atrocities requiring very little more than a gun or some dynamite and — most important — a man of no consequence willing to carry it out. We didn’t get that from al-Qaeda.

We got it from a lot of dysfunctional young white guys from suburbia.

Read the whole thing.

SPENGLER: No-One’s Life Matters. That’s Why There Are Mass Shootings.

Emil Durkheim’s 1897 diagnosis of “anomic suicide” describes the Columbine perpetrators as well as the 2016 San Bernardino attack by Muslim fanatics, the “right-wing” shooter in El Paso and the “left-wing” shooter in Dayton. They are individuals cut off from society, destabilized by change and despairing of their own place in the world. Such monsters always have been among us. But now we are cultivating such monsters by destroying the ties that bind us to each other, to our past and to our future.

Everyone used to matter. No-one matters anymore, not at least in the postmodern dystopia of invented identity. In the good old days we mattered because each of us was radically unique. We were unique as members of a congregation standing before the God who made us, and unique as parents watching over the children we had brought into the world. We knew that each of us had a singular purpose, first because God does nothing in vain. We hoped to make the previous generation proud of us, and the next generation worthy of its predecessors. Each of us had a mission that no-one else could carry out for us, and that mission was to raise children who were uniquely ours, and with whom we had a unique rapport through bonds of intimacy that no master’s degree in psychology could replace.

Read the whole thing.


A November 1 election would mean it took place straight after Brexit day. It falls on a Friday rather than a Thursday but I am told that this isn’t a problem — it is just another convention that elections take place on Thursdays. If the UK had left the EU, it is hard to see what the Brexit party’s campaign pitch would be; Johnson would have succeeded in his plan to put them back in their box. On the other side, anti-no deal forces would have to decide whether they now wanted to go back into the EU, which will feel like a more extreme position once the UK has actually left, or simply reopen negotiations as soon as possible.

An election like this would be dominated by Brexit, and that would cause problems for Jeremy Corbyn, who has attempted to maintain strategic ambiguity on the issue. This worked very successfully for him in 2017. In 2019 it could be his downfall.

An election on the first day of a no-deal Brexit is risky for Johnson too. Whatever disruption there was at the borders would be on TV screens as voters went to the polls. Others would question if it was right for the government to delay the vote until straight after such a nation-defining moment, and the pound would be sinking.

Read the whole thing.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: A letter to our subscribers from the New York Times, as told to the London Spectator’s Chadwick Moore.

As some of you are aware, we failed in our commitment to ferociously guard the sanctity of your echo chamber this week. A headline appeared on our front page suggesting Orange Man spoke against racism. While the headline was factual, it was a flagrant betrayal of the service you expect us to provide and we literally stopped the presses to fix it.

We listened to our readers on how to proceed from there. The headline writer was an elderly holdover from the days when we were a newspaper. But today’s lovepaper business is different. Inspired by the Texas revolutionary Joaquin Castro, our editorial board decided to take out a full page ad in our own paper to publish his home address and pictures of his family. Then we mobilized our 52,247 interns to brigade his employer, us, with phone calls to report that we have a racist in our ranks. The writer was immediately fired. Our interns, known as TimesHelpers, chucked milkshakes at him as he sadly strolled through the lobby with his little NPR tote bag full of desktop knick knacks. Just as he reached the door we unchained Sarah Jeong and watched gleefully as she dismembered and ate him alive.

Our customers’ pomposity and fragility are important to us. We don’t use words like ‘neurotic’ and ‘repellant’ to describe our readers the way shopkeepers, waiters, and dry-cleaners might. We think your quirkiness is the natural byproduct of the cosmopolitan, emotionally lavish life that you lead.

Heh. Read the whole thing.

MENTAL ILLNESS AND MASS MURDER: “If, consistent with the Constitution, there are ways to reduce the ability of potential shooters to obtain firearms, we should implement them. If, consistent with the Constitution, there are ways to identify and treat mentally disturbed potential shooters before they kill, we should implement them.”

Read the whole thing.

SMALL WARS JOURNAL: The New China Lobby. “We are the national security thinkers and military leaders who have seen enough bullies and read enough history to see through the CCP’s lies of benevolence.”

Since the Great Recession, Beijing has begun to seize its opportunities. It has made new territory from nothing in the South China Sea so as to seize control of one of the world’s most vital bottlenecks and to project its power throughout the Indo-Pacific. At home Xi Jinping has reinforced commitments to Maoist doctrine under Xi Jinping thought, his own brand of red Kool-Aid. The CCP has constructed new surveillance apparati to control its population from mass visual surveillance to a social credit system meant to regulate and score every action. In Xinjiang, there is cultural genocide and internment of the Uighur population on a scale measuring in the millions. The PLA has grown and modernized rapidly since the 1990s, stealing technology from around the world to boost itself to compete with the US. It uses mockups of US targets during anti-ship missiles tests and threatens its neighbors around the Pacific through grey zone tactics and outright belligerency. The fact is that the CCP is not just America’s, but the whole freedom-loving world’s main enemy.

Enter the new China lobby.

Read the whole thing.

DECOUPLING: Trump Doubles Down On The China Trade War.

This is from Salvatore Babones at The National Interest:

Trump’s aggressive push on tariffs has thrown the country’s expert class into a tizzy, with pundits predicting a severe shock to the American economy, blaming the trade war for every blip in stock prices, and warning of the potential for runaway inflation as consumers pay the price for Trump’s tariffs.

Meanwhile the economy is employing record numbers of people, inflation is running well below the Fed’s target rate, and stock markets are slightly up since the beginning of the “trade war” in April. The data simply refuses to satisfy the pundits’ appetite for economic carnage.

With the economy refusing to cooperate with their “gloom and doom” narrative, America’s pundits are now arguing that economic pressure is no way to get a trade deal from China. When a Chinese Communist Party newspaper tells them that “China will never give in to pressure,” they believe it.

And who knows? Maybe they’re right. But if China doesn’t give in to pressure, then its manufacturing base will continue moving to Vietnam and India. Less labor-intensive assembly work will move to Mexico, which has now displaced China as America’s top trade partner. China will lose its unique position at the center of global production networks, and with it much of its leverage over global politics.

All of these trends are in America’s national interest. And Trump’s trade war benefits America’s allies, too. In fact, the only country in the world with an interest in China holding all the strings of global value chains is China. If the Chinese don’t realize that, then they’re in for some real surprises as the trade war drags on.

Read the whole thing.

I’d just add that while China does have the ability to hurt us back, the US still holds most of the trump cards, so to speak. And it’s time to stop, if you’ll allow me to paraphrase Lenin, paying China to make the rope they’ll hang us with.


Until his car passed through the gates of Buckingham Palace en route to the kissing of hands, I didn’t quite believe Boris Johnson would actually make it to the premiership. That’s partly because many years ago he arrived late at a Spectator lunch, told us he’d just realized he was going to be prime minister, and we all laughed. Yet, a quarter-century later, here he is. As his sister Rachel points out, only fifty-five people have ever become UK PM, and, even if one has difficulty recalling the names of any of the recent occupants, that’s still fewer than have gone into space.

Back in those Speccie days, he was one of those writers you read not because of what he had to say but because of the way he said it. Here he is on the saskatoon – not the town, but an innocent Canadian berry that had fallen afoul of some control-freak Blairite regulatory agency (from which abyss it was rescued by the EU – a reminder that not everything that’s hellish about modern Britain is the fault of Brussels). At any rate, Boris turned in what is undoubtedly the best ever column written about the saskatoon:

You may not have been aware that the saskatoon is to berries as the Cohiba is to cigars. It is the king of the bush. It is used all over Canada to make jams, syrups, salad dressings and even creme brulee. According to some bumf I have from the Canadian High Commission, it is standard practice, at all Canadian state banquets, to sprinkle every course with saskatoons. When one contemplates the volcanic energy of this century’s great Canadians, from Mark Steyn to Conrad Black to Margaret Trudeau, one can only ascribe it to the saskatoon-based national diet.

That’s beautifully constructed. It’s just the ticket if you want to be a minor media celebrity and get invited on to BBC current affairs shows to be amusing about the day’s headlines. But it’s a tricky thing to parlay into a big-time political career:

Read the whole thing.


LARRY CORREIA: An Opinion on Gun Control, repost.

From 2012, following Sandy Hook:

Basically for most of my adult life, I have been up to my eyeballs in guns, self-defense instruction, and the laws relating to those things. So believe me when I say that I’ve heard every argument relating to gun control possible. It is pretty rare for me to hear something new, and none of this stuff is new.

So now that there is a new tragedy the president wants to have a “national conversation on guns”. Here’s the thing. Until this national conversation is willing to entertain allowing teachers to carry concealed weapons, then it isn’t a conversation at all, it is a lecture.

Now when I say teachers carrying concealed weapons on Facebook I immediately get a bunch of emotional freak out responses. You can’t mandate teachers be armed! Guns in every classroom! Emotional response! Blood in the streets!

No. Hear me out. The single best way to respond to a mass shooter is with an immediate, violent response. The vast majority of the time, as soon as a mass shooter meets serious resistance, it bursts their fantasy world bubble. Then they kill themselves or surrender. This has happened over and over again.

Plus: “The average number of people shot in a mass shooting event when the shooter is stopped by law enforcement: 14. The average number of people shot in a mass shooting event when the shooter is stopped by civilians: 2.5. The reason is simple. The armed civilians are there when it started.”

(Re-)read the whole thing.

‘MEDIA AND POLITICIANS DON’T GET IT:’ Brian Cates’ thread on the gunman’s alleged ‘manifesto’ is a must read.

Exit quote: “Mass shootings done for **fun** as the ultimate troll where these shitposters write confusing manifestos and then sit back & watch the fun as both sides claim he belongs to the other.” Read the whole thing.

Related: Social media as a virius of the mind.

KEVIN WILLIAMSON: The Democratic Party Moves Far Left.

Somebody must have slipped some psilocybin into the Democrats’ potato salad at this year’s May Day picnic. Open borders? Check! Eviscerating the Bill of Rights? Absolutely, with one of those weird barbed Uncle Henry gut-hook knives! What else? I hope that whichever debate moderator finally presses this crew about the limits of late-term abortion is over 35, because Elizabeth Warren was pretty clearly ready to roll up her sleeves and perform an impromptu D&E right there underneath the Art Deco adornments and heavy brocade curtains of the Fox Theater in beautiful downtown Detroit.

Just a reminder: I’m the Case against Trump guy, the one who described Donald Trump as a half-assed would-be caudillo with a sensibility halfway between Caligula’s and Liberace’s. My anti-Trump credentials are platinum-plated and cryogenically sealed. And I’m telling you: These people are bonkers.

Heh. Or as the Babylon Bee quipped after her last debate, “Marianne Williamson Not Sure What She’s Doing Up Here With All These Crazy People.” Read the whole thing.


Valley… is the most enduring example of what I call The Great Hollywood Hip Replacement: That blessedly brief slice of the Sixties when the geriatric studios were desperate to be “mod,” but didn’t quite “get” it.

Now, The Party is fun, and Wild in the Streets is deeper than it looks. But think (if you dare) about Skidoo, The Big Cube, Riot on Sunset Strip, What’s New, Pussycat?, The Love God, I Love You, Alice B. Toklas!, bits of Sweet Charity, and anything with “Dr. Goldfoot” in the title.

Those films are now just dated curios, precisely because they tried so painfully to be “of the moment.”

Whereas Valley of the Dolls endures (complete with its own Criterion edition) because while it too strove to be timely, it somehow did so without acknowledging Time’s reality beyond its own sprocket holes:

In the Valley… alt-universe, all the women have bouffant hairdos, same as on Star Trek. So we guess it’s the Sixties, but it can’t be: there’s no rock and roll, Vietnam War or Kennedy assassination; hell, even Old Blue Eyes mentioned the Civil Rights Movement in that preeminent Hip Replacement tv special, Frank Sinatra Does His Thing, i.e. the one where he wears love beads and a Nehru jacket.

George Jessel (!) hosts the Grammys (?) here in the Valley…, but the night’s big winner wears a Mary Quant knockoff; singers do 1940s “dancing hobo” routines in stuffy supper clubs one minute, and wear bikinis the next. We’re clearly meant to be impressed when Joey Bishop shows up. (Was anyone, ever?) No sooner has “Winchell’s column” been mentioned with hushed reverence than Jennifer’s boyfriend Tony gets out of what I think is a silver Corvette stingray convertible.

The great news is, this is a Sixties without hippies, too — not even of the ersatz Sonny & Cher variety.

Heh. Read the whole thing.

YOU’RE GONNA NEED A BIGGER BLOG: How Barack Obama Contributed to the Left-Populist Wave.

It’s easy to forget, but way back in 2008, Barack Obama ran as a populist. Long before Donald Trump turned “drain the swamp” as his rallying cry, Candidate Obama said he would ban lobbyists from working in the government. As a candidate, Obama said he was going to amend NAFTA, declaring “our trade agreements should not just be good for Wall Street, they should also be good for main street.” He certainly spent enough time criticizing Wall Street and the big banks, never mind the fact that he voted for the bailout in 2008.

Right now, you’re probably scoffing, “yeah, Obama made a lot of promises he couldn’t keep.” And you’re right. As a wise man said, “all statements from Barack Obama come with an expiration date, all of them.” But that dynamic — a bold new president, promising to hold the privileged elites accountable — explains a lot about our current era of politics. In short, a lot of people believed Obama when he made those promises.

Read the whole thing.