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CLARICE FELDMAN: H.A.L.P.E.R. Spells Game Up for Obama’s Spies.

Last week I reported that Internet sleuths had winkled out the name of the spy/agent provocateur that Obama’s intelligence officers had used on the Trump campaign. The New York Times and Washington Post, the Democrats’ semi-official newspapers this week megaphoned the instigators, offering up their justifications without naming his name.

Again, the name is Stefan Halper, who, as I wrote here last week, was paid a substantial sum by the Department of Defense’s Office of Net Assessment.

If it was for this work – and it suspiciously looks like it because the payments were made in July and September of 2016 when he was weaseling his way into the campaign – then we know we have the DNI, CIA, DOJ, FBI, Dept. of State and the Defense Department working for Hillary’s election and to smear and create a basis for further spying on Trump and his campaign.

The NYT and Washington Post stories were clearly dictated by the perpetrators of this unprecedented effort to interfere with our elections. A careful reading shows that they leaked just enough about Halper to positively identify him while the press refuses to name him because the selective leakers warned, “that exposing him could endanger him or his contacts.” If you buy that nonsense, please send me your name and contact information because I have a great investment deal for you.

Lots of dots to connect — read the whole thing.

YOU CAN’T BLAME THE ECONOMY ANY MORE: U.S. Fertility Rate Fell to a Record Low, for a Second Straight Year.

Some actuarial thoughts here.

I wonder whether there’s something else at play here: could there be an emerging split, with a rising percent of Americans believing that the work of raising the next generation is all well and good, but reserved for other, more willing people? After all, once getting married and starting a family is no longer the “normal” thing to do in one’s twenties, once women start to view a baby as a “capstone” following career success, as a recent Atlantic article suggested, once, indeed, having children becomes a choice one must make, it becomes all the clearer that this is a choice which requires not just financial sacrifice, but sacrifice of free time that may have become particularly valued for pursuing a hobby or working extra hours for advancement’s sake. And recall, again, that the considerably greater drops in births among ethnic minorities, from much-higher-than-whites to only-a-little-bit-higher, suggests that even this narrative isn’t quite right, and raises questions of fertility rates by family income that are much harder to pin down and make for much more uncomfortable discussions.

But (if I haven’t already exhausted your patience with my charts) here’s the bottom line: it already is the case that declining birth rates will affect Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, un(der)funded public pensions, and the like. How an aging population will affect a country’s economic vitality and ability to innovate is a source of much hand-wringing. But if there is a widening economic and social/cultural gap between families and non-families, this will also impact how we allocate resources, and lead to further disputes about that allocation, that will make figuring the whole thing out much harder.

Indeed. And I had some related thoughts here.

WHY TRUMP TWEETS: “More than anyone else, it is President Trump who has stood up to the swamp in the person of Bob Mueller, and is forcing the Democratic Party press to begin covering the real story of the 2016 election.”

Read the whole thing.

WHY DO MASS SHOOTINGS HAPPEN? The Best Explanation Is the Least Comforting.

In other contexts, he’s elaborated further. The preparations for massacres are often extremely detailed. Shooters (and wannabe shooters) will often film videos, mimic the dress and poses of the Columbine killers, and otherwise copy the shooters who came before. [Malcolm] Gladwell is hardly an NRA conservative — and he believes gun control “has its place” — but he also shares this grim warning: “Let’s not kid ourselves that if we passed the strictest gun control in the world that we would end this particular kind of behavior.”

* * * * * * * * *

While early reports are often wrong, there are indications that the Texas shooter engaged in behavior that sounds eerily like the Columbine shooting. We’ve seen reports of a trench coat, of the use of similar weapons, and of explosives — all hallmarks of the Colorado massacre. When I think of Columbine, I think of Gladwell’s essay. There are young men in the grip of a terrible contagion, and there is no cure coming.

Read the whole thing.

Related: “Suspect in Santa Fe Shooting Has Trenchcoat Adorned With Symbols of Imperial Japanese Kamikazes, Baphomet (a Devil), Cthulhu, the Soviet Hammer and Sickle, and the German Wehrmacht Iron Cross.”

SPENGLER: THE FREUD FRAUD UNDERLIES POLITICAL CORRECTNESS. “You can’t understand liberalism unless you know Freud, and you can’t appreciate what a tissue of lies and half-truths liberalism is without knowing what charlatan Freud was.”

Read the whole thing.

CLAUDIA ROSETT: A Vital Warning About China and the Looming “Decade of Concern.”

Read the whole thing.

WE’RE EVEN, SENATOR McCAIN:

To the extent that we can stipulate these assertions as facts, I hereby free the right from the obligation to praise John McCain. I further free the right from their vow of silence over McCain’s history of abusing anyone and everyone on the right who disagrees with him. John McCain has been amply compensated for his honorable military service during the Vietnam War. The right has paid its debt to him. We’re even.

Read the whole thing.

WHAT’S NEW? John Kerry: Reporting for Duty… From Vietnam to Iran.

Pointing to “peace” organizations that the KGB saturated with dubious anti-American propaganda, Pacepa stated: “The quote from Senator Kerry is unmistakable Soviet-style sloganeering from this period. I believe it is very likely a direct quote from one of these organizations’ propaganda sheets.”

Andropov would proudly tell Pacepa that the KGB’s Vietnam campaign had been “our most significant success.” Thanks to the manipulation of the American peace movement.

One can debate where and when John Kerry got his information. What is undeniable, however, was its value to America’s enemy: the Viet Cong.

In Unfit for Command, John O’Neill recalls the experience of one his band of brothers, Bill Lupetti, a Navy corpsman who had treated injured Swift Boat soldiers. Lupetti was stationed at An Thoi, where both O’Neill and Kerry had served. For Memorial Day 2004, Lupetti returned to Vietnam, painfully visiting Ho Chi Minh City, wandering through the streets earnestly looking to find out whether certain Vietnamese friends had survived the merciless communist takeover enabled by the American withdrawal.

Lupetti happened upon the War Remnants Museum. Inside, he came to an exhibit dedicated to “heroes” who had helped the communists win the war. A wall plaque at the head of the exhibit stated: “We would like to thank the communist parties and working class countries of the world.” This included the “wholehearted support” of various “progressive human beings.”

Among those progressives represented in pictures, Lupetti glimpsed American campus radicals from the 1960s. (In fact, Jane Fonda’s smiling face was captured in a photo in a separate Women’s Museum in Ho Chi Minh City, standing aside Madame Binh.) And there, Lupetti was staggered by the sight of a photo of John Kerry — the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee that year. There he was, John Kerry, in a special exhibit honoring those whose “heroic” contributions had helped the Viet Cong defeat the United States.

The communist Vietnamese never forgot John Kerry’s testimony in 1971. It had been a great help. And perhaps today, in Iran, Kerry’s words are again being heralded, this time by the world’s worst theocratic terror state.

Read the whole thing. And remember: The scorpion stings the frog, every time.

FRANCIS TURNER: Hell hath no fury like a woman whose beloved husband has been scorned. “In this case the woman is Her Imperial Majesty Bridget I, Empress of Yard Moose Mountain, Interdimensional Lady of Hate and wife of the author Larry Correia (and mother of four – this latter will become important later).”

Read the whole thing, but first…

Doesn’t everybody know not to mess with the Correias?

SONNY BUNCH: Donald Trump Is Killing Humor.

Honestly, try to sit through the recent [SNL] sketch in which Stormy Daniels, playing herself, warns Baldwin—legitimately the worst impressionist I have seen get regular airtime on a major broadcast show; it’s still galling they fired Darrell Hammond for Baldwin—that she’s coming for him. I dare you.

These cold opens are the equivalent of an Andy Borowitz column brought to life: a string of references that vaguely resemble humor but are done in such a ham-handed and incompetent way that you are not only unamused, you are vaguely horrified. It’s like the Uncanny Valley of humor. You know it’s a joke but you’re so repulsed by its inability to be truly joke-like that you run away screaming.

Heh™.

And read the whole thing™.

HEATHER WILHELM: Tough times for the resistance?

At first glance, one might think that resistance membership might be at least somewhat exciting and purposeful, not depressing. After all, every few days, some fevered news agency announces some variation of the following: “This is it! We have the smoking gun that will crack the Trump presidency, and it is completely different from the 1,326 purported smoking guns that we thought we had before!”

If you found that headline intriguing, I fear you’ve missed what generally happens next: The story drifts, the supposed smoking gun sputters, and everything slowly morphs into a cable-news cartoon soap opera, narrated by a voice not unlike that of Charlie Brown’s disembodied and unintelligible murmuring teacher.

Depending on the day, the tale in question will likely involve layers of campaign-finance law, the name-dropping of a Russian oligarch, 13 unintelligible memos (probably), Stormy Daniels and her lawyer (definitely), several acts of mind-boggling incompetence from both sides of the aisle, countless insufferable bureaucrats who are wildly overpaid with your hard-earned tax dollars and at least one narrative element that you can’t appropriately discuss with children under the age of 23.

As an aside, the previous sentence is a fairly good illustration of why I think everyone should lean libertarian — well, that, and an alarming recent Washington Post piece that suggested D.C. hipsters be called “govsters.” But that’s a whole other column.

“Well, whatever,” a resistance loyalist might say. “Didn’t you read ‘All the President’s Men’ ”? (Author’s note: I did.) “Drip, drip, drip,” said loyalist might continue. “The truth shall potentially out, and this is not like the late 1990s at all!”

That’s right. In the ’90s, the Democrat-Media Complex provided the Clintons with just enough political cover to keep them in office. Today, that same (though enlarged) DMC has been trying to remove Trump from office since Day One, but has yet to reveal a smoking gun. And yet they persist.

So while it’s true that there are a lot of drips, it would be needlessly rude to call them that.

RICHARD FERNANDEZ: Has Iran Fallen Into a Strategic Trap?

The IDF, while formidable, is short-ranged. Its conflicts have all been fought on the border or within Israel itself. The United States, though able to project power long distances, did not have the political will or the obvious justification to mount a military action against Tehran. Thus, while the Islamic Republic of Iran stayed within its borders it was probably safe from any meaningful American or Israeli threat.

Viewed in this way, Israel’s problem has been how to bring its arch-foe within effective range. That problem may have been solved by the ayatollahs themselves. The Islamic Republic is now embroiled in three major campaigns: a proxy conflict with Saudi Arabia in Yemen; participation on behalf of the Assad regime in the Syrian civil war; a state of conflict with Israel across the Lebanese border via Hezbollah. These not only represent a considerable burden for Iran’s limited resources, they also bring a large part of Tehran’s forces within effective range of the IDF.

Read the whole thing.

MARK STEYN AT THE MOVIES: Voyage to Disaster.

If any scene sums up the disaster-movie genre it’s Shelley Winters (a great actress fallen among high-concept sharks) swimming underwater through a flooded corridor in The Poseidon Adventure, her cheeks puffed out like a blowfish, dress billowing up over flailing thighs. Newsweek ungallantly observed that she’s “plump enough these days to sink an ocean liner all by herself”, but Miss Winters declared that “I put on all this weight for the movie!” and her deal required the studio to pay for post-shooting sessions at a fat farm. If they did, they deserved a refund. Shelley stayed Poseidon-sized and (just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water) resurfaced in Tentacles, in which she got the better of a giant squid.

Unlike Shelley, the disaster movie itself shriveled away to nothing. It was the only new film genre to emerge from the 1970s, at least until Spielberg and Lucas inaugurated the age of the stand-alone summer blockbuster at the end of the decade.

Read the whole thing.

FORGET IT JACK, IT’S BALTIMORE-TOWN: Jack Dunphy: Baltimore Man Caught Being Obnoxious to Cop Won’t Resign From Police Oversight Committee.

Perhaps you say, “So what if he was double-parked? What’s the big deal?” And indeed double-parking is not a big deal in and of itself. But take note of the fact that Baltimore has just recorded its 100th homicide for the year, reaching that milestone at the second-fastest pace in a decade. Three of those homicides occurred within just a few blocks of where Mr. McKenstry and Sgt. McGowan had their little contretemps. I am a firm believer in the Broken Windows theory of policing, and Baltimore has no chance of reducing its homicide numbers if petty offenses like littering, public drinking, and, yes, double-parking, are ignored by its police officers. If Mr. McKenstry, and the others hoping to provide leadership and oversight to the police, fail to realize this, the blood that flows will be on their hands.

Read the whole thing.

NBC NEWS DEFAMES THE GATESTONE INSTITUTE:

Gatestone Institute, far from being “anti-Muslim”, is pro-Muslim. Gatestone does not want to see Muslims deprived of freedom of speech, flogged or stoned to death for supposed adultery. Gatestone is also opposed to “honor” killings, children forced into marriages; homosexuals flogged or killed, and so on. Is one to assume that NBC and its followers do want to see these abuses? Good to know.

Read the whole thing. Speaking of the above quote, in her column this past week on the “Intellectual Dark Web,” Bari Weiss described the moment when neuroscientist Sam Harris discovered just how “Progressive” the 21st century left can be:

[In] 2006, at a conference at the Salk Institute with Richard Dawkins, Neil deGrasse Tyson and other prominent scientists. Mr. Harris said something that he thought was obvious on its face: Not all cultures are equally conducive to human flourishing. Some are superior to others.

“Until that time I had been criticizing religion, so the people who hated what I had to say were mostly on the right,” Mr. Harris said. “This was the first time I fully understood that I had an equivalent problem with the secular left.”

After his talk, in which he disparaged the Taliban, a biologist who would go on to serve on President Barack Obama’s Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues approached him. “I remember she said: ‘That’s just your opinion. How can you say that forcing women to wear burqas is wrong?’ But to me it’s just obvious that forcing women to live their lives inside bags is wrong. I gave her another example: What if we found a culture that was ritually blinding every third child? And she actually said, ‘It would depend on why they were doing it.’” His jaw, he said, “actually fell open.”

Given the craziness out of NBC and its subsidiary networks, without clarification, it’s an open-ended question if they ascribe to a similar worldview.

SARAH HOYT: The Semantic Whoredom of the Left.

Read the whole thing.

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: Male Student Accuses Female Student of Sexual Assault. She Says He Wanted Revenge.

Doe woke up, realized they had engaged in sexual activity while they were both drunk, and feared that she would file a complaint against him, as she had done to his friend. Panic-stricken, he felt he had no choice but to beat her to the punch.

Indeed, if you suspect you are going to become the subject of a Title IX investigation, the optimal strategy may very well be to file the first complaint. For reasons not completely clear to me, Title IX administrators often appear biased in favor of the initial complainant, and presume the other party is the wrongdoer.

As Robby Soave writes at Reason, “Title IX creates a prisoner’s dilemma: students have to file sexual misconduct complaints to avoid becoming the accused.” Read the whole thing.

TURNING WINDMILLS INTO GIANTS:

Less than a week after the 9/11 attacks, Eugene Volokh made a really interesting observation:

If you’d asked Queen Victoria about the threats her society faced, she’d probably have worried aloud about a breakdown in sexual and other morality. Ask a Hollywood producer the same question, and he’ll cite the threat of sex-hating moralists. Every age seems to warn itself most sternly about the risks that are least likely to do it harm.

We live in the most non-patriarchal moment in all of American history, if not all of Western history, if not all of human history. And yet so profound is the need to fight this terrible foe that, across the landscape, Donna Quixotes are constantly tilting their lances at mirages of their own imaginations.

Why? Well, partly because that is what we teach them to do. Our institutions also reward it. Having a good service record in the war against patriarchy is a real comparative advantage when it comes time to apply for college.

But also: because it’s fun. I don’t mean “fun” the way one says that riding jet skis or playing Call of Duty is fun. I mean fun in the sense that the battle imbues the protagonists with meaning and fulfillment, a sense of adventure and the pride that comes with dedicating yourself to a noble quest. A quest gives people a reason to get out of bed, to make courageous stands, and to feel indispensable to a great cause.

Read the whole thing.

Related: “The greatest trick the patriarchy ever pulled was convincing women it was feminist to get naked.”

UPDATE: The Slate item featured material which had misattributed a Stewart Baker quote to Eugene Volokh.

SENATOR McCAIN’S REGRETS:

As death flutters around the back-yard deck of Senator John McCain, it’s sad to read reports that the scrappy Sandcutter regrets picking Governor Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate and wishes he had instead picked Senator Jos. Lieberman. The only person diminished by this kind of talk is Senator McCain himself, and the heroic Arizonan deserves better.

Not that we lack for love of Mr. Lieberman. The Sun was the first newspaper to sketch the rationale for Mr. McCain to bring in Mr. Lieberman as his running mate. That was in an enthusiastic editorial called “The Logic of Lieberman.” We issued it shortly after Mr. Lieberman delivered at the Commentary dinner a speech that left us with the view that as a running mate he’d be “fabulous.”

That was in May 2008. In August, Mr. McCain turned to Mrs. Palin. We were thrilled with that choice, too, calling it a “brilliant pick.” We’ve never abandoned that opinion (nor, until the latest reports, had Mr. McCain). As the campaign faltered, our view was that it was because of the kinds of errors that could be laid only to the candidate at the top of the ticket.

Read the whole thing.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Kevin Williamson proffers “Advice for Incels:”

In the 1960s and 1970s, there were some social disruptions touching marriage and family life. It was, they told us, a “sexual revolution.” The thing about revolutions is: Somebody loses. The so-called incels are some of the losers in that revolution, though not the only ones or, socially speaking, the most significant ones. (Those would be the abandoned single mothers.) But their situation is worth considering.

With the name “incel,” they speak more truth than they know. Despite the common misunderstanding of the word, “celibate” does not refer to someone who abstains from sex. “Celibate” refers to someone who forgoes marriage — the part about not having sex is implied, at least in the Christian world, give or take an Alexander VI or two. “Chaste,” at the same time, doesn’t quite mean what people think it does: It refers principally to the abstention from extramarital sex, which in the case of the celibate means abstention from sex categorically. But chastity is part of marriage, too, describing a reverent attitude toward sex. In the Christian view (which is to say, in the view of Western civilization until ten minutes ago), the procreative act is the means by which men and women in union with one another participate in God’s creative work. “Chastity” means a lot more than mere abstinence. Chastity isn’t some kind of genital veganism.

There has been some pretty elevated stuff written on that subject, and if you want to take that particular high road, then Professor Robert George of Princeton is your guy. But consider the low road, too. There’s another conclusion, maybe a little bit cynical, that could be drawn from this: If you are a sexually frustrated young man, the smart play would be to join a church.

Seriously. Join a church.

Read the whole thing.

THE ‘SONGBIRD McCAIN’ LIE RESURFACES ON FOX BUSINESS NEWS: “You don’t have to slime someone in order to disagree with him. Not even dying old senators who served and suffered in war. You’re not just insulting a thorn in the GOP’s side, you’re insulting the very service itself. You would think a retired Air Force lieutenant general would know that.”

Read the whole thing.

MICHAEL WALSH: For Trump, the End of the Beginning.

The president and his new secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, were undoubtedly emboldened to flout the conventional wisdom of Foggy Bottom and its amen chorus in the press corps by their success (caveat: so far) in handling North Korea. Just a few months ago, the usual worrywarts and chin-pullers were fretting that the madman in Washington was about to provoke the only slightly less mad Kim Jong-un into a nuclear exchange in the international equivalent of a dick-measuring contest. Meanwhile, the same Wise Men were thrilled with the “success” of their beloved Obama’s giveaways to the mullahs in Tehran.

And then, suddenly, there was Li’l Kim in South Korea; after nearly 70 years of a state of war between the two Koreas, talk of peace—if not actual reunification—is in the air…

So the end of the Iran deal will have ramifications and repercussions far beyond this nation’s dealings with Iran itself. Certainly, the excitable Iranians must now understand their bluff has been called, there will be no further rollovers from Uncle Sam, and that their long-accruing butcher’s bill, outstanding since 1979, is now due and payable. The Iranian regime is on shaky ground, its youthful population restive, and it might well have fallen during the Obama Administration had we supported the Green Revolution with just the slightest gesture. The abrogation of the “deal” will now doom them, irrevocably.

The past two weeks might eventually go down as the most consequential in American diplomacy since Ronald Reagan’s “failed” 1986 Reykjavik summit with Mikhail Gorbachev, which more than any other single event set the stage for peaceful victory in the Cold War.

And do read the whole thing.

NIALL FERGUSON: An ancient trap awaits China and US.

Historians often look back to the events of the 1890s and 1900s in an effort to trace the origins of the Anglo-German antagonism. The long-established narrative goes something like this: The German economy was overtaking the British economy, a trend summed up in the words “Made in Germany” that were stamped on a rising proportion of imported manufactures.

Germany had imperial ambitions, too, acquiring colonies in Asia and Africa. And it was building a fleet that was obviously intended to rival the Royal Navy.

Increasingly, as their economy boomed, the Germans argued that their political system — in which the parliament (the Reichstag) had much less power than its British equivalent, and the monarch much more power — was intrinsically superior. Their material successes bolstered an already deep-rooted nationalism.

The ultimate result was that Britain and Germany followed the ancient example of Sparta and Athens: the incumbent power and the rising power ended up going to war. The Harvard political scientist Graham Allison calls it the “Thucydides trap,” after the historian of the Peloponnesian War.

Are the United States and China on the way to repeating this classic historical mistake? Having just spent a fascinating week in Beijing and Shanghai, I fear they may be.

Read the whole thing.

FAITH MOORE: Don’t Let Feminists Determine the Narrative. It’s Not About Who’s Better, It’s That We’re Different.

Read the whole thing.

MICHAEL WALSH: In the Trump Era, Politics and Pews Don’t Mix. “This is how the Left works: by covering its attack on the past by using the values of the present in order to command the dialogue of the future.”

Needless to say, read the whole thing.

FIRST IN FLIGHT FROM FISCAL SANITY: North Carolina Medicaid Scandal Broadens on Dem. Gov. Cooper’s Watch.

The political backstory to this tale begins with Cooper surprising the pollsters and his opponent — incumbent Republican Gov. Pat McCrory — in November 2016 by winning a narrow victory. Through deft sleight-of-hand, and taking advantage of a quirk in state law, Cooper arranged an early swearing-in for himself just minutes after midnight on January 1, 2017. That legerdemain allowed Cooper just 12 days laterto appoint Cohen, at the time Obama’s Chief Operating Officer of Medicaid, to head the North Carolina DHHS before Barack Obama left office.

Thus was set the stage for the Cooper Administration to bring to a screeching halt what had been one of his predecessor’s top priorities — rolling back years of reckless spending by North Carolina Democrats. One of McCrory’s main targets had been Medicaid spending in the state; which had come to swallow nearly $15 billion of North Carolina’s $23 billion annual budget.

The runaway Medicaid spending had placed North Carolina in a financial bind, with little cash for anything else. Thus, in 2015 McCrory and the Republican state legislature passed a law that would limit Medicaid spending, remove management of the program from the state Health Secretary and contract it out to private companies, and prohibit further expansion of the program; all steps permitted under federal law.

As soon as Cooper had himself sworn in early, he immediately submitted a request to the Obama Administration to illegally expand Medicaid and maintain government control of the program.

Read the whole thing.

NICK GILLESPIE: Why America Distrusts ‘the Media’ and What to Do About It: For starters, don’t describe the audience as incest survivors.

It’s magnanimous of a well-connected journalist with a Harvard Ph.D. to identify with the plebes (“…who was going to rape us”). But the implications of the metaphor are unmistakable: Regular Americans are children who are defenseless against a predator. “We” must be protected, either by President Dad or Media Mom, because we have no agency, no power, no strength of our own. Forget the fact that even though Trump was charged with sexual harassment and assault by many women, he won 2 million more votes than Mitt Romney managed; that must be evidence of a political-sexual Stockholm Syndrome. Trump has been repeatedly rebuffed by the courts and, from time to time, even by his own party in Congress. I have no love for him, but to cast Americans, including his supporters, as children incapable of independent action or thought only confirms the critique of the press as an elite that has more in common with D.C.’s political class than jes’ plain folks toiling away at mundane jobs in flyover country.

Do most members of the media see their audience with this mixture of pity and contempt? Journalists do seem to be increasingly concentrated in the well-heeled, coastal enclaves that breed such attitudes. . . .

Not so long ago, journalism was a trade that was open to high-school graduates. During the last several decades, writing for a living has been professionalized to the point that most journalists have a college degree and an increasing number have majored in journalism. That trend only increases the distance between news producers and news consumers.

All of this matters because the news media play a unique role in society. . . . Years ago, pioneering blogger Ken Layne notoriously proclaimed, “It’s 2001, and we can Fact Check your ass.” His specific target was Robert Fisk, a reporter whose last name was turned into a verb signifying a point-by-point refutation of an article or argument. Now it’s 2018, and readers can still fact-check journalists’ collective ass. They will respond more favorably to those of us who make it easy for them by being upfront, honest, and responsive without having to be asked first.

Read the whole thing.

NEVER GONNA HAPPEN: Team Obama should just accept they failed with Iran.

David Harsanyi:

Republicans “drove the car in the ditch … and now they want the keys back.”

For years, President Barack Obama would trot out this analogy to attack his rivals’ fecklessness and obstructionism. How could the very same people who got us into the financial crisis lecture those who were getting us out of it?

Well, after driving the United States into a foreign-policy wreck, it’s time for former members of the Obama administration to ask themselves the same question.
According to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel has recovered documents that demonstrate Iran is seeking nuclear weapons. These clandestine plans for five 10-kiloton nuclear warheads were hidden and stored by Iran while it was developing a ballistic-missile program that would be able to carry them to Tel Aviv.

So not only did the United States end up saving the Islamic Republic from economic ruin with the Iran deal, it allowed the nation to solidify its foothold in Syria and strengthen its terrorist proxy Hezbollah. And not only did the Obama administration allow a humanitarian disaster to unfold in Syria while it was placating Russia to save the deal, it destroyed a sanctions program that was working.

On top of that, we also now know that the Iran deal was sold to the American public in bad faith. Yet, even after these revelations came to light, the former Obama aides who established a media echo chamber meant to silence critics and mislead citizens were still taunting and whining from sidelines, offering one bizarre justification after the next to continue the charade.

Read the whole thing.

JAMES LILEKS: The lefty architects of the Web “thought everyone would be hippies and hippies would be mellow. You got a hundred million Abbie Hoffmans. Great job!”

This article asked many internet pioneers about how they think it’s all turned out. They’re not happy.

No one asked me, he said with a petulant sniff. I think it’s turned out well for those who regard it as a personal publishing platform, and don’t regard social media as an equivalent or replacement for the real world. It is a shadow realm full of tricksters and devils and angels and blokes and sheilas. It’s Second Life except it seems real because it contains Kardashians, who are the most important and fascinating people on earth.

Read the whole thing.

MARK PULLIAM: Who Runs The Legal Academy?

It’s worse than you thought; the lunatics license the asylums in addition to running them.

The most disturbing detail that emerged from the coverage of Professor Josh Blackman’s widely-publicized shout-down by leftist protesters at CUNY Law School was that CUNY law dean Mary Lu Bilek—who defended the disruptive mob as “reasonable” and engaging in “protected free speech”—serves on an ABA “site visit team.” Indeed, her official CUNY bio states that Bilek “served on the ABA Special Committee on the Professional Education Continuum, and chaired the Section on Legal Education Diversity Committee.” An academic who can’t tell the difference between a reasoned debate and the “hecklers’ veto” is a honcho with the organization responsible for accrediting law schools? That struck me as odd, so I dug deeper.

Bilek, it turns out, has a long progressive resume, albeit entirely consistent with the left-wing agenda of the ABA. One reason that law schools are becoming monolithic social justice academies and ideological echo chambers is that the ABA—in its capacity as regulator—is pushing them to do so. When I looked at my alma mater (the University of Texas law school) recently, I was staggered by the extent of the internal bureaucracy dedicated to “diversity and inclusion,” including a full-time administrator devoted to “student affairs, inclusion and community engagement” and a dean-appointed “committee on diversity and inclusion.” (This is in addition to race-based preferences in admissions that UT has fought hard to continue.)

I was initially curious about why a publicly-funded law school that continually complains about inadequate legislative funding would expend its scarce resources on a subject seemingly unrelated to the school’s core mission: teaching students to be competent lawyers. Then I discovered that the ABA has made “diversity and inclusion” one of its accreditation standards.

Read the whole thing.

EXPLETIVE DELETED:  Here’s what bothers me about the media coverage of the “prom dress” fiasco.  When quoting the utterly idiotic tweet by Jeremy Lam, the Washington Post and other MSM outlets leave out the curse word.  WaPo writes:  “‘My culture is NOT your …. prom dress.'”  That, of course, is not what he wrote.  What he wrote was a lot nastier.

Where a newspaper reporter uses an ellipsis in a quotation, the reporter is telling readers that they should trust him or her that the deleted material was not significant.  But, in this case, I think it was.  By deleting the curse, WaPo made the whole thing seem more like a “debate” (which is how the headline characterized it) and less like a hotheaded rant by a pathetic fool (which is what it was).  I can understand not wanting to print curses in a family newspaper.  If so, they could have rendered it as “My culture is NOT your [expletive deleted] prom dress.”

The real story is how so many people could “heart” such an incoherent sentiment.

 

OR AS I LIKE TO CALL IT, “SPRINGTIME FOR STALIN:” Sarah Hoyt proffers a Remembrance of May Days Past:

Of course, they marched and saluted when told to.  What else could they do, die?

Communism and socialism talked pretty about the rights of workers and used that pretty talk to foment unrest abroad.  But at home?  At home, it was completely different.

Because there never were any workers. There were only serfs and slaves.

Read the whole thing.

HOW A PRETTY PROM DRESS HELPED REVEAL ROT IN THE AMERICAN SOUL:

On the one side is a collection of Americans who rightly look at Daum’s dress and say, “That’s not racist. It’s just a pretty dress.” On the other side is a collection of Americans who view this indifference and confusion as a provocation.

Now, let me ask. As you survey pop culture, the academy, and American corporations, which side has the upper hand? Which side is defining American discourse? America’s most prominent culture-makers obsess over identity. They elevate prom dress choices to matters of national debate. And that’s why people who still possess a sense of reason, proportion, and manners (on both sides of the political aisle) need to push back. Reason can’t cede the public square to rage. Sometimes a prom dress is just a prom dress. But Lam’s tweet wasn’t “just” a tweet. It was a symbol of the incoherent anger that is tearing this nation apart.

Definitely read the whole thing. And kudos to Daum for not backing down. What David French accurately calls “perhaps the dumbest story you’ve ever heard — a story that is stupid with a heaping helping of malice on the side” made the Washington Post:

While the family lives in a predominantly white suburb of Salt Lake City, Dawes said she has made an effort to give her daughter a multicultural upbringing. When Daum was in the third grade, her mother pulled her out of her school and enrolled her in a more diverse school in Salt Lake City. “I wanted her to have that exposure,” Dawes said.

She also said that Daum has grown up with a multicultural extended family. Several of her nieces and nephews are of Pacific Island descent.

The mother found it particularly unsettling that “an adult male has attacked her for what she’s wearing,” something that has nothing to do with “her talent or her mind.”

“I’m proud of her for standing her ground because she didn’t do anything wrong,” Dawes said.

In the days since the photos went viral, Daum said she has made a point of researching the significance of the dress in Chinese history and culture. She also says she has learned about the velocity and reach of messages on social media, and the importance of being able to see her own posts from a different lens.

“This does give me a better sense of choice and being careful in what I say in posts and how it can be perceived differently,” she said.  “It’s taught me to be extra cautious because you don’t want people to see it the wrong way.”

But at the same time, she said, “there are people who are going to find something to offend them no matter what it is.”

“I’d wear it again,” she said of the dress.

Good for her. Twitter’s management attempted to keep the mob enraged by spotlighting this weekend’s idiocy as a “Twitter Moment,” but since the cycle that Internet shaming is now completely predictable, that may finally be diluting its impact:

  • Random crank is outraged over minutia, tweets random crankery.
  • The outrage mob amplifies said crankery 140 characters at a time – or simply by hitting the retweet button.
  • A few days later, faced with thousands of thousands of hateful responses, the victim apologizes, and the mob’s thirst for blood* is temporarily slaked…
  • …until the outrage mob finds a new skull to collect.

Also diluting the outrage mob? As Jordan Peterson advises Daum, “Don’t apologize. That will merely be read as an indication of your guilt. You’re innocent. Maintain your stance,” adding “Ignore them. They’re contemptible bullies masking their cruelty with virtue. You’re a kid trying to have a nice time. You’ve done nothing wrong.”

* And the frisson of pleasure from the belief that they’re the doing vital missionary work as members of the anointed.

QUESTIONS ASKED AND ANSWERED: Cuomo to Netanyahu: Why be so theatrical — and use English? “Cuomo did Netanyahu a favor by asking this, and it was a legit question. Netanyahu deliberately chose English for his presentation, and he did so for the reason he stated — to make sure everyone understood the message. So did they?”

Read the whole thing.

Related: “Buried lead…Trump knew about this stuff and didn’t tweet it out. I’m impressed.”

BUCKLEY AT HIS BEST: The Judge Hunter is out today, the latest comic novel from Christopher Buckley (and my new favorite).  On the theory that Washington has become impossible to parody, Buckley switched from political satire (Thank You for Smoking, Little Green Men) to historical fiction, starting in 2015 with The Relic Master, a 16th-century caper to steal the Shroud of Turin. Now he’s on to the 17th century in the The Judge Hunter, in which the London diarist Samuel Pepys gets rid of his feckless brother-in-law, Balty, by sending him to New England to track down two judges who had signed the death warrant of King Charles 1.

It’s a lovely blend of P.G. Wodehouse and George MacDonald Fraser — Bertie Wooster meets Flashman — as the dandified Balty travels from Boston through the wilderness to New Amsterdam, fending off Puritan governors, Indians and Peter Stuyvesant. It gave me a new appreciation for the roots of the grim zealotry animating environmentalists. If you think today’s New Englanders are tough on non-recyclers, consider what their Puritan ancestors were doing to Quakers. When Balty attends a Puritan service in New Haven, he’s shocked to see a young woman walking serenely up the center aisle without a stitch of clothing on her. He assumes she’s insane, but his traveling companion, a savvy military veteran named Huncks, explains that this is a common form of protest for Quaker dissidents.

Balty considered. “Well, I’d call it lunatical. At the very least, fruity.”

“Religions are fruity.”

“Jesus didn’t go parading about naked.”

“He went looking for trouble, didn’t he? Same with Quakers. They embrace persecution. Fulfills them.”

Balty weighed this. “Damn strange bit of business, however you slice it. The sight would have broken your heart. A constable who bellowed at me for running said she’s to be tried tomorrow. Probably because they don’t have trials on the Sabbath. What will they do to her?”

“The King’s missive forbids them to persecute Quakers. No more hangings, floggings, cutting off ears, branding. What shall they do for entertainment?”

Spoiler alert: the Puritans aren’t about to let the King’s missive interfere with their entertainment, but Balty comes to her rescue. Read the whole thing.

 

 

FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT, EUGENICIST: New Documents Reveal FDR’s Eugenic Project to ‘Resettle’ Jews During World War II.

Settlement contingencies for a wide range of peoples were studied, but when Roosevelt described the M Project to Churchill during a lunch at the White House in May 1943, he focused on one particular group. FDR described it as a study about “the problem of working out the best way to settle the Jewish question,” Vice President Henry Wallace, who attended the meeting, recorded in his diary. The solution, which the President endorsed, “essentially is to spread the Jews thin all over the world,” rather than allow them to congregate anywhere in large numbers.

After Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945, Carter wrote to Truman explaining his work for FDR, offering to continue his unit’s covert activities and urging the new President to fund completion of the M Project.

Truman was deeply skeptical about the need for espionage or secret intelligence, and he had been informed by the State Department that the $10,000 per month that was being spent on the M Project was a waste of money. He terminated Carter’s operations and cut off funding for the migration studies.

Very few people outside the team that produced the reports were allowed to see them and they had no discernible impact on policy decisions. In retrospect, the M Project’s principal accomplishment was to shed light on how now-discredited eugenic theories influenced FDR’s thinking about race, immigration, and the Jews of Europe. As the M Project’s reports rolled into the White House, so did news about the methodical starvation, torture, and extermination of Europe’s Jews in the Nazi Holocaust.

Read the whole thing. As Jonah Goldberg wrote in Liberal Fascism:

In order to see how this conventional wisdom is built upon a series of useful liberal myths, and therefore understand the real lineage of American liberalism, we need to unlearn a lot of false history and categories we take on faith. In particular, we need to understand that American Progressivism shares important roots with European fascism. No clearer or more sinister proof of this exists than the passion with which American and European progressives greeted eugenics—widely seen as the answer to the “social question.”

Even knowing that his view of eugenics was infinitely more benign* than his opponents, it’s still more than a little troubling from the vantage point of the 21st century to see FDR use a phrase like “the best way to settle the Jewish question.” But it’s even more disquieting to know that modern-day Democrats are still uttering those words.

* Though far from perfect.

#METOO FEMINISTS MAY NOT REALIZE IT, BUT THEIR OTHER TARGET IS SEX AND DRUGS AND ROCK ‘N’ ROLL:

Last fall, as the first #MeToo scandals scrolled across the cable news chyron, I happened to be reading “Sticky Fingers,” Joe Horgan’s [sic – Ed] biography of Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner. As Horgan describes the magazine’s early years in the 1960s, just about everyone on the staff was having sex with everyone else.

Did the women of Rolling Stone consent to the goings-on at what today would be regarded as an illegal den of harassment? It seems they did. In the ladies’ room, they scribbled graffiti ranking male staffers for their sexual performance — not, as girls do on college campuses today, the names of rapists in their midst. Jane Wenner, Jann’s wife, was known to judge job seekers by “whether a candidate was attracted to her” and, in some cases, to test the depth of their ardor personally. Photographer Annie Leibovitz, who made her name at Rolling Stone, routinely slept with her subjects.

Different as those days seem, there’s a direct line between then and now. Today’s clear-cut protest against workplace harassment is mutating into a far-reaching counterrevolution against the combustible contradictions set in motion 50-odd years ago. But as in the 1960s, this sexual rebellion is utopian and deeply naïve about the tangled knot of human motivation. Don’t expect the young women who are building the #MeToo barricades to succeed.

It’s fair to say ’60s-style liberation endorsed the value of female sexual desire, autonomy and consent. This was a genuine moral achievement, and we can be thankful it is a settled part of modern life. But the sexual revolution also helped midwife the soaring number of single-parent families and the related ills of inequality, poverty, achievement gaps, and men MIA from family life. And all these many years later, younger feminists are exposing new flaws in the sexual deregulation bequeathed to them by their elders.

First and foremost is the revolution’s blindness to la difference.

Read the whole thing; I wonder how Kay Hymowitz’s column in the L.A. Times is playing amongst its core readers, given the chief industries of that company town.

Flashback to some related links in a post I wrote back in October, at the height of Weinstein-mania:

THE SEXUAL PREDATORS EVERYONE STILL WORSHIPS:” “What do we do about predators we actually think are cool?…What is the point at which it becomes necessary for us to channel our inner Savonarolas and just start burning? Is one confirmed incident enough? How many Station to Stations or Physical Graffitis are worth the assault of a single woman or child? Are we affirming or materially contributing to their crimes when we watch films or listen to music made by abusers?”

Earlier: Hugh Hefner, Gangsta Rap & the Emerging Moral Majority: “Slowly, however, the elite of our culture seem to be drifting toward a new, far-more jaundiced and suspicious view of popular culture from the 1960s to the 1990s.”

And for my own thoughts on Joe Hagan’s biography of Wenner, click here: Sticky Fingers: A New Biography Explores the Seedier Side of Jann Wenner.

SARAH HOYT: YOUR NEIGHBOR IS WATCHING YOU.

Big Brother is dead and in a freezer, but his frozen brain sends out spasmodic thought-orders through the network of Marxists in the nation.  Today they go after racistsexisthomophobes, tomorrow they extend that to “Islamophobes” and prevent, say, the outlawing of female genital mutilation.

Read the whole thing. As Ross Douthat of the New York Times and National Review tweeted last year when Time-Warner-CNN-HBO employee Lena Dunham admitted she was prepared to dox airline stewardesses if they displayed insufficient wokeness, “Every great idealist begins as a rebel, becomes a square, and eventually degenerates into a narc.”

ROD DREHER: THE THERAPEUTIC IS OUR ULTIMATE TERRORIST.’

We are creating a fragilistic society. It is happening from the top to the bottom, from Yale to Appalachia. Yes, people in power are doing this to us, but we are also doing it to ourselves. All of us.

We can’t go on like this. Many of us won’t, because reality will smash them. Some of us won’t because we were able to see the ruin ahead, and turn away from it. Whenever people start telling you to be “inclusive,” you had better ask what, exactly, they are asking you to include. It could be the carrier of dysfunctional cultural practices that, if they spread within your community — and, most importantly, your family — could mean its downfall. Look around you: it’s happening everywhere.

Anyway, yeah, I’m cranky about this garbage. But I have my reasons.

Read the whole thing.

Related: Prof foretells dire consequences from PC academic culture.

DECLASSIFIED CONGRESSIONAL REPORT: JAMES CLAPPER LIED ABOUT DOSSIER LEAKS TO CNN.

As The Federalist‘s Mollie Hemingway noted after Comey’s memos were finally made available to the public, the fired FBI director’s account of the briefing of Trump suggested that the entire briefing was a setup from the beginning, and that it was scheduled and held just so it could be leaked to journalists who wanted an excuse to publish a dossier nobody had verified.

In their coordinated response to the full intelligence committee’s findings, committee Democrats defended Clapper, claiming that he broke no laws while acknowledging that he did leak information about the dossier to CNN’s Jake Tapper.

“Evaluated in context, Clapper denied leaking classified information, while acknowledging that, as DNI, he engaged in legitimate discussion of unclassified, non-intelligence information with Tapper,” they concluded.

Read the whole thing.

Related: CNN Rewarded Obama Official With Contract After Leaking Dossier To Tapper, Report Says.

THE PARALLEL UNIVERSE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES, as explored by P.J. O’Rourke:

It had long been my opinion that the writers and editors of the New York Times and, by extension, their readers live on a different planet—the planet where a martini costs $20. But, upon perusal of the Sunday Review section, I see that I was wrong. They do not live on another planet. They live in another cosmos—a universe with different physics, different mathematics, different scientific constants, and different laws of nature.

The lead essay in the Sunday Review is by Amy Chozick, adapted from her new book Chasing Hillary. The headline is a quotation from Hillary Clinton: “They Were Never Going To Let Me Be President.”

The Hillary Clinton of Universe New York Times (UNYT) is similar to the Hillary Clinton of the known universe (U1) except that in UNYT she was the rightful winner of the 2016 election.

Chozick’s subject is time travel—impossible in U1 but commonplace in UNYT . By means of technology unknown to the inhabitants of U1, Chozick transports her UNYT readers to an ancient period of fossilization that political paleontologists of U1 have named “Who Cares?” There, she and her audience experience phenomena hardly imaginable to us. In U1 we sometimes beat a dead horse, but in UNYT they feed it and groom it and ride it around.

Order up a $20 Martini and read the whole thing.

TOUR DE FORCE: FNC’s Baier Grills Comey Over Dossier, E-Mail, Leaks in Epic Interview.

The questioning began with the Hillary Clinton e-mail probe and if it was “true that you and your FBI colleagues made the decision to exonerate Secretary Clinton well before she was interviewed.”

Comey denied that despite having written a memo exonerating her and emphasized that it’s crucial for investigators to have an idea of where a probe that ended up lasting almost a year.

It was soon after that Baier showed his mettle, telling Comey that “you already knew that she had been telling, whatever you want to say, lies, mistruths about this investigation of what — and how she handled those emails” and played a clip of Comey stating just that in congressional testimony in July 2016.

Here’s more of that exchange, including a question about why Cheryl Mills was allowed to sit in on Clinton’s FBI interview.

Read the whole thing.

More here: Comey Makes Surprising New Claims In Disastrous Fox News Interview.

MESSING WITH THE MULLAHS: America now has a leader willing to practice coercive diplomacy.

From Radio Free Europe:

Every day, hundreds head to Tehran’s bustling Ferdowsi street to buy foreign currency, only to find that many exchange offices have shut up shop, have turned off their currency-rate displays, or have signs up reading, “We don’t have U.S. dollars to sell.”

A nationwide dollar-buying panic is in full swing, spurred by the plunging value of the Iranian rial, a sluggish economy, and fears that the United States will reimpose crippling sanctions on the Islamic republic.

With the rial hitting all-time lows, the government has imposed an official exchange rate of 42,000 rials against the dollar, set a cap on the amount of foreign currency that citizens can hold outside banks, and sent police to patrol exchange shops to ensure that no under-the-table currency trading is going on.

But economists say the new currency measures will be difficult to maintain. Exchangers are hoarding U.S. dollars, and Iranians who require foreign hard currency for business or travel are already defying the government and turning to the black market, where the rate has skyrocketed.

Read the whole thing.

ROGER SIMON: Kanye Exposes Liberals and Progressives as the New Reactionaries.

Read the whole thing.

HMM: How America’s Mistakes In The Middle East Are Benefiting China. “The paralyzing and costly zigzags of American policy over the last couple of decades have opened doors for rivals to benefit at its expense.”

China — without firing a shot, committing troops to active military intervention in the Middle East’s myriad proxy conflicts, and doing little more in international diplomacy than raising their hands against the occasional contentious resolution at the United Nations Security Council — became the world’s largest investor in the Arab Middle East two years ago, with commitments of almost $30 billion and a close to 32 percent share of all foreign direct investment. Beijing seeks to integrate the Middle East’s largest economies into its One Belt One Road development initiative while avoiding imperial overstretch, recognizing the crucial role of economic development, human capital, and strategic investment to future global power.

In line with its cynically independent foreign policy — which seeks little to no input from secondary powers about its interests — China has methodically reaped the rewards of America’s mistakes.

Read the whole thing.

THE MISANTHROPIC MRS. CLINTON:

You might expect Clinton to at least be sensitive to sexism. Instead she was a source of it. “She told aides she knew women reporters would be harder on her. We’d be jealous and catty and more spiteful than men. We’d be impervious to her flirting.” (Side note: Chozick actually thinks flirting with Hillary Clinton is something men want to do.) A running joke had it that the unofficial motto of Clinton supporters was, “I’m With Her . . . I Guess.” This, even though Chozick and other female reporters were sympathetic to Hillary based on gender solidarity: “I still felt some kind of feminine bond with Hillary then,” she writes of her early months on the beat, and later describes her coverage as “neutral to positive, with plenty of wet kisses thrown in.”

Clinton’s poor political instincts infected the entire campaign. One aide ripped a sign saying “I [heart] Hillary” out of a little girl’s hands in Phoenix because “Brooklyn [the site of Clinton’s headquarters] thought it best that Everydays hold professionally produced signs that displayed the message du jour rather than something made with love and some finger paint.”

As for larger strategic moves, Chozick notes dryly of a March excursion, “That was Hillary’s last trip to Wisconsin.” Team Clinton in its waning days was spending money in Utah, Indiana, Missouri, Arizona, and even Texas while the Upper Midwest was begging for more resources. Bill Clinton was meanwhile going “red in the face” warning his wife’s team “that Trump had a shrewd understanding . . . of the white working class,” Chozick says. Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, responded by spoofing Bill behind his back, as one would Grandpa Simpson: “And let me tell you another thing about the white working class,” he’d say, mockingly.

Savaging the guy who actually won multiple elections as both governor and president is just a minor example of how out of touch the campaign was. Read the whole thing.

I BLAME THE ROTHCHILDS: Trayon White gets a pass when nobody else would.

I assume by now you’ve heard about D.C. Councilman Trayon White’s rather “unusual” views on how the Jews are controlling the weather and his even more disastrous trip to the Holocaust Museum. One might imagine that this story is fairly well wrapped up at this point. I mean, it’s 2018, right? We’re not having any of this intolerance and blatant antisemitism, particularly when it comes to elected officials. If this guy isn’t out the door already it’s got to just be a matter of time.

With this much evidence stacked up (and really not even disputed by the person in question), the paragons of virtue at the Washington Post must be ready to throw him under the bus. Or so you might imagine. But it turns out that you’d be wrong. The WaPo editorial board did indeed weigh in on the subject this week, but instead of calling for Councilman White to step down in disgrace, they’re suggesting that he keep his head down and get back to work for the people of his city.

Read the whole thing. Does Jeff Bezos care about what’s going on inside of his newspaper?

Related: As the daughter of Holocaust survivors, I’m alarmed that our country is forgetting the genocide.

FLINT TOWN: NETFLIX CHRONICLES LIBERALISM’S TRAGIC DISASTER. “Flint Town is a real-life companion piece to The Wire. It’s unflinching and apolitical, and required viewing for anyone who wants to talk about the problems of inner-city America.”

Read the whole thing.

KEVIN WILLIAMSON ON HOW THEY DO ‘JOURNALISM’ AT NEW YORK MAGAZINE:

Imagine an election in which the majority votes to disenfranchise some despised minority group and then defends the results as “democracy.” In a similar way, social media is purportedly an instrument for the enabling of discourse that is in fact used to prevent actual exchange—and, unhappily, the same desire to preempt genuine dialogue can be found throughout the ordinary news media. That is even true at prestigious publications such as New York magazine, which either is or is not interested in what I think about abortion and capital punishment, depending on which is more politically useful at the moment.

Read the whole thing.

FEAR WILL KEEP THE LOCAL STUDENTS IN LINE: The Hidden Legacy of Columbine: Ignorance About School Violence. “On another National School Walkout day, 57 percent of teens are worried about dying in a school shooting. They shouldn’t be.”

Invoking Columbine is meant to remind people that such attacks have been happening for decades, and to imply that this is because national leaders have continually failed to implement solutions.

But Columbine should teach us a different lesson: The press, the public, and policymakers are often ignorant, and doing the wrong thing can be just as counterproductive as not doing anything. In the wake of Columbine, so-called experts completely misdiagnosed the causes of the crime, and they decided to implement “safety” policies that gravely undermined students’ rights without making schools any safer.

Read the whole thing.

JEFF JACOBY THINKS WE USE THE F-WORD TOO MUCH IN PUBLIC DISCOURSE:  Ordinarily, I would agree with him wholeheartedly.  But he leads with the example of Red Sox Designated Hitter David “Big Papi” Ortiz just after the Boston Marathon massacre.  At the first home game after the incident, just hours after Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had been apprehended, there was a ceremony honoring the victims and first responders.  Big Papi took the microphone: “We want to thank you, Mayor Menino, Governor Patrick, the whole police department for the great job they did this past week,” he said.  “This is our f**king city.  And nobody’s going to dictate our freedom.  Stay strong,” he said.

If the f-word has any place in public discourse, that has to be it.   Among other things, Big Papi can lay claim to the baseball exception to all otherwise-applicable rules of etiquette.  (I kind of remember reading in Emily Post that such an exception exists, didn’t I?)  Moreover, the far more egregious obscenity had occurred earlier in the week.

CANDACE OWENS’ MOMENT: “Owens uses a theme from the movie The Matrix to urge young people to ‘take the red pill’ and become conservatives like her. She has even had the courage to take on the Black Lives Matter movement. Yesterday morning, Kanye West tweeted his approval of Candace… That caused the Left to go insane.”

Read the whole thing.

DARKLY CONSPIRATORIAL HILLARY CLINTON: “I Knew They Would Never Let Me Be President.”

The Daily Beast has another damning quote — “Basket of Deplorables” was no off-the-cuff line. Hillary routinely used it as a laugh line in big-money fundraising dinners in swank places like the Hamptons… Funny, I don’t remember [Amy Chozick of the New York Times] or anyone else covering Clinton during the campaign reporting that little nugget. It’s almost as if they were trying to protect her from herself, and deliberately hiding relevant information from the public they were allegedly helping to make an informed choice.

Read the whole thing.

THE GALLERY OF REGRETTABLE FOOD, THE EARLY DAYS:

The book is called Perfection Salad: Women and Cooking at the Turn of the Century. Written by Laura Shapiro, it’s a history of the “Scientific Cooking” movement, in which a group of women of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s tried to revolutionize American cooking, introducing the idea of order and form as paramount considerations. Sounds rather dull, but I found the book surprisingly riveting.

It turns out that these ladies were trying to tame food and civilize it. The goal was to make it an esthetic and refined experience, as far from its “animal” roots as possible, and devoid of any “low” and ethnic influences–such as, for example, that tiny detail known to us as taste (if you are of a certain age, like me, and you wonder why the food of your youth was so uniformly bland, these ladies share some of the blame). Color was elevated to a matter of extreme importance, and white was the very best color of all.

Read the whole thing. P.J. O’Rourke once joked that “When you think of the good old days, think one word: dentistry.” Much of yesterday’s cooking qualifies as well.

(Speaking of which, classical reference in headline.)

KEVIN WILLIAMSON EXPLAINS WHAT HAPPENED AT THE ATLANTIC. While Kevin Williamson’s response to the Atlantic’s fiasco is behind the Wall Street Journal’s paywall, Jonathan Last quotes several paragraphs of it at the Weekly Standard, before concluding:

Liberalism controls the commanding heights of industry, technology, the media, entertainment, and the academy. Conservatives control, what . . . churches? (Though maybe not as much as people think.) And yet, the progressive left seems to genuinely believe that they are beset on all sides by conservative monsters.

Ultimately, the firing of Kevin Williamson wasn’t really about Kevin Williamson. It was simply a case of Who? Whom?

Just as it always is.

Read the whole thing.

YOUR DAILY TREACHER: ‘They Were Never Going to Let Me Be President,’ Said the Woman Who Thought It Was Her Due.

Norm Macdonald, in addition to being the best Weekend Update anchor ever, is also a keen student of human nature. Last year he summed up the results of the 2016 presidential election with this koan-like observation: “People hated Hillary Clinton so much that they voted for someone they hated more than Hillary Clinton in order to rub it in.”

Heh. Read the whole thing, needless to say.

ANDREW KLAVAN: “This is a country of 325-million people. If two guys getting tossed out of a coffee shop is news, then things in Donald Trump’s America must be going pretty damned well.”

Read the whole thing.

MOLLIE HEMINGWAY: Comey’s Memos Indicate Dossier Briefing Of Trump Was A Setup.

Keep in mind that nothing we now know about the dossier had been reported at the time. It wasn’t yet reported that it was used by the FBI to provide a substantial basis to wiretap at least one Trump affiliate despite the fact it was unverified. It wasn’t yet reported that the product was bought and paid for as a Hillary Clinton campaign operation, or that it was secretly funded by the DNC using a law firm as a pass-through to hide its provenance in federal campaign filings. It wasn’t yet reported that its author’s working relationship with the FBI was terminated because he had lied to the agency about how he wouldn’t talk to the media.

After nearly a year of wrangling, the seven memos written by Comey were finally handed over on Thursday to Congress, which oversees the operation and funding of the FBI and the Department of Justice (DOJ). The memos purport to show Comey’s version of his interactions with the president before Comey was fired last May. According to Daniel Richman, the original recipient of Comey’s leaks who now claims to be his personal attorney, Comey gave him four memos. Four of the seven memos are classified, meaning that at least one of the memos he leaked was classified. By his own account, Comey orchestrated these leaks to the media in order to launch an aggressive special counsel to avenge his firing by Trump in May 2017. The memos given to Congress on Thursday were quickly leaked to the media.

Read the whole thing.

ANDREW FERGUSON ON BARBARA BUSH’S SUBVERSIVE SECRET TO HAPPINESS:

These seemingly anodyne, Hallmark-y words, when taken seriously, are the most subversive words that could be uttered, then or now, on a college campus—a place where subversive words are supposed to be prized and protected but often aren’t. Mrs. Bush’s subversion wasn’t a matter of left or right, or even of feminism or traditionalism. She cut much deeper, into an American faith that transcends political categories.

Read the whole thing.

ACCUSING THE EVIL WRECKERS AND SABOTEURS OF HAVING A FALSE CONSCIOUSNESS, 21st CENTURY EDITION: The Dark Side of the Starbucks Stand-Down.

In more rational times, Starbucks would discipline the manager responsible, notify the rest of its employees that discriminatory behavior will not be tolerated, and be done with it. After all, no one reasonably  believes that Starbucks — a company that consistently competes for gold in the corporate Woke Olympics — turns a blind eye to systemic racism. No one reasonably believes that the company’s founder is anything other than committed to racial equality.

But we live in hysterical times, and hysterical times call for hysterical measures. So Starbucks hasn’t just publicly apologized. It hasn’t just sent its CEO to meet with the men and personally apologize. It’s ordering a national stand-down at more than 8,000 company-owned stores and forcing more than 175,000 employees to undergo “racial bias” training, including training in so-called unconscious bias.

Starbucks employees, welcome to the world of Orwellian junk science.

Read the whole thing.

(Classical references in headline.)

TONY HELLER: Thirty Years Of The James Hansen Clown Show. “It has been thirty years since CO2 hit 350 PPM and NASA’s James Hansen warned that the Midwest was going to burn up and dry up.”

You’ll want to read the whole, schadenfreudelicious thing.

PRECIOUS GEMS: These diamonds are tiny, flawed, and may come from a long-lost planet.

A new study published in Nature Communications today offers a dramatic origin story for the meteorite. Based on materials found inside the diamonds nestled within, researchers think this may be the remnant of a long-lost planet or planetary embryo; one that was still in its infancy when the chaos of the early solar system obliterated it.

In this case, the diamonds aren’t the most important part of this story. They’re just the heavy-duty packaging for much more precious cargo held inside. While a jeweler might see a bit of rock trapped inside a diamond as a flaw, to a geologist it is precious. Because of their strong crystal structure, diamonds can preserve minuscule bits of material that would otherwise disappear under the relentless changeability of the universe over time.

Researcher Farhang Nabiei—of the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland—was looking at the relationship between the diamonds and the layers of graphite surrounding them when he started wondering about the small pockets of substances trapped within.

Upon closer inspection, he found that the material inside the diamonds could only have been formed at incredibly high pressures—much higher than anything the meteorite would have been subject to as it crashed toward Earth. These diamonds must have held the weight of an entire world — literally.

Read the whole thing — this is an amazing find.

NEO-OTTOMANS: Erdoğan seeks to expand Turkey’s influence in the Middle East through diplomacy – and force.

On our third trip to Istanbul, my wife and I visited the 19th century Dolmabahce Palace, once the administrative centre of the Ottoman Empire. As we toured the 285-room palace my wife was struck with not just how well preserved it was, but that it was one of at least five palaces from the Ottoman era in Turkey that are now museums open to the public.

This is telling, because it is not something found across the rest of the Middle East and Arab world, where such palaces are still very much in use as palaces – for example, the nine palaces in Jordan. Turkey is a modern republic created from the heart of the former Ottoman empire, established since the 14th century. Few of the other former regions of the empire across the Middle East and North Africa can boast of such a long political history, with countries such as Jordan not yet even 100 years old.

Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, is well aware of this fact, and does not distinguish between glorious empire and modern republic. “The Republic of Turkey is also a continuation of the Ottomans,” he declared in a recent speech.

Read the whole thing.

UNPOSSIBLE, HE USES NONE OF THE APPROVED STOCK PHRASES: Roger Simon: Trump Vastly Better than Obama at Foreign Policy.

Now that we have learned CIA director and secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo met with Kim Jung-un over Easter, it is time to acknowledge the obvious: the foreign policy of political novice Donald Trump has been vastly more successful that that of the supposedly experienced Barack Obama.

And vastly is an understatement. Obama’s foreign policy was a disaster, beginning with the peculiar apology tour that mystified much of its Middle Eastern audience, through the yet more peculiar (misspelled) reset button with Russia that further mystified Sergei Lavrov, on to Obama’s overheard whisper to Medvedev telling Putin he would be more accommodating on missile defense after the election (imagine the apoplectic reaction of our media if Trump did that!) to the Libyan war leading to the assassination of Qaddafi (the only Arab leader to voluntarily denuclearize) that created a failed state and a raft of refugees to Italy and elsewhere, and, of course, the rapid exit from Iraq that gave rise to ISIS.

And this omits the equally egregious examples – the failure to enforce the red line on Assad’s use of chemical weapons, about which he naively believed Putin, and the never-signed, never published Iran Deal itself, which has done nothing but enrich the mullahs who wreak havoc from Venezuela to Yemen. This duplicitous and unverifiable non-agreement prolonged the monstrous Syrian civil war, causing the greatest refugee crisis since World War II and changing the character of Europe possibly forever.

There’s more but you get the point. Not even Jimmy Carter had that bad a record. And this is without Obama’s sickening lack of response to the freedom demonstrators in Iran. (“Obama, Obama, are you with us or are you with them?” Well, we know.)

And Trump?

To begin with, there’s the near-annihilation of ISIS. Then there’s the renewed alliance with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States without, miracle of miracles, the ostracism of Israel. Indeed, while announcing the move of the US embassy to Jerusalem (with little protest by ME standards), the Israeli-Saudi alliance has flourished. Does this mean an solution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem is imminent? Probably not. But at least the decades of moribund unchanging policy since Oslo have finally been bypassed and new perspectives made possible.

Read the whole thing.

ON STARBUCKS AND “RACISM:”

  1. Now Starbucks is saying this was all contrary to their policy and, presumably, anyone who wants to sit in their shops and not order anything and use the bathrooms has the right to do so as long as they like.
  2. Starbucks, in other words, has just announced its stores are not stores primarily, but are now privately-funded shelters and bathroom facilities for the homeless. You don’t have to spend a slim dime in the store to sit as long as you please and use the bathrooms.
  3. That’ll be great for Starbucks’ business. Their yuppie douchebag clientele love the homeless in the abstract, but we’ll see how much they appreciate their coffee shops being jammed with them, close-up-like, occupying most tables and chairs.
  4. I don’t even want to defend Starbucks; I want them to have the full taste of Social Justice Warrior progressivism. If this is the company’s ideology, then they should live that ideology to the full.

Read the whole thing.

Live by Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals, die by it as well.  I don’t think Starbucks realizes what they’ve let themselves in for after years of leftwing virtue signaling. As Noah Rothman writes at Commentary in a post titled “Eating Their Own,” Starbucks’ management brought much of the ongoing fury on themselves via their own virtue signaling and speaking in SJW pieties:

Rosalind Brewer, Starbucks COO and a young African-American woman, called the incident a “teachable moment for all of us” and recommended “unconscious-bias” training for every Starbucks staffer. Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson joined ABC’s “Good Morning America” to personally apologize to the men involved in this incident when protesters interrupted his appearance. “A whole lot of racism, a whole lot of crap, Starbucks coffee is anti-black,” they chanted. You can’t blame these demonstrators for noticing that the terms of engagement had broadened significantly.

* * * * * * * *

It is easy to see why this kind of activism is more satisfying than, say, going on about Chick-Fil-A’s Christian values. Despite a six-year-long liberal campaign dedicated to educating the public on the deliciousness of its products, the benefits and time off afforded its employees, and franchising opportunities in underserved urban markets, this chain just keeps on expanding. Imagine that. Routinely rebuffed assaults on a fortified position are exhausting. They are nowhere near as rewarding as a direct attack on a receptive target that yields a quick and gratifying victory. That explains why social justice activists are increasingly focused on exacting concessions from like minds: young adult novelists, liberal filmmakers, Hollywood executives, painters, restauranteurs, university professors and administrators, socially conscious corporations, and the left-of-center politicians who have folded these activists into their core constituencies.

These intramural feuds are transforming the progressive movement from within, but it’s not clear that the social-justice movement has secured anything other than the illusion of efficacy.

By appeasing the mob, Starbucks’ management have walked into a box canyon. Get woke, go broke? It’s going to be fascinating to see what happens next.

ANALYSIS: TRUE. The Photo of Protesters at Starbucks Is a Sad but Accurate Representation of Our Times.

We can all agree that racism is bad, and shouldn’t be allowed. The social justice warriors claim this too, but their solution isn’t understanding and togetherness. It’s finding a culprit, generating outrage about said culprit, and finding a way to make said culprit a pariah. That culprit can play any part they need it to as well. Corporations, the rich, white people, men, Christians, police, Trump, Pence, guns, NRA, Republicans, or even women if you’re Hillary Clinton.

It doesn’t matter if you fit any or all of these qualifiers. To the social justice mob, we are all sinners. They demand you repent and apologize for your transgressions against their religion’s version of morality, but unlike Christ, the true definer of morality in our western culture, you are not forgiven after your penance. You’re still a pariah, only now you’re a useful one. An example of how the mob is all-powerful and ready to conquer you at any moment.

It doesn’t matter if you did it or not. You still better fall on your knees and swear obedience.

Read the whole thing. Ironically, as Mollie Hemmingway noted in 2015, Starbucks’ then-CEO (now executive chairman) Howard Schultz wanted Zack and the rest of his baristas to be the ones preaching the ol’ time social justice gospel to the heathens:

The whole campaign reminded me so much of this story from 2004, when an American Airlines pilot got on the loudspeaker and asked passengers who were Christian to raise their hands. Then he suggested to the ones who raised their hands that they spend the remainder of the flight trying to convert those who hadn’t. The passengers were so confused by the request that they wondered if the pilot was a terrorist.

Listen, I love few things more than sharing the good news that Jesus has triumphed over sin, death and Satan with others and I hate racism. But there’s a reason why the American Airlines pilot and the Starbucks approaches freak people out! Yes, part of it is that there’s a time and place to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ and discuss difficult social problems. But also, these things are highly ineffective when done outside of a personal relationship.

I don’t know if Zack was working for Starbucks in 2015, but he (including whatever is left of his hearing) is definitely paying penance for the sins of his boss.

Local Black Lives Matter activist Asa Khalif, left, stands inside a Starbucks, Sunday April 15, 2018, demanding the firing of the manager who called police resulting the arrest of two black men on Thursday. The arrests were captured on video that quickly gained traction on social media. (AP photo and caption.)

OH: Turns Out That New York Times’ Clinton Email ‘Botched Story’ Actually Wasn’t.

The Clinton campaign, which requested the corrections in the first place, seized on those small inconsistencies and attempted to use them to discredit the entire story. The campaign wrote a nearly 2,000-word public letter to the Times demanding an explanation for the “egregious” story and attacking the paper’s “apparent abandonment of standard journalistic practices.”

Liberal media outlets were more than happy to join in the pile-on. Newsweek‘s Kurt Eichenwald declared the Times guilty of “a level of recklessness that borders on, well, criminal behavior.” The Atlantic called the “botched story” a “huge embarrassment” for the paper. Salon.com declared it “another shoddy Clinton smear.” Mother Jones wrote that it was an “epic screw-up.”

But former FBI director James Comey’s new book indicates that the ridiculous semantics game was even more moot than it appeared. The Times actually understated the reality: Clinton was already under criminal investigation at the time by the FBI, and yes, she was definitely the target.

“Though The Times may have thought those clarifications were necessary, their original story was much closer to the mark,” Comey writes. “It was true that the transmission to the F.B.I. from the inspector general did not use the word ‘criminal,’ but by the time of the news story, we had a full criminal investigation open, focused on the secretary’s conduct.”

Read the whole thing.

YOUR DAILY TREACHER: Even Starbucks Is Racist Now, Apparently.

In three years, Starbucks has gone from this…

…To facing this:

As Treacher writes:

I hope this fiasco proves instructive to Howard Schultz and everybody else at Starbucks. No matter how liberal you are, no matter how hard you work to establish and maintain your #woke credentials, all it takes is one slip-up. Just one viral video, taken on one of the cameras that we all carry now, and the angry mob will descend on you. Nothing you do or say will appease them. No apology will be sufficient. You can’t grovel low enough.

Read the whole thing.

UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES: Oxycontin Tweak Helped Turn Addicts to Heroin.

“We attribute the recent quadrupling of heroin death rates to the August 2010 reformulation of an oft-abused prescription opioid, OxyContin,” continues the report, authored by William Evans and Ethan Lieber, both from the University of Notre Dame, and Patrick Power from Boston University.

Deaths from heroin jumped to more than 15,000 in 2016, up from around 3,000 in 2010, according to the KFF data. And the fatalities from semisynthetic opioids stayed relatively flat for a few years and then grew, but much more slowly than previously.

Read the whole thing.

ROGER KIMBALL ON ROBERT MUELLER’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE.

Read the whole thing.

WAIT, YOU MEAN OBAMA’S DACA ENCOURAGES ID THEFT BY ILLEGAL ALIENS? Yes, that’s exactly what Dale Wilcox of the Immigration Reform Law Institute contends and he’s got the data to prove it. As Glenn famously says, read the whole thing.

ANALYSIS: TRUE. California Is the Model for National Divorce, Not Democratic Domination:

Third, while Teixeira and Leyden point to California as a model for combatting inequality, it’s one of the most unequal states in the nation. The most prosperous parts of the state are not only undeniably beautiful, they’re also populated by a creative and entrepreneurial class that gives each place a distinctive intellectual energy. If you’re rich enough, parts of California are very, very nice places to live. If you’re not, housing prices will keep you out more effectively than the guards at any gated community.

The end result is inequality so great that the nation’s tech titans happen to live in the poverty capital of America. According to the Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure, nearly one out of five state residents is poor.

Finally, California’s progressive supermajority has led to a spate of petty authoritarianism that most Americans reject. I’ve written extensively about how California is seceding from the Constitution. The state has taken direct aim at the First Amendment rights of its pro-life citizens, implemented confiscatory gun-control policies, regulated pronoun usage, and repeatedly attempted to restrict religious liberty. All too often California progressives have demonstrated that “California values” are incompatible with the Bill of Rights.

Read the whole thing.

THE IMPORTANCE OF STRIKING SYRIA’S SCIENTIFIC STUDIES AND RESEARCH CENTER: As Claudia Rosett writes, “Leading from in front, President Trump is finally redrawing the red line that President Obama erased in 2013. Whatever the threats and criticisms that will surely follow, the world will be safer for it. The vital message is that America is no longer the hamstrung giant of the Obama era.”

Read the whole thing.

ANDREW FERGUSON RECORDS THE END OF ‘CIVILISATION:’

In the closing moments of the final episode of Civilisation, Clark intended to strike a note of optimism. “When I look at the world about me in the light of these programs, I don’t at all feel as though we are entering on a new period of barbarism,” he said. He shows us the campus of the then-new University of East Anglia. Apple-cheeked college students pop in and out of classrooms, labor over books—the baby boomers as Clark hoped they were in 1969. “These inheritors of all our catastrophes look cheerful enough. . . . In fact, I should doubt if so many people have ever been as well-fed, as well-read, as bright-minded, as curious, and as critical as the young are today.”

Watching at home, we can assume, was the 14-year-old Mary Beard, all a-tingle and raring to go to college herself, where she could use her curiosity and reading and bright-mindedness to prove the great man and his theory wrong.

Read the whole thing. Back in 2013, I described watching Kenneth Clark’s seminal program as akin to reading “Notes from Atlantis” – the postwar British culture that made it simply no longer exists. As Ferguson writes, from the title onward, the BBC’s new sequel, Civilisations (note the title is of course, now plural), “pokes us in the ribs” repeatedly with its successor intellectual culture – a queasy mélange of postmodernism and multiculturalism. Exit quote from Beard, one of the hosts of the new series:

‘We’ know that ‘we’ are civilised by contrasting ourselves with those we deem to be uncivilised. . . . The inconvenient truth, of course, is that so-called ‘barbarians’ may be no more than those with a different view from ourselves of what it is to be civilised, and of what matters in human culture. In the end, one person’s barbarity is another person’s civilisation.

No. (Nice paraphrase of the motto at Reuters that “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter,” though.) As Saul Bellow famously said in the early 1990s, eternally angering the left, “Who is the Tolstoy of the Zulus? The Proust of the Papuans? I’d be glad to read him.”

ROGER SIMON: Why I Won’t Read James Comey’s Book.

Unlike Comey’s book, read the whole thing.

DISPATCHES FROM THE INTERSECTION OF THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE AND THE RETURN OF THE PRIMITIVE. Josh Blackman: Students at CUNY Law Protested and Heckled My Lecture about Free Speech on Campus.

A student shouted out “Fuck the law.” This comment stunned me. I replied, “Fuck the law? That’s a very odd thing. You are all in law school. And it is a bizarre thing to say fuck the law when you are in law school.” They all started to yell and shout over me.

Read the whole thing; don’t miss the many photos of the protestors and their, err, colorful signage.

HEH: Mick Mulvaney says it’s Elizabeth Warren’s own fault he doesn’t have to answer her questions.

“I encourage you to consider the possibility that the frustration you are experiencing now, and that which I had a few years back, are both inevitable consequences of the fact that the Dodd-Frank… Act insulates the Bureau from virtually any accountability to the American people through their elected representatives,” Mulvaney wrote.

Read the whole thing.

Related: Keith Ellison Thinks ‘Frosted’ Glass Is an Assault on Government Transparency — The Minnesota Representative took CFPB Director Mike Mulvaney to task for ‘frosted’ glass office.

THE PRE-MORTEMS HAVE BEGUN: Our awful Congress.

Read the whole thing.

(Classical Insta-reference in headline.)

BLESS HER HEART: Molly Ringwald Tries to Make The Breakfast Club a MeToo Moment.

Ringwald’s essay is suffused with a sense of sorrow and rebuke, competing with a sheepish suspicion that she is being a tad ungrateful for what Hughes did for her. The National Lampoon writer-turned-filmmaker, who died in 2009 and can no more defend himself than Pope Formosus can, plucked her headshot out of a stack of photos and began inventing scenarios for the girl he imagined her to be. Without Hughes, there would be no Ringwald. Ringwald’s scolding of him is a bit hard to justify: She explains how she feared it would cause distress to her daughter, with whom she viewed The Breakfast Club recently, to watch the scene in which Bender (Judd Nelson) crawls under the desk and peeks up the skirt of Ringwald’s character, Claire. It is implied that he touches her inappropriately. This scene didn’t involve any exploitation of Ringwald, because an adult body double filmed it. Ringwald’s daughter isn’t bothered by it. It’s the sort of thing directors have randy teens do in larkish high-school comedies because kids watching know they can’t actually get away with it in school. Yet Ringwald is determined to make a thing of it.

Of course she is. Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: “But if the revisionist attacks on Hughes go much beyond what Ringwald has done here, I will be putting a knife in my teeth and flinging myself over the trenches and leading the charge in the culture war. Hughes simply must be defended, both because he was a singular talent and because he could be considered the most overtly America-loving filmmaker since Frank Capra. In this respect, an unstated issue here explains why Ringwald might be looking back and seeing herself in these films at the center of a worldview she doesn’t like. Hughes was allegedly a Republican, but as anyone familiar with the personalities coming out of National Lampoon in the 1970s knows, he most likely had a very libertarian perspective that was really a counterculture to counterculture.”

THIS TOWN NEEDS AN ENEMA: Cynthia Nixon Is Ripping The NY Democratic Party Apart.

Jazz Shaw:

Unless there’s a radical change in the polls over the next month or two, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is in little danger of being booted to the curb by Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon. But even if she doesn’t manage to take the Governor’s office, it’s looking more and more as if Nixon will have a lasting effect. The Empire State’s Democratic Party is currently undergoing an identity crisis as some of the most vocal and established activist groups square off against one another in a fight to see whether they should veer further to the left or stick with mainstream, machine politics which have kept them in power. And some of those voices are already picking sides, seeing something in Nixon which rings a chord in their Berniecrat hearts.

Read the whole thing.

(Classical reference in the headline.)

ROGER SIMON: Trump Must be the Strong Horse Now.

Read the whole thing.

MELISSA MACKENZIE: Those who’ve declared war on the elected president see this as the beginning of the end for him.

To the lawyerly among the Twitterati, there must be a there, there. One commenter mused upon the “slow roll of the Nixon investigation” and saw an analogy. And he’s right. There is an analogy. The media hate Donald Trump just as they hated Richard Nixon. Democrats hate Donald Trump just as they hated Richard Nixon. And there are enough Republicans who cannot abide the shift in the demographics of the Republican electorate that they profoundly desire to see Donald Trump fail. And then, Donald Trump’s own pugnacious streak makes him frustrating enough that even his devoted followers grow exasperated at his behavior.

But, Donald Trump is not Richard Nixon and America today is not the Vietnam-era times fraught with an unpopular foreign war. Today, the war being fought is cold and civil and cultural. In D.C. and cities around the country, elites are shocked and horrified that someone such as Trump even is in office. They hate him. They hate anyone who would support him. The fact that Donald Trump enjoys 86% approval among Republicans fills them with revulsion at him and them. Those people.

Many from Mueller on down believe they are doing God’s own work by investigating Trump and following the trail to wherever it leads, even though it’s leading away from Russian collusion and into the Siberia of business sleaze.

Read the whole thing.

SPENGLER: President Trump Is Magnificently Right and Catastrophically Wrong. “America’s trade deficit is like a giant benign tumor: It’s troublesome and ultimately dangerous, but it’s a symptom, not the cause, of the underlying problem. Cut it out with a rusty scalpel and the patient will bleed to death. Trump is entirely right to address the problem, but some of the advice he is getting may have disastrous consequences.”

Read the whole thing.

RICHARD FERNANDEZ: An Evitable Disaster.

“The Great Lesson of California in America’s New Civil War”, according to Peter Leyden and Ruy Teixeira in Medium is “there’s no bipartisan way forward at this juncture in our history — one side must win. … The solution for the people of California was to reconfigure the political landscape and shift a supermajority of citizens — and by extension their elected officials — under the Democratic Party’s big tent.”

This conquer or die view, unlike Kevin Williamson’s, is not beyond the pale. In fact Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey described the Medium article as a “great read”. The idea that only one side of the political aisle leaves the room while the other is clapped in irons plainly expresses many may have secretly thought except heretofore it was necessary to conceal it. Now the decks are cleared and some are itching to raise the Jolly Roger.

The major problem with this strategy is China, whose relentless competition will penalize all irrational political correctness and all serious division. America can become as dysfunctional as California but China will own it. As David Goldman noted in a speech delivered at Hillsdale College “China is a phenomenon unlike anything in economic history.”

Plus:

The American elite is no longer as it is accustomed to thinking of itself, “the only adult in the room” whose patience with the childish Red states is now at an end, but a fragile civilization hanging on to its advantage by a thread against China. Before the left raises the Jolly Roger they should note the giant war junk bearing down on them fast. America’s sole remaining advantage Goldman notes, is that it is ruled consensually, which is precisely the advantage Leiden and Teixeira intend to surrender. The dilemma for the Left is they can’t indulge their fantasies in the face of a peer competitor any more than an army can divide its forces in the face of the foe. They will need the Deplorables to survive. But they haven’t realized that yet.

Opening the borders to replace the Deplorables won’t work because the replacements won’t be as cooperative as those they are intended to replace. As David Goldman points out a low skilled balkanized population nurtured on gender studies and political correctness won’t save America from the Chinese challenge. . . .

The lesson being administered to Europe, with its stagnation, anomie and political crisis, is that the elites cannot rule without their core populations. The bureaucrats can command no real loyalty from their imported auxiliaries, who at the first default of payoffs will turn on the apparatchiks who will by then have nowhere to appeal for support. Thus the logic of civil war, as proclaimed in the Medium article, is the logic of the fall. This does not change the fact Leyden and Teixeira are probably correct in anticipating what happens next. Someone’s going to go for the brass ring or die trying.

Read the whole thing. May God save America from the fecklessness of its awful political class.

Related thoughts here.

ROGER SIMON: Assad’s Gas Will End the Iran Deal.

Read the whole thing.

SALENA ZITO: History proves that Americans can unite even when torn in two.

The Civil War was over.

“As the sun rose that morning neither man would know by mid-afternoon the war, for all intents and purposes, would end that day,” explained Ernie Price, a park ranger and director of education at Appomattox National Park.

But by mid-morning, Lee knew the Confederate cause was finished. He sent a message to Grant to meet for the purpose of surrender, and the Appomattox home of grocer Wilmer McLean was chosen for the moment.

When they met, Grant was poorly dressed, his uniform rumpled and covered in mud from the ride the night before. Years later in his memoirs, he admitted that he had no idea what he was going to ask from Lee in the surrender.

Yet, once he sat down at a small spindle desk in McLean’s front parlor, words of reconciliation poured out.

“Grant knew that the Confederate soldiers from that moment on were going to be US citizens again,” said Price. “Instead of placing them in prisons in the North he sends them home. His reasoning is: The sooner the South’s economy rebounds, the sooner the country can reconcile, so he paroles them.”

Grant also allowed Lee’s men to keep their personal sidearms and animals, knowing they would desperately need rations to survive.

This of course was back when Americans enjoyed leaders capable of seeing past the next news cycle or major poll.

But do read the whole thing.

ANDREW KLAVAN: ON KEVIN WILLIAMSON, THE ATLANTIC HAS NO EXCUSE.

There is only one reason to silence someone like Kevin: your arguments are so bad you can’t stand up to him in a fair debate.

On top of which, hiring a man away from his job, then firing him for being exactly who you knew he was is simply a skunk thing to do. Shame on [Atlantic editor Jeffrey] Goldberg, really.

In today’s political debate, there are two kinds of people: those who want to silence the voices they disagree with, and the good guys. Kevin Williamson is one of the good guys. Goldberg, it turns out, not so much.

Read the whole thing.

ED MORRISSEY REVIEWS CHAPPAQUIDDICK:

At nearly every turn in the film, Ted has a choice between the truth and his “version” of it, and every time he makes the wrong choice. In the end, faced with a decision about remaining in public life, he tells Gargan in a final betrayal that Moses had a bad temper and Peter betrayed Jesus, and yet both still led the people of God.

“Moses had a bad temper,” Gargan shoots back, “but he never left a girl at the bottom of the Red Sea.”

That scores a direct hit, as does Chappaquiddick in general. For those familiar with the details, there is an inexorable air to it that might leave one with the feel of a true-crime re-enactment, but the performances are powerful enough to make it worth seeing in the theater.

Read the whole thing. 

Related: NewsBusters rounds up some of the worst of the DNC-MSM’s takes over the years in their service as Ted Kennedy’s PR machine.

MATTHEW CONTINETTI OBSERVES “THE BATTLE OF WOKE ISLAND” AND ITS ORIGINS:

The hiring of a conservative writer for the opinion pages of a liberal publication now occasions a ferocious debate over whether the cause of social justice is being served by implicitly legitimizing an “offensive” voice. Such a debate, of course, assumes that the object of a publication is not to inform or entertain readers, nor to provide them a range of views, but to advance a party line. That is the logic of the campus. And that logic prevailed in the case of Kevin Williamson—a pungent libertarian writer hired by The Atlantic only to be terminated a week later over his views on abortion. (Needless to say, those views are pro-life.) Indeed, even the language of the announcement of Williamson’s firing, which accused him of “violent” speech, echoed the denunciations of student activists.

What I cannot predict are the ultimate consequences of the transformation of media, tech, and entertainment conglomerates into satellite campuses of Middlebury and Berkeley. It may well be the case that multiculturalism and intersectionality are good for Internet traffic and digital subscriptions, that to get woke is glorious for the bottom line. But these short-term profits come at the long-term cost of definitive, comprehensive, quality journalism. Nor should we forget the damage done to the livelihoods and futures of the people who run up against the intersectional vanguard. Violate the unwritten laws of micro-aggression in Silicon Valley, for instance, and you could be de-platformed from both the technological public squares of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube and, in the case of James Damore, from within the companies themselves.

At the Federalist, Ben Domenech writes that “Firing Kevin Williamson Is Just the Beginning,” and also spots the academic origins of his being de-platformed:

Williamson’s mistake, as an adopted son born to an unwed teenage mother, was being too honest about his belief that what he sees as the daily murder of infants should, in a more just society, have severe legal consequences. Well, that’s not what we want around here.

This brings to mind Herbert Marcuse’s “Repressive Tolerance”, published in 1965. This essay does a good job of summing it up.

Marcuse argued that, because of the radical repressiveness of Western society, a tolerance for all viewpoints actually contributed to social oppression. A pervasive network of assumptions and biases implicitly privileges the viewpoint of the powerful, so that seemingly “equal” presentations of opposite opinions actually end up benefiting the viewpoint of the powerful… Because of social programming, the inhabitants of a given society automatically favor certain values. The ideological playing field’s lack of levelness means that seemingly equal presentations of ideas are not really equal.

In the light of this situation, Marcuse made a rather cunning inversion (one that has been aped countless times since by cultural organs across the United States): The fact that society is so radically unequal means that we should be intolerant and repressive in the name of tolerance and liberty. He rejected what he termed “indiscriminate tolerance” — a tolerance that accepts all viewpoints — in favor of “liberating tolerance” or “discriminating tolerance.” Unlike many of his disciples, Marcuse was frank about what this intolerance would mean: “Liberating tolerance, then, would mean intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left.

That is what is required to make ones living primarily from these institutions: you must bend the knee.

To which Rod Dreher adds, “The Atlantic Cashiers Kevin Williamson, Its Reputation:”

Eventually the wokesters will be the establishment at The New York Times, and everywhere else. See, readers, this is why all the campus craziness I keep talking about here is not just Dreherbait. These norms shape the way those rising in the ranks at institutions see the world, and, in turn, shape the world.

Again: Kevin Williamson’s fate is a bellwether. This is not going to end well, if it ends at all.

Why, it’s like the culture war is a leading indicator for the “Cold Civil War” as a whole or something.

MARK STEYN ON THE YOUTUBE SHOOTING AS THE GRAND CONVERGENCE:

What happened [Tuesday] is a remarkable convergence of the spirits of the age: mass shootings, immigration, the Big Tech thought-police, the long reach of the Iranian Revolution, the refugee racket, animal rights, vegan music videos… It was the latest mismatched meeting between east and west in the age of the Great Migrations: Nasim Aghdam died two days before her 39th birthday, still living (according to news reports) with either her parents or her grandmother. She came to America at the age of seventeen, and spent two decades in what appears to be a sad and confused search to find something to give her life meaning. But in a cruder sense the horror in San Bruno was also a sudden meeting of two worlds hitherto assumed to be hermetically sealed from each other: the cool, dispassionate, dehumanized, algorithmic hum of High Tech — and the raw, primal, murderous rage breaking through from those on the receiving end.

Read the whole thing.

MICHAEL BARONE: How genetic science is undercutting the case for racial quotas.

Reich obviously wishes to avoid the demonization endured by Murray, who was attacked by a mob at Middlebury College just last year. He is careful indeed to make clear that his findings should not be used to justify racist practices like the slave trade, the eugenics movement, and the Holocaust.

Reich also makes a point that is obvious to the ordinary person but which he — along with some of his critics who wrote to the Times — thinks needs reiteration. Which is, as one puts it, “differences in individuals vary far more widely than in populations.” When we are comparing traits of people with different genetic ancestry, we are looking at averages, like the differences between American whites’ and Asians’ IQ scores (Asians’ on average are higher). But within the white and Asian populations there is wide variety — which can be represented as an actual bell curve.

The assumption of “well-meaning people” is that ordinary Americans aren’t capable of grasping this. My view is that they understand it very well. They have learned, from school, from work, from everyday life, from public events, that there is a wider variation within each measured group than between measured groups.

Read the whole thing.

ANNALS OF LEFTIST AUTOPHAGY: Gender Madness Alienates Democratic Insider.

Not long ago, when my wife was pregnant, a coworker asked if we knew what we were having. I told this friend, and we were all excited.

Another coworker immediately started lecturing me in front of everyone about how this was grossly cis-heteronormative and that rather than forcing an identity on my child because of genitals, I should cultivate an environment in which the child would be able to flourish and explore the play of gender.

This went on for fifteen minutes. Now, the thing is that people at my work know that I have a hot temper and usually avoid talking to me about something as trivial as whether or not one lunch spot is better than another. Nobody wants to get dragged into it because they all think that I will, in the words of one former colleague, “Go Full Kanye” on them. In spite of this trepidation, a colleague felt that this gender nonsense was important enough to risk my temper and bloviate in front of our staff. The points gained from performed holiness, what we called “being ‘pi’ (short for ‘pious’, but contemptuously)” growing up, were worth the risk of my explosion, possibly, but more terrifying was that this colleague of mine simply didn’t care about the risk of my temper and was so committed to this gender nonsense that she just went for it.

The room for reasonable people on sex/gender issues is vastly closing in this party.

Read the whole thing.

ADVANTAGE: VDH.

Sadly, I think Kevin Williamson will soon find that National Review was far more tolerant of his controversial views than will be true at The Atlantic. As I noted in the essay in question concerning progressives’ situational regulation, so too the Left also embraces situational free speech. Indeed, well before Williamson had even written his inaugural column, Jeffrey Goldberg, the editor of The Atlantic, had defended his hiring of Williamson on grounds that he preferred “all things being equal, to give people second chances and the opportunity to change,” and he further seemed delighted about Williamson’s promise to cease tweeting given that it would be interpreted as “a positive development and a sign of growth.”

As Derek Hunter of the Daily Caller tweets, “I want [Victor Davis Hanson] to pick my next lottery numbers. This was posted just a few hours ago.”

UPDATE: “Kevin Williamson’s firing is how you got Trump, as well as the alt-right’s near-mainstreaming. Here’s why,” Ben Shapiro writes. Read the whole thing.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: A Guide to Properly Hating Old Movies.

There are interesting ideas floating somewhere beneath the surface of The Guardian’s article, but whatever insights might be offered are lost in the all-too-typical emphasis on personal experience as objective analysis. I’m open to reading an article about what The Shining lost during the adaptation process, or why Wendy Torrance is a disappointing female lead given the horror genre’s history of progressive female characters, or even how a movie like The Shining transitions from a disappointment to a work of genius in just a few decades. Instead, we get two very familiar and, frankly, boring arguments: I Was Personally Unimpressed and This Film’s Audience Is Annoying.

But you know what? I’m a helpful guy. If authors are dead set on publishing these types of pieces, then the least we can do is take a moment and work out the perfect template. This way, the argument gets made, the author gets paid, and audiences can breathe a little easier knowing that they aren’t actually missing anything if they don’t click. Film criticism moves a little closer to its future as a perpetual motion machine that chugs continuously on without outside interference. Let’s give it a shot.

Heh. Read the whole thing.

Note that in the era of #metoo, with just a few minor changes, the template that follows the above quoted passage can do double-duty, serving those who priggishly choose to hate on old TV sitcoms as well for insufficient wokeness.

JACK SHAFER: TRUMP IS RIGHT. IT IS THE AMAZON WASHINGTON POST.

Bezos became the world’s richest person through his labors at Amazon, which he still controls. He purchased the Post in 2013 with $250 million of his Amazon pin money. While it might be more accurate to call the newspaper the “Bezos Washington Post,” seeing as Bezos and Amazon are joined at the hip, it’s not ridiculous to speak of the paper—at least in the vernacular—as the Amazon Washington Post. If Amazon didn’t exist, it’s unlikely the Washington Post would exist in its current form.

Read the whole thing.

ED MORRISSEY: Did Police Miss a Chance to Head Off Yesterday’s Shooting at Youtube’s HQ?

Police can’t simply arrest everyone that sleeps in their cars, even when families suggest that they may be a threat. Their range of potential options also depends on the specificity of the warning provided by her family too, which we do not yet know, and the constitutional requirement of probable cause before arrest. If they warned that Aghdam might be planning to attack YouTube’s offices, though, would the police have had the option of requesting her to come to the station for an interview? Should they have gotten a search warrant for the car and detained her at the scene until they got one, if the warning was specific? That could be a fruitful discussion in the aftermath of this shooting.

Read the whole thing.

I’m not sure if “sleeping in your car” is in and of itself sufficient cause for suspicion these days in the insanely expensive real estate market that is California: QED, this recent L.A. Times article which notes that “The number of cars, campers and vans serving as homes in the city of Los Angeles has gone up significantly, reaching more than 4,700 in 2017’s homelessness count.”

WEST SIDE INTERSECTIONALITY STORY: “The Left’s favorite playwright, Tony Kushner, is in a bind,” Ben Shapiro writes:

Kushner, you’ll recall, is the author of such politically radical travesties as Angels in America and Munich — and the author of far more mature works, such as Lincoln and Fences. Kushner is the type of fellow who says: “The founding of the State of Israel was for the Jewish people a historical, moral, political calamity. . . . I wish modern Israel hadn’t been born.” But he still likes to stand on his Jewish ethnicity as a crutch for his leftism. He’s an anti-capitalism radical who has earned millions of dollars and summers in a Provincetown vacation home.

And now, Kushner has a problem.

His problem: He’s a Jewish gay guy remaking West Side Story — a musical about Polish and Puerto Rican gangs, originally written by four Jews. This violates the core tenet of intersectionality, which maintains that it’s cultural appropriation when people of one culture write about another culture, and that it’s “white privilege” when too many members of “white America” (which now includes Jews) earn money on a particular endeavor. Kushner declares himself a “big believer in identity politics and political correctness.”

So how will he square this circle?

By tap dancing faster and much more artfully around his fellow leftists’ faddish intersectionality obsession than any of the choreography that will be in the film. Read the whole thing.

ROGER SIMON: Corporations Endanger Free Speech with Ingraham Boycott.

Read the whole thing.

OF COURSE HE DID: Mueller Found a Very Dishonest Way to Shroud His Investigation in Secrecy.

Special counsel Robert Mueller and his deputy Andrew Weissmann filed a three-page notice on Monday arguing that Alex Van Der Zwaan should not be allowed to file Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests related to the ongoing Russia investigation.

As the notice points out, Van Der Zwaan originally agreed to waive his rights to “request or receive” such records from the government during his plea agreement. In the notice, Mueller claims his legal arguments are being filed because the court “drew attention” to a similar waiver agreement during Richard Gates‘ recent arraignment.

That’s likely true, but it strains credulity to think there’s not at least something else going on behind the scenes here. One plausible scenario: Van Der Zwaan’s attorneys have signaled their intent to challenge the government’s FOIA waiver because there’s not much in the way of precedent that actually binds the court to enforce the waiver.

Such waivers are generally considered enforceable, but this is a hotly contested body of law and civil libertarians–as well as defense attorneys–frequently press the issue in the U.S. court system. The Supreme Court has yet to rule on the exact question, so consider this all in flux.

Read the whole thing.

REMINDER: THE LEFT HATES OUR CIVILIZATION.

Here once again we should repair to the observation of British historian Sir Geoffrey Elton, who wrote: “There are times when I incline to judge all historians by their opinion of Winston Churchill: whether they can see that, no matter how much better the details, often damaging, of man and career become known, he still remains, quite simply, a great man.”

Ah—that “great man” thing: contemporary leftist egalitarians cannot tolerate such distinctions among human beings.

Read the whole thing.