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BUZZFEED SHAT THE BED, BUT HERE’S A STORY: Transcripts of Former Top FBI Lawyer Detail Pervasive Abnormalities in Trump Probe.

Former top FBI attorney James Baker admitted to House lawmakers in October last year that the investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump 2016 presidential campaign and Russia was riddled with abnormalities.

Confronted with a damning summary of abnormalities, bias, and omissions, which transpired during the investigation, Baker told Congress that the investigation indeed was “highly unusual.” . . .

As general counsel, Baker advised senior FBI leaders on the legal aspects of key investigations and served as the liaison with the Department of Justice (DOJ). In testimony, he detailed a series of unusual steps he took in the Trump-Russia investigation, including serving as the conduit between Perkins Coie—the firm working for the Clinton 2016 presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC)—and the FBI.

Baker left his position as general counsel in early January 2018 and then resigned from the FBI in early May 2018.

Baker testified that it was Michael Sussman, a partner at Perkins Coie, who shared with him information that detailed alleged communications between servers in Trump Tower and servers located in Russia at Alfa Bank, which were eventually debunked. Sussmann was also the lawyer who spearheaded the handling of the alleged hack of the DNC servers. Baker admitted that it was highly unusual to interact with an outside counsel.

Read the whole thing, which has an actual named source and everything.

MICHAEL LEDEEN: Book Your Trip Now to the Pizza Olympics.

Real pizza is Neapolitan, having been invented and perfected in Naples in the 19thcentury and named after the queen of recently-unified Italy (the Margherita).  No wonder there is an organization—the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (the True Neapolitan Pizza Association)–devoted to its propagation and protection.

The association celebrates 35 years of activity this year, and is preparing for a global pizza Olympics.

Eat, err, read the whole thing.

“BUZZFEED EDITOR-IN-CHIEF BEN SMITH IS HAVING A TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO-GOOD, VERY-BAD DAY,” Twitchy notes; but we’ll come back to them in just a second. First up, Colby Hall of Mediaite writes, “Buzzfeed News Bombshell Reporter: No We Have Not Seen the Evidence Supporting Our Report:”

Anthony Cormier is one of the two investigative reporter at BuzzfeedNews who co-authored the bombshell report published Thursday night — a report which claimed President Donald Trump directed his former lawyer Michael Cohen to lie during Congressional testimony over discussions between the Trump Organization and Russian authorities about a Trump Tower Moscow project.

Cormier appeared on CNN’s New Day and revealed that he had not seen the evidence underlying his report.

Who is the other “investigative reporter” on BuzzFeed’s article? “One Of The BuzzFeed Reporters Behind The Trump Report Has A History Of Making Things Up” Joe Cunningham of RedState notes:

One of the authors, Jason Leopold, has quite the history when it comes to bad reporting. Most folks know of his claim that multiple sources told him Karl Rove was going to be indicted in 2006 and how it turned out to be utterly false.

But, as Columbia Journalism Review noted back then, it wasn’t his first problem with facts.

When Leopold’s story was first called into question a few weeks ago, Salon’s Tim Grieve reminded readers of Leopold’s checkered history with the publication. Salon removed Leopold’s August 29, 2002 story about Enron from its site after it was discovered that he plagiarized parts from the Financial Times and was unable to provide a copy of an email that was critical to the piece. Leopold’s response? A hysterical rant (linked above) which claimed that Salon’s version of events was “nothing but lies,” and that “At this point, I wonder why Salon would go to great lengths to further twist the knife into my back. I suppose the New York Times will now release their version of the events. I can see the headline now ‘Jason Leopold Must Die.’”

That is pretty big. But, like always in cases like this, there is more.

Read the whole thing. “There are reasons to believe there’s something to the story too, though,” NeverTrumper Allahpundit speculates at Hot Air:

Leopold, Cormier, and BuzzFeed’s editors are obviously keenly aware of the magnitude of the charge here. They’re accusing a sitting president of a crime that makes his removal from office conceivable, even with a Republican majority in the Senate. They also must be aware that we’ll know whether they were right or wrong sooner rather than later. This charge won’t hang out there forever unresolved, like Michael Cohen’s alleged trip to Prague per the Steele dossier. Mueller’s working on his report, it may be ready as soon as next month, and this claim — if true — will be a key part of it. If the report emerges and there’s nothing in there about suborning perjury, BuzzFeed’s reputation will never recover. This isn’t a case like the dossier where they’re publishing someone else’s work product with no claims as to its veracity. They’re putting their own names to it. Every political scoop they publish for the next 20 years will be challenged by citing to the Leopold/Cormier fiasco. It’s basically professional suicide unless they really do have good reason to be confident in the reporting.

And so maybe they do. We’ll know soon!

But in the meantime, back to Twitchy:Rake, meet face! BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith accidentally admits his site’s guilty of lazy ‘journalism’ [screenshots]:”

Click to enlarge.

In addition to his Freudian slip about BuzzFeed itself, that’s a pretty nasty (albeit likely unintentional) subtweet from Smith aimed at former BuzzFeed staffer Andrew Kaczynski, who has since taken his habit of “resurfacing” old news to Time-Warner-CNN-HBO.

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): Oops:

Ouch:

ANOTHER UPDATE: Shep Smith and Chris Wallace: Why haven’t any media outlets been able to corroborate BuzzFeed’s Trump story? Why, indeed?

MORE: #JOURNALISM.

STILL MORE: Yes.

Plus, from the comments: “This ‘story’ was the top of hourly radio news all damn day today. And now we hear it’s crap, straight from the godhead, Mueller. The anti-Trumpers apparently just ate a dick the size of Oumuamua. Again.”

In two successive days, Trump’s owned Pelosi and the press, without even breaking a sweat. Welcome to 2019!

MAKE THE RUBBLE BOUNCE:

I DUNNO, I’M STARTING TO THINK THAT YOU ARE:

YOUR DAILY TREACHER: Feminists Still Angry That Louis C.K. Is Allowed to Exist.

If feminists don’t want people to think they’re totalitarians, they’re doing a crappy job of it. Stacey Solie at the Daily Beast went to Louis’ show in San Jose Wednesday night, and she did what any good journalist would do: She shamed the people in line to see him.

The left turned into the New Puritans so slowly, I hardly even noticed. But fortunately, Jim did, so read the whole thing.

COLLUSION: Top Mueller Officials Coordinated With Fusion GPS Spouse In 2016. “The Department of Justice’s Bruce Ohr claimed he repeatedly said information was not verified, risked bias, and had been obtained under political circumstances.”

A senior Department of Justice official says he repeatedly and specifically told top officials at the FBI and DOJ about dossier author Christopher Steele’s bias and his employer Fusion GPS’ conflicts of interest, information they kept hidden from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. These conversations involved high-level officials, including some who are now senior officials in the special counsel probe. And the conversations began taking place in the earliest days of August 2016, much earlier than previously revealed to congressional investigators seeking to learn the facts about the FBI’s decision to spy on the Trump campaign.

Testimony from Bruce Ohr, the demoted associate attorney general at Justice, informs a years-long partisan debate about the role he played in funneling information to the FBI from the terminated source.

Read the whole thing.

PC MOUTHPIECE BILL MAHER HILARIOUSLY CALLED OUT IN HOLLYWOOD BILLBOARDS:

It turns out there are still a few good-humored, politically-incorrect folks in Hollywood after all. Over the weekend, lefty-bashing street artist provocateurs publicly slammed HBO’s Bill Maher with a satirical billboard depicting him not as the thought leader he imagines himself to be, but as a rote purveyor of mainstream liberal propaganda. Specifically he was made fun of as being an “NPC.”

On Sunday  pranksters from conservative street artist group “The Faction” decided to point out the fact that Maher might actually belong to this category, going after a Real Time with Bill Maher billboard located at the corner of La Cienega Boulevard & West Holloway in West Hollywood. “The Faction” spray painted a gray, expressionless face over Maher’s  and changed the image’s tagline from “The Whole Truth and Nothing But” to “The Whole Narrative and Nothing But.” They also changed “HBO” to “NPC.”

This is the same group that put down dozens of mock Donald Trump Walk of Fame star stickers in response to the President’s real star being vandalized multiple times since his election.

Since Maher’s show airs on HBO, sister network CNN has no doubt already activated the doxx squad.

THE PROBLEMS WITH TINY HOUSES: They tend to depreciate in value. Tiny homes ≠ tiny consumption. Read the whole thing.

LET THEM EAT BIG MACS — WHY TRUMP GETS AMERICA:

INT – APARTMENT – AFTERNOON

JESSICA (Harvard ’09, JP Morgan ’10 to ’12, Obama White House Staffer ’13 to ’16) is returning to her Georgetown apartment after her morning Tibetan throat singing class. There is a yoga mat under her arm. She shares the apartment, and a lovingly open relationship with ZAK (Columbia ’10, Senior Green Urban Planning Correspondent at Vox.com, Fellow of the Aspen Institute for Ideas ’14 to ’17), who is blogging at their Hygge-influenced open-plan kitchen. JESSICA looks visibly disturbed.

ZAK

Honey, what is it, is everything OK?

JESSICA

It’s… It’s…

ZAK

Don’t worry about the Whole Foods delivery. It came just after you left. The chia seeds, flax seeds, pea protein, dried goji berries, resistant potato starch, turmeric powder, and collagen hydrolysate were all in there. They even remembered the coconut oil this time!

JESSICA

No it’s not that.

ZAK

What is it?

JESSICA

It’s Trump… Did you see what he did this time?

ZAK

The Big Macs?

JESSICA begins to ‘literally shake’. Her yoga mat falls to the floor and unfurls.

JESSICA

Not just the Big Macs… He put packets of Hot Mustard sauce in the Eleanor Roosevelt silver servewear… Zak, I – I don’t think…

ZAK pushes back on his chair and slowly runs both hands through his hair. He gets up and hugs JESSICA.

ZAK

It’s going to be fine baby. Just remember your breathing exercises, OK? Alternate nostril breathing, just like you were doing this morning, OK?

JESSICA begins to weep.

Read the whole thing. (The fictional Jessica would really dive for the fainting couch if she discovered that Franklin and Eleanor would have loved what Trump did yesterday.)

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Donald Trump is a symptom of a new kind of class warfare raging at home and abroad.

Talking about the yellow-vest movement, French geographer Christophe Guilluy observes: “Immediately, the protesters were denounced as xenophobes, anti-Semites and homophobes. The elites present themselves as anti-fascist and anti-racist, but this is merely a way of defending their class interests. It is the only argument they can muster to defend their status, but it is not working anymore.”

That’s right. It’s class war masquerading as something else, but people have seen through the mask.

Read the whole thing.

COCAINE MITCH: The Senate majority leader’s low-key shutdown strategy is working.

William McGurn:

In the received wisdom, because Mr. Trump infamously welcomed a shutdown in December’s televised and contentious Oval Office meeting with Mrs. Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, he gets all the blame for it. It’s only a matter of time, it follows, before skittish Republicans abandon him and he is forced to cry uncle. Naturally this is feeding regular news stories about “cracks” in the GOP coalition.

Enter Mr. McConnell. By making clear he won’t send up a bill the president won’t sign, the Kentucky Republican has empowered Mr. Trump while sparing his Senate GOP caucus the pressure that would come from the meaningless votes to reopen government that his Democratic counterpart, Mr. Schumer, is so desperate to have. It works even better because Mr. McConnell isn’t a grandstander.

Read the whole thing.

PHILADELPHIA SODA TAX: LITTLE REVENUE, LOST SALES, AND UNCHANGED SUGAR CONSUMPTION. How bad is it? This bad:

So it came to pass that the federal government is giving poor Philadelphians benefits with which to buy soda that is being taxed as though it were liquor by Philly’s municipal government. Unexpected side effect to that detail: Now that beer is, in some cases, cheaper than soda in Philadelphia, alcohol sales are up sharply.

Read the whole thing.

KURT SCHLICHTER: Apocalypse Ruth.

I am of the contingent that looks at the odds and figures that her tenure is drawing to a close. I could be wrong. So could the many connected and informed people who have passed on to me the rumors that her condition is much worse than is being let on. Remember that an ailing Justice Rehnquist assured us in a statement that he intended on returning to the Court soon, and that seven weeks later he was being buried. Our hopes and prayers for her health aside – and many conservatives are offering them even as they would love her to retire – my money is still on a 2019 fight to replace her.

The Notorious RBG fans are not going to react well.

Read the whole thing.

BRUCE BAWER: A Trump of One’s Own. “The fact is that while the Western European political class and its allies love to sneer at Donald Trump, millions of ordinary citizens across the continent wish dearly that they had a Trump of their own. Only last week, for example, a caller to Nigel Farage’s radio show in Britain expressed the desire that Trump, and not Theresa May, had negotiated Britain’s exit deal with the EU. Farage shared her sentiments. Then there’s the up-and-coming Dutch political leader Lennard van Mil, known in his country as a ‘gayservative’ (short for ‘gay conservative’), who can be seen in many photographs online wearing a ‘Make America Great Again’ cap.”

Read the whole thing.

ROGER KIMBALL: Watergate, By Any Other Name. “Over the last few days, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other anti-Trump outlets have revealed, and reveled in, something that many observers suspected for a long time. That the investigation into various figures associated with the Trump campaign—not only Carter Page, but also George Papadopoulos, Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, and Michael Cohen—was just a pretext. The main target all along was Trump himself. As Andy McCarthy observed, ‘following the firing of FBI director James Comey on May 9, 2017, the bureau formally opened an investigation of President Trump.'”

To revive an old Democratic trope, I question the timing. But read the whole thing.

Plus: “’Spying on the opposition campaign in the absence of corroborated evidence of a crime.’ ‘Controversial?’ You think? How about nefarious and probably criminal? Richard Nixon is unavailable for comment.” It’s different when it’s done to Republicans because shut up.

CONSERVATIVE PROFESSORS IN THE PROGRESSIVE UNIVERSITY.

Dunn, with the help of Jon Shields, a professor at Claremont McKenna College, compiled his own research for the book. The two professors interviewed more than 150 professors who described themselves as conservative or libertarian to learn about their experiences on overwhelmingly left-leaning campuses.

Dunn described to Campus Reform how difficult it was to find conservative professors to include in their study.

“To actually find conservatives in several disciplines we had to use what’s called a snowball sample,” he said. “That method is used with difficult-to-locate populations like the homeless. I think it is both telling and ironic that we had to use it with conservatives. With a snowball sample, you find someone in the population you’re looking for and ask them where you could find more people like them.”

Read the whole thing.

WHEN HISTORIANS GET HYSTERICAL:

In the age of Donald Trump, highly accomplished and well-respected liberal voices continue to lose their collective minds — Jon Meacham, the Pulitzer Prize-winning presidential historian, seemingly among them.

After President Trump’s Oval Office address on the need for a wall on our Southern border, Meacham tweeted: America should “build a wall of steel, a wall as high as Heaven” against the flow of immigrants, quoting Georgia Gov. Clifford Walker, at a 1924 convention of the Ku Klux Klan, then a powerful force at a time of strain for the white working class.

Wow. A “historian” deliberately linking the current president of the United States to the most vile, repugnant and reviled organization in American history.

Read the whole thing. Why would a leftist such as Meacham want to reinforce why it was such a good idea for Trump to have left his former party before becoming president?

ANGELA DAVIS, WOMEN’S MARCH HONOREE AND CHAMPION OF TERROR, PRISONS, AND TYRANNY. As David Harsanyi writes at the Federalist, “You can tell a lot about people by looking at their heroes:”

There could be an entire book written detailing Davis’s loathsome views and actions (Cathy Young has a good article here.) Still, it’s quite striking to see folks like TED talker Sally Kohn taking to Twitter to let her followers know that she stands with Davis because of her fight against the “prison industrial complex.” In the real world, Davis was an enthusiast supporter of the largest and most lethal prison system the world has ever known.

It was “human rights activist Angela Davis,” as NPR astonishingly described the woman in an article this week, who bought the shotgun that was used in a 1970 Marin County court room kidnapping and shootout that ended up killing a superior court judge and three others. The subsequent manhunt and trial of Davis, a proud lifelong communist, would be a very big deal in Soviet nations.

In 1971, in fact, the CIA noted that Davis’s case had become “a Soviet manipulated international anti-US campaign reminiscent of the orchestrated by Communist propaganda efforts made on behalf of atomic spies, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg.” The CIA estimated that at least 5 percent of the entire Soviet Russian propaganda budget had been aimed at propping up Davis. To put that in context, that’s more than was being spent on propaganda directly about the Vietnam War. All schoolchildren in East Germany were ordered to collect flowers and stamps for Davis.

Davis soon traveled to many of these nations to stand with leaders who, collectively, had jailed hundreds of thousands of political dissidents. She visited East Germany, and effusively praised Erich Honecker while the Stasi were torturing political prisoners and his border police were summarily executing those who tried to escape.

Read the whole thing, including Harsanyi noting that Davis “personally assured the people of Jonestown that they would be safe, only two months before their massacre.”

To borrow a passage Mark Steyn wrote on Hollywood red Dalton Trumbo, but with a change in gender, in regards to that famous question, “‘Are you now or have you ever…?’ – the answer is: yes, [she] was. The more interesting question is: How do you feel about getting one of the great moral questions of the century wrong?”

MICHAEL WALSH: Prizzi’s Honor, Seed of Chucky.

Trump’s best play, then, is to string out the shutdown as long as possible, keeping the pressure on the Democrats either to acknowledge the problem on the border, and the moral necessity of protecting the country from what amounts to a slow-motion invasion — a reconquista — from the Latin south, or to simply drop all pretense and come out for the abolition of the country as founded, on the grounds of, you know, racism.

As Maerose Prizzi and her consigliere are discovering, what can’t go on forever, won’t.

Read the whole thing.

AARON KLIEGMAN: The Mullahs Are Their Own Worst Enemies.

When the EU actually takes coercive action against Iran, the Islamic Republic must have done something so outrageous, so flagrant that even Brussels could not ignore it. Such was the case on Tuesday, when the EU imposed its first sanctions against Iran since the nuclear deal was implemented in January 2016. The new sanctions add Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security and two senior Iranian officials to the EU’s terror list over suspicions that they helped organize multiple assassination plots in Europe—specifically plots to bomb a rally of an Iranian opposition group in Paris last year, to kill an Iranian opposition leader in Denmark last year, and to murder two Iranian dissidents in the Netherlands in 2015 and 2017.

Iran had the Europeans in the palm of its hand, and could have continued to use Brussels’ naivety and cowardice to its advantage in an attempt to isolate Washington diplomatically. But the ayatollahs could not help themselves—because of their paranoia, because of their twisted Islamist, anti-Western ideology. They had to attempt terrorist attacks and assassinations in Europe—not even the Middle East—to kill dissidents and others who speak out against their oppressive rule. Beyond their troubled psychology and ideology, Iran’s leaders are clearly nervous about their regime’s future. Otherwise, there would be no need to launch these plots.

Read the whole thing — but still, the Mullahs’ Regime has proven stubbornly long-lasting.

EPIC TAKEDOWN BY RABBI DANIEL GORDIS OF THE JEWISH PROGRESSIVE LEFT’S PRETENSIONS:  The American ‘Zionist’ Assault on Israel. Excerpt:

Jonathan Weisman (the author of a very interesting recent book on American anti-Semitism), quotes Rabbi Daniel Zemel of Washington, DC…. Weisman writes that on Yom Kippur, “Rabbi Zemel implored his congregation to act before it is too late, to save Israel from itself.”

A Reform Congregation in DC should save Israel before it is too late? Does no one see the hubris (and the humor, frankly) in such a suggestion? Who are these people who are being urged to save Israel? Can they read the op-ed page of a Hebrew newspaper? Since they cannot, and since the vast majority of the Hebrew press is not translated into English, why do they imagine that they know what’s best for Israel without being exposed to what millions of Israelis think, without access to Israeli discourse on the subject? (Not speaking Hebrew is no crime, of course, but should it not engender at least some humility when it comes to speaking about Israel?) American progressives imagine that they have what to teach liberal, secular Israelis because they are… more intelligent than Israelis? Better educated? More moral? More deeply committed to Israel’s decency?

How well do these people know the country they’re being asked to save? What can they say about the ideological worlds represented by readers of Haaretz and Makor Rishon and what animates the worldviews of each? Can they name five Jewish communities along the Gaza border and speak about how they’re different? How those communities see the conflict? They cannot, of course, and as very few have spoken at length to people trying to raise their families in Sderot or Sha’ar HaNegev, they have no real idea what life is like there.

… one can, and should, at least acknowledge that Beinart and Zemel both care about Israel and believe that what they are doing is best for Israel.

That, though, cannot be said for more extremist elements in the American progressive community, where positions that are ostensibly meant to make Israel “better” are clearly just camouflage for a desire to do Israel harm. No group embodies this better than IfNotNow, which, as a recent New York Magazine article noted, had participants say Kaddish for Palestinians who were killed by Israeli soldiers along the Gaza border. “‘We do not organize Kaddish prayers for ‘Arab terrorists’ or ‘Hamas members.’ We say Kaddish and mourn the unconscionable Israeli violence on Palestinian protesters,” one of INN’s leaders said to New York Magazine.

Many of the young people who are involved in or leaders of INN are bright and sophisticated, the graduates of America’s finest colleges [? America’s finest colleges are among the most parochial institutions in the country–DB]. So it is rather astonishing that they did not apply any of the critical thinking skills that got them into college and then through it to bear on this issue. If the killing of Palestinian protesters along the Gaza border (which is unquestionably sad) is so obviously “unconscionable Israeli violence,” why did the Israeli political left not protest? Why were even Meretz and Labor mostly silent after many Gazans were killed at the border? Do American Jewish progressives ever ask themselves what they know that Israelis do not?

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: How “sophisticated” are the likes of IfNotNow activists? Their level of “sophistication” stretches little further than the (obviously bogus) notion that Israeli Jews are white, Palestinian Arabs are “people of color,” and the latter therefore win the intersectional sweepstakes and require unquestioned devotion. Beyond that, it’s leftist dogma all the way down.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Annual Open Letter to the People of Purdue from Mitch Daniels.

Tuition across the sector continued to increase, but at an apparently slower pace. I say “apparent” because, especially in the private colleges, the practice of back-door discounting, raising the stated “sticker price” while simultaneously offering bigger and bigger financial aid to favored students, clouds the picture. . . .

But any honest report on the sector must be on balance highly cautionary. The multiyear decline in enrollments continued, with total student population falling another 1.7%. . . .

Meanwhile, financial distress continues to broaden. A quarter of non-public institutions reported running at an operating deficit in 2017-18. Finding one in five small private colleges under “fundamental stress,” Moody’s bond rating service renewed its “negative outlook” on the higher education sector, amid forecasts that the number of schools closing their doors would grow from 11 to around 15 per year. That may be the good news. For years, demographers have noted the coming decline in the total number of 18-year-olds. To this challenge, some have added the observation that a rising percentage of future cohorts come from backgrounds historically much less likely to attend college.

If only there had been some sort of warning. But read the whole thing.

FALSE FEMINISM:

The sexual revolution presented itself as an embrace of nature, a liberation from social convention, and a “bold affirmation” of doing what comes naturally, Bloom wrote. Feminism’s watchword, by contrast, was “biology should not be destiny.” Feminism presented itself as a “liberation from nature,” which required “not so much the abolition of law but the institution of law and political activism.”

Put simply, you might say that when a woman goes upstairs with a young man after a frat party, she’s acting under the influence of the sexual revolution. The next morning, when he doesn’t call and she feels violated, feminism kicks in.

Read the whole thing.

THE BREAKING OF THE NEVER TRUMP MIND:

The Never Trumpers say they don’t recognize a Republican Party where the core tenets are neither free trade nor foreign democracy promotion. But maybe they just didn’t know their voters by sight, because the only party that has truly departed recognition is Never Trump.

Each week brings this movement a new and bizarre position: Opposing tax cuts, supporting Obamacare; wishing North Korean talks ill, wishing Democratic investigators well; dreaming of European political meddling, pining for American political comeuppance.

Rick Santorum, the Catholic working-class firebrand rarely seen among Washington’s polite classes, had long commented that a party such as the GOP, with a donor class so out of line with its base, could not possibly continue to function.

There could not be such a massive realignment without something somewhere snapping, but despite the Never Trump hysteria, it doesn’t appear to be the party. Though the president’s House was defeated in the first post-Trump national elections and his two-year approval among Democrats lies at historic lows, his approval with his own voters—those who the Never Trumpers courted not long ago—is second only to George W. Bush after 9/11.

Read the whole thing.

YOUR DAILY TREACHER: No, Conservatives Are Not Angry That AOC Danced on a Rooftop.

Which Republicans are saying that? Can AOC name them? Can any of the reporters asking her about it name them? No, and nobody expects them to, because the narrative reinforces what they already believe.

Kick off your Sunday shoes, cut loose — Footloose! — and read the whole thing.

DISPATCHES FROM THE INTERSECTION OF THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE AND MAGICAL THINKING: The great awokening — Do social justice warriors believe in magic? Yes. Next question?

The same belief in magic reveals itself in the claim that certain words or ideas associated with ‘white privilege’ are a form of ‘epistemic violence’, capable of wreaking untold psychological damage on women and minorities. When a group of LGBT+ activists at a university claim that giving a platform to a ‘Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist’ will ‘erase’ the identity of trans students, it is tempting to dismiss this as hyperbole. But maybe we should take what they say at face value. If we grant them that courtesy, we have to conclude that the members of this cult attribute a terrifying supernatural power to those in possession of ‘white privilege’. They really do believe that the people at the top of the intersectional hierarchy can literally ‘erase’ people by uttering certain words, almost like magic spells. In this context, the ‘safe spaces’ that have been created in universities, in which students are protected from the harmful effects of these spells, are a bit like churches — holy places where evil cannot penetrate.

What’s distinctive about members of the social justice left is not that they don’t believe in magic — they clearly do — but that the supernatural forces that govern their universe are all malevolent. Theirs is a religion bereft of a divine being. There are only white Devils.

Read the whole thing.

Earlier: From Astrology to Cult Politics—the Many Ways We Try (and Fail) to Replace Religion.

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: Rahm Emanuel, racism, and Chicago Public Schools’ massive, underreported sex abuse scandal.

Back in June, a Chicago Tribune investigation uncovered 523 credible cases of rape and sexual abuse of minors at CPS over the last 10 years. Again, note that this enormous number is in just one city over 10 years.

In one case, a 16-year-old track star was raped 40 times by her coach.

Since September, CPS officials have received 624 new complaints of sex abuse, including 133 allegations of adult misconduct.

This should be a national scandal, not just a Chicago scandal. Go back a few years and you might find enough cases at CPS to rival, or surpass, clergy abuse in the Catholic Church.

Read the whole thing. Why are Democratic Party monopoly institutions such cesspits?

JON CALDARA: On January 1, I became a criminal in my hometown of Boulder.

In Boulder, if your core beliefs include dressing as the opposite gender or following the teachings of the Koran our city government will bend over backwards to protect you from those who wish to separate you from your community. You’d never be forced to self-identify to government authorities, to submit to inspection, to be registered and made to pay fees to keep your core beliefs.

My strong belief in my Second Amendment rights is core to who I am. I know that is not understood by many today, however I am not asking to be understood. I’m asking to be left alone.

I am asking for progressives who run city government to live up to their assertion of tolerance and just let me be.

Because I own a long gun with a pistol grip and a detachable magazine, I had to the end of December to self-identify to the police, present myself for investigation and my gun for inspection, pay fees in order to receive a police-issued permission slip, all to avoid jail time, monetary penalties, and the confiscation and destruction of my gun.

I have never been convicted or even charged with a crime in my 54 years of life, but this week I became a criminal.

Needless to say, read the whole thing.

CHARLIE MARTIN ASKS, WHY DID MATTIS FORCE TRUMP TO FIRE HIM? “Like George Peppard, Mattis loves it when a plan comes together. I don’t know what Mattis’ plan is. I bet it doesn’t include following MacArthur’s example and just fading away.”

Read the whole thing.

YOUR DAILY TREACHER: Louis C.K. Isn’t ‘Punching Down’ at the Parkland Kids.

Louis C.K. has lost everything. That seems fair to me. And now he’s trying to start all over again, which also seems fair to me. Nobody owes him movie roles or producer credits or any of the other stuff he lost in the space of a day. But if he can still find comedy clubs that want to book him, and people still want to go see him, how is that hurting you?

Taking shots at Louis C.K. in 2019 is punching down. It makes you the bully. If that’s who you are, go right ahead. And then project your own bullying behavior onto him. Feels good, doesn’t it? Feels righteous. You’re a good person. Sure.

Hooray for you. Wonderful, marvelous you.

Read the whole thing.

ROBERT KAPLAN: Time to Get Out of Afghanistan. “The United States is spending beyond its means on a mission that might only be helping its strategic rivals.”

No other country in the world symbolizes the decline of the American empire as much as Afghanistan. There is virtually no possibility of a military victory over the Taliban and little chance of leaving behind a self-sustaining democracy — facts that Washington’s policy community has mostly been unable to accept.

While many American troops stay behind steel-reinforced concrete walls to protect themselves from the very population they are supposed to help, it is striking how little discussion Afghanistan has generated in government and media circles in Washington. When it comes to Afghanistan, Washington has been a city hiding behind its own walls of shame and frustration.

While the Chinese, Pakistanis, Indians and Iranians are all developing competing energy and mining projects in and next door to Afghanistan, the United States appears to have little commercial future in the country, even though it spends about $45 billion there annually.

Read the whole thing.

KAROL MARKOWICZ: How the Trump presidency made me a better American.

Nearly two years after his inauguration, I have concluded that President Trump has made me a better person.

For starters, I’m more compassionate. After the election, I was as dazed and confused as anyone in the political-media bubble. To understand what happened, I devoured reporting about Trump voters and sought to understand them.

I wasn’t some liberal, mind you. I had worked for years in Republican politics. Yet I hadn’t known any Trump primary voters. I didn’t know his fans, his base.

Reading their concerns was eye-opening. They weren’t stupid, and they weren’t hateful. Mainstream politicians had ignored them for so long that they took a wild chance on the reality-TV star from Queens.

At the same time, because I wasn’t a Trump voter, I understood the pain of people frightened by his win. Caring about his voters didn’t preclude caring about his ­opponents, I found.

I talked down friends who thought America was over because of his presidency. I exulted in our institutions and checks and balances, and I defended them when they were attacked by Trump — or his adversaries.

Read the whole thing.

MICHAEL WALSH: NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS FOR THE WHITE HOUSE; not least of which is:

Build the “danged fence.” Finding the funds won’t get any easier next year with the opposition party controlling the purse strings, but if the slow-motion invasion from Latin America isn’t a matter of national security, what is? The president insists he’s prepared to keep the government partially closed until he gets the $5 billion he’s requested, and he’s also floated the idea of using the military and its fungible budget to build it, which may turn out to be his best option. But build it he must: nothing will dishearten Trump’s base more — and ensure his defeat in 2020 — than welshing on his promise to end illegal immigration.

Read the whole thing.

THE DNC-MSM MORPHED INTO YASSER ARAFAT SO SLOWLY, I NEVER EVEN NOTICED: How Should We Read the American Press? In Arabic, Lee Smith writes at Tablet:

Other former U.S. intelligence officials who have joined the anti-Salman campaign, include ex-CIA director John Brennan, who suggested the United States freeze arms sales to Riyadh, ex-deputy CIA director John McLaughlin, and former CIA official Ned Price. All three are MSNBC analysts, along with other former agency officers. One upside of the Khashoggi operation is that it has helped illuminate another part of the map of the new U.S. mediaMSNBC appears to be a destination of choice for CIA leaks.

Blurring the lines between journalists/analysts and officials/operatives is not simply a matter of convenient nomenclature. It’s part of a conscious strategy to legitimize the nature and structure of information operations by obscuring their political character. How dare Trump strip John Brennan’s security clearance! He’s infringing on the former CIA director’s free speech rights—as a journalist.

Branding political operatives and intelligence officials as “press” is also intended to shield these newly minted “analysts” from possible prosecution. Evidence of their crimes and abuses may be found in the steady stream of classified intelligence illegally leaked to a complicit press corps for the purpose of marketing the Russia collusion narrative. By relabeling government officials as “journalists,” the media is protecting both its clandestine confederates and itself.

An analysis of Russiagate coverage also seems to suggest that the Federal Bureau of Investigation tends to favor The New York Times as a delivery mechanism while the Department of Justice prefers The Washington Post. Last month, the Times published a story sourced to memos written by FBI officials, including former deputy director Andrew McCabe, portraying Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein as a conspirator plotting to bring down Trump. According to the account, Rosenstein told FBI officials that he’d wear a wire to record the president and gather evidence to remove him from office. When it was time for Rosenstein and allies at the DOJ to do damage control, their story went to the Post, published hours after the Times piece, explaining that Rosenstein was being sarcastic about spying on Trump, those FBI guys can’t take a joke!

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

Flashback: “Lee Smith was fired very shortly after simply offering an article about Fusion GPS to the Weekly Standard. He merely offered it to them. And then the Weekly Standard suddenly decided things aren’t working out between themselves and Smith.”

(Classical allusion in headline.)

NEW CIVILITY WATCH: Student Deluged With Doxxing and Death Threats After Pro-Gun Graduation Photos.

“It was scary at first…” Spencer told PJ Media. “Thankfully, I had my gun, which gave me some sense of security.”

While Spencer’s been rattled, she says the harassment she faced only proved her point: that self-defense is crucial. She now uses her vast social media following to help spread that message to other young women.

Read the whole thing.

ARMED MAN ARRESTED BEFORE ALLEGEDLY HEADING TO TEXAS CHURCH TO ‘FULFILL PROPHECY.’

The felony conviction and the domestic violence assault would bar Albert from legally purchasing or possessing a firearm.

His other criminal records include an arrest for allegedly resisting arrest in 2016 and 2017 and a DUI in 2009.

In a court filing, Albert stated he is associated with Messianic Judaism (a religious movement that combines Judaism and Christianity) and the First Church of Cannabis. He said the latter is a “private and secretive one” stating that the members seek to “separate ourselves from recreational cannabis users who continue to pervert the usage of our sacrament,” the San Antonio Express-News reported.

In addition to the Seguin Police Department, Texas Rangers, the FBI, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives are investigating the incident.

Read the whole thing.

ANNALS OF LEFTIST AUTOPHAGY: The Huffington Post covers “The Thinnest Skins In Media In 2018,” beginning with Jake Tapper:

What follows is a list of our favorite media piss-babies and corncobs of the past year. A quick note to the piss-babies and corncobs themselves: Any communication with me regarding this post will be considered on the record. If any of you contact me to complain about your inclusion on the list, I will be obliged to publish the email, direct message, voicemail, what have you. You have been warned, Tapper.

Heh. Pass the popcorn and read the whole thing.

DAVE BARRY’S YEAR IN REVIEW: Is there anything good we can say about 2018?

We can summarize 2018 in two words:

It boofed.

We’re not 100 percent sure what “boofing” is, despite the fact that this very issue was discussed in a hearing of the United States Senate Judiciary Committee. All we know for certain about boofing is that it is distasteful and stupid.

As was 2018.

Boof, err, sorry, read the whole thing.

‘NO APARTMENT FOR YOU, CONSERVATIVE!’ Pardes Seleh, Ideological Hobo: “Hey all you Bake The Cake, Bigot people: it’s time to stand up for Pardes Seleh. You know about the Law of Merited Impossibility: ‘It will never happen, and when it does, you people will deserve it.’ Well, I think we have here the Corollary Of The Ideological Hobo: It will never happen, and when it does, you deserve to sleep on the street.”

Read the whole thing.

RIP: NATION’S OLDEST LIVING VETERAN RICHARD OVERTON DIES IN AUSTIN AT AGE 112. “He gave credit to God for his longevity, but he always said cigars and whiskey helped.”

Heh. Read the whole thing.

BRUCE BAWER: Hijab in the House. “One of the notable results of the November 6 midterm elections was that the U.S. House of Representatives went from two Muslim members — Indiana’s André Carson and Minnesota’s Keith Ellison, who on the same day was elected his state’s attorney general — to three Muslims, Carson plus two new female members from Michigan and Minnesota. With few if any exceptions, the mainstream media rooted for these ladies throughout the campaign season and lustily cheered their victories, not because of their skills or experience or political views but because they represented ‘diversity’.”

Lots of info. Read the whole thing.

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: Refighting the Usage Wars.

On November 21, two educators published an article that lamented the declining quality of written work produced by American adolescents. Early in the piece, Temple University professors Kathy Hirsch-Pasek and Laurence Steinberg cite a 2011 study conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics that yielded this disturbing claim: “Only one in four [high school seniors] can construct an essay that is coherent and well structured, with ideas presented clearly and logically.” To bolster their case, Hirsch-Pasek and Steinberg present anecdotal evidence from other university professors privy to what this deficit looks like (literally on paper) at the next level. One, from “a high-ranking state university,” resorted to altering “her syllabus to take two full days to review the idea of a topic sentence.” Illustrating the ubiquity of this trend, another professor, this time from “a highly ranked private college, wrote in a recent Facebook post that he took time out of class to explain how to write, noting that students had no idea what they didn’t know.”

Does this sound alarmist? Well, it shouldn’t, because we’ve been hearing about the problem for years now. If you’re a parent, you might be wondering how something this counterintuitive could occur. Don’t high schoolers need to write admissions essays to earn spots at elite universities? Wouldn’t those essays need to be both clear and logical? Are admissions officers unaware of these foreboding nationwide studies?

Read the whole thing.

“WHICH BOXES TO CHECK? COLLEGE HOPEFULS WEIGH RACE, IDENTITY AND AFFIRMATIVE ACTION”: Steve Sailer annotates the WAPO article.

Steve is right that ambitious students shouldn’t check the “Cuban” box. I’ve personally seen cases where Cubans were held to be ineligible for a preference for Hispanics, because … well … because they are Cuban.

Here’s another one: In the late 1980s/early 1990s, law schools (but not other parts of universities) were giving preferences to Asian students. But an Evangelical Christian Korean immigrant (on at least one occasion to which I was privy) was classified for that reason as “not really Asian.” “Real” Asians are apparently non-religious.

As far as I can tell, the underlying rule is, “if the student is from a group that votes Republican, we’re really not into them.”

Related (From Ed): At Power Line, John Hinderaker comments on Sailer’s post: Checking the Racial Box. “Given our increasingly complicated racial landscape, the entire corrupt and irrational edifice of affirmative action seems destined to collapse. It can’t happen too soon.”

Read the whole thing.

TIM BLAIR: DRONES WRECK PLANS, MAKE ACADEMICS ‘STOP AND THINK.’

Global warming, potential plane crashes and bicycling is involved, so read the whole thing.

THE JANET COOKE OF HAMBURG. WAPO: A reporter’s dispatch from Trump country featured a ‘Mexicans Keep Out’ sign. But he made it all up.

What motivated [Claas] Relotius to lie? “It was the fear of failure,” he reportedly told editors at Der Spiegel, confessing that the pressure had grown as his career took off. After the 2016 election, his editors suggested that he write about Trump voters in rural America, and made plans for him to rent an apartment in Fergus Falls. But once he got there, the article failed to come together, Der Spiegel editor Ullrich Fichtner wrote:

When asked about the Fergus Falls story, he admitted that he knew perfectly well that the editors wouldn’t have reprimanded him if he had dropped the whole thing. “I think,” Relotius said last week, “a normal person would have said: ‘Listen, this just isn’t working. I’m stuck and we can’t do the story.’” But Relotius is evidently no normal person. “I tend to want to have control,” he said, “and I have this compulsion, this drive, to somehow make it happen. Of course, you don’t make it happen. You make a fabrication.” When he says “you” here, he can only mean himself and no one else.

According to Anderson, however, there was a story to be found in Fergus Falls. It just may not have been the one that Relotius was looking for. What he had overlooked, she wrote on Wednesday, were the community programs supporting local artists, the excellent coffee shop, and all of the residents who traveled to Washington for the Women’s March, planted Black Lives Matter signs in their yards and wept when they realized that Trump had been elected.

“This is just a hunch, but it seems to me that Relotius’ overseas readers might appreciate knowing that small American towns are more complex than they imagine — that die-hard liberals like me can still magically live alongside conservative Republicans — that sometimes we even find some common ground and share a meal together, and take the time to try to understand each other’s viewpoints,” she wrote.

You mean, we’re not all socialists now, as the Washington Post once pretended?

(Classical allusion in headline.)

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): Remember James Lileks’ epic takedown of a foreign report from a Birmingham, Alabama Olive Garden shortly after 9/11? They’ve always got the story pre-written before they talk to anyone.

THE POWER LINE WEEK IN PICTURES: Merry Christmas Edition:

This is an ecumenical interfaith site, but I don’t care. If you’re sensitive, head to your safe space now. Because I’m going to say it, “loud and proud” as they used to say in certain San Francisco neighborhoods: Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah too, because on college campuses that’s even worse than Marry Christmas.

Those who haven’t vaporishly collapsed into their favorite fainting couches, read the whole thing.

SPENGLER: China leapfrogs the US in 5G Internet.

In a Dec. 14 op-ed for the Washington Post, former Acting CIA director Michael Morell declared that our present tangle with China is not a trade war but a tech war. If China’s flagship telecom equipment company Huawei gets the jump on the rollout of 5G internet, Morell said, China will have the capacity to monitor communications, sabotage industrial systems, and “will have a significant head start economically, in cybersecurity and in signals intelligence — i.e., in promoting its economy, protecting its secrets and stealing those of its rivals.”

That’s the least of our problems.

Read the whole thing.

JIM MEIGS: A Gaslight Unto the Nations: How a word became the cliché of the Trump years.

“Gaslighting” feels like one of those trendy words that becomes au courant for a couple of years and then devolves into a punch line. (“How many men’s rights activists does it take to change a lightbulb?” one online meme asks. “None, they still use gaslighting.”) But the term’s growing popularity hints at a deeper change in political language, not just in the words we use, but in how we use them, in the goals we are trying to accomplish when we speak.

Disagreements over political issues used to hinge mostly on factual questions. (At least that was the ideal to which both sides claimed to aspire.) Does a higher minimum wage help or hurt the poor? Will tax cuts boost inequality or lift all boats? Good-faith advocates for either side would marshal their evidence and make their cases. To be sure, some debates got nasty. But, underneath the vitriol, people generally accepted that winning the argument required having a more persuasive set of facts.

There is another style of argument, one that doesn’t trouble itself with pesky facts at all. British writer C.S. Lewis dubbed this style “Bulverism,” after a fictional character he called Ezekiel Bulver. He imagined Bulver as a child overhearing his mother dismiss a point made by his father with the words, “Oh you say that because you are a man.” At that point, Bulver later recalls, “there flashed across my opening mind the great truth that refutation is no necessary part of your argument. Assume that your opponent is wrong, and then explain his error, and the world will be at your feet.”

Lewis conceived Bulver as a stand-in for the Freudians and Marxists of his day who dismissed their opponents’ positions by attributing them to deep-seated—even unconscious—biases. If you disagreed with a Freudian, you were “projecting” or “in denial.” Question the inevitability of socialism and you were just a victim of “false consciousness” showing how deeply you’d been brainwashed by capitalism.

If we were to drop Ezekiel Bulver into a modern-day Twitter debate, he would feel right at home. Bulverism is now the norm.

Yep. But read the whole thing, which is great.

ON THIS DAY IN 1803, FRANCE OFFICIALLY TURNED OVER LOUISIANA TO THE UNITED STATES AT A FLAG-RAISING CEREMONY IN NEW ORLEANS: The Louisiana Purchase added 828,000 square miles to the United States as well as control of the Mississippi River (which made already-existing territories in Mississippi and Ohio River watersheds that much more valuable). We got it for the bargain price of 50 million francs plus the cancellation of debts worth 18 million francs. At the time, that would have been $15 million–a bargain, even then, for such a vast territory.

The whole thing took President Jefferson a bit by surprise. He had wanted negotiate the sale of New Orleans and its environs. But on April 11, 1803, Foreign Minister Talleyrand told the American minister to France Robert Livingston that Napoleon was willing to sell all of the Louisiana Territory. Truth be told, Napoleon had abandoned his earlier plans for North America and needed to raise some money quickly for his other activities.

Jefferson worried that as President he did not have the authority to commit to such a deal. But his advisors told him he’d be crazy to turn it down. So he took it. The rest is history.

THERE ARE CERTAIN TOWNS IN MINNESOTA I WOULD ADVISE YOU NOT TO INVADE MAKE UP FAKE NEWS: Don’t Mess with Fergus Falls.

In 2017, the German magazine Spiegel sent a reporter to Fergus Falls, Minn., to write a story about Deep Trumplandia.

Unfortunately for Spiegel, Fergus Falls residents Michele Anderson and Jake Krohn read the story (which is no longer available, for reasons you’ll discover below), and wrote a stunning exposé on all the things he got wrong. “Got wrong” is too benign a characterization. The reporter, Claas Relotius, just made things up.

* * * * * * * *

How on earth did Relotius think he was going to get away with this stuff? Truth is, prior to the Internet, he probably would have, given that few if any of the town’s residents would have seen the article, which flatters the prejudices of liberal Europeans, and if they had seen it, who would have heard their protest?

There’s a happy ending: Spiegel fired Claas Relotius today for being a lying liar who has lied about more than Fergus Falls. 

Read the whole thing.

(Bumped.)

LIVING THE SMUG LIFE: Republicans Blast ‘Corrupt Cop’ James Comey After Second Closed-Door Interview.

Read the whole thing.

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: The Liberal Arts Weren’t Murdered — They Committed Suicide, Victor Davis Hanson writes.

Once a student has signed up for a class on the Renaissance or the Great Depression and quickly learns that it can become a periodic harangue on the oppression and victimization of particular marginalized groups, she will likely not wish to repeat the experience on money borrowed at between 5 and 7 percent interest, or to be convinced that her future employer wishes to be woke by a heady 21-year-old. The irony about the Atlantic article is that when it quotes liberal-arts and history professors to document their outrage at the Wisconsin cuts, their defense of their fields become perceptions of how history is necessary to advance particular contemporary agendas. So, for example, we are told that “in mid-November, the university announced its plans to stop offering six liberal-arts majors, including geography, geology, French, German, two- and three-dimensional art, and history. The plan stunned observers, many of whom argued that at a time when Nazism is resurgent society needs for people to know history, even if the economy might not” (emphasis added).

* * * * * * * *

But when one looks at the Wisconsin campus catalogue, one seems to find few if any classes in World War II. The closest might be “Women, War and Peace,” “Dilemmas of War and Peace: An Introduction to Peace Studies,” or “War and Propaganda in the 20th Century.” No doubt such offerings might be great courses, but I don’t think they would cover fully the Nazi aggrandizement of the late 1930s, particularly the role of Soviet collaboration, British and French appeasement, and American isolationism, or the tragic circumstance of the Munich Agreement — in other words, the likely best way for students “to know history” of any purported contemporary Nazi ascendance.

Nor I am sure that by agreement we live in a time “when Nazism is resurgent.” Certainly the world’s most frightening societies are North Korea and Venezuela, where wide-scale poverty and government oppression are normalized. Both are failed Communist states. The current likeliest threat to the global order for future generations of liberal societies will be statist and authoritarian China, whose government is still proudly Communist in a tradition that includes Mao Zedong’s 50 to 70 million dead. The point is that if students are interested in riveting history classes, they will probably not wish to be told that they should so enroll in one because “Nazism is resurgent” in today’s West.

Read the whole thing.

ANALYSIS: TRUE. The Liberal Arts Weren’t Murdered — They Committed Suicide.

The tragedy, then, is not just that a campus of the University of Wisconsin would drop the history major but that the custodians of history in the 21st century lost the ability to teach and write about history in a way that sustains a hallowed 2,500-year tradition. In other words, what is being jettisoned is likely not just history as we once understood it but rather de facto poorly taught “-studies” courses — which sadly become snapshots of particular (and often small) eras of history — designed to offer enough historical proof of preconceived theories about contemporary modern society. The students then are assumed by the course’s end to be outraged, persuaded, galvanized, and shocked in politically acceptable ways. Usually they are just bored, as supposedly with-it professors endlessly regurgitate the esoterica picked up in graduate schools.

Of course, not all historians see the past as an orthodox way of fixing the present, but enough do to discourage students, especially when younger faculty members draw on their rather specialized doctoral theses or narrow journal-article expertise to drive home an agenda that seems preachy or proselytizing to naturally resistant young spirits. To the Millennial mind, calcified Sixties-era radicalism is about as edgy as once was the Stalinist 1930s Old Left sermonizing to the Woodstock crowd. Trendiness that once pleased faculty committees and careerist deans did not always please students, and therefore the result is now not so pleasing to faculty committees and careerist deans.

As I’ve written here before about the Left: They’ll destroy or smear what they cannot seize.

Anyway, it’s Victor Davis Hanson so read the whole thing.

YOUR DAILY TREACHER: Would the End of All Human Life Really Be That Bad?

But if your guilt about your part in the alleged destruction of the planet is making you contemplate the death of every human being on earth, here’s an idea:

After you.

Go ahead. If you really believe we’re such a burden on this planet, if the fewer of us kept breathing the better, then it’s your moral and ethical obligation to show us the way. Get to it.

Well, that’s different, isn’t it? It’s not just a thought experiment anymore. It’s not just a way to pass the time. Not when it’s your life.

Read the whole thing. You just know the New York Times views the disintegration chambers from the Star Trek’s memorable “A Taste of Armageddon” episode as a first-class idea for population control.

SAN JOSE MERCURY: Video shows Oakland man telling FBI he wanted to kill 10,000 in Bay Area.

An Oakland man hoped to kill 10,000 Bay Area residents, according to court records that reveal a chilling plan of planting bombs around Oakland and UC Berkeley, blowing up a gay bar in San Francisco, setting arson fires around the Berkeley hills and distributing poisoned cocaine in local night clubs.

Amer Alhaggagi, whose last name is also spelled “Al-Haggagi” in court records, was caught on video discussing the plots with an undercover FBI agent.

Alhaggagi pleaded guilty in July to attempting to give material aid to a terrorist organization, stemming from when he helped set up propaganda social media accounts for people connected to the Islamic State, known as ISIL and ISIS. He also pleaded guilty to three identity-theft counts. He appeared in federal court Monday for a sentencing hearing, which was continued to next month.

“I want to make it to a point where every American here thinks twice or three times before he leaves his home,” Alhaggagi said on the video, which was obtained by KQED. “Like, ‘Is it necessary for me to leave right now?’ That’s how I want it to be.”

But in a letter to the court, Alhaggagi claimed the purported plots were fantasies he concocted out of boredom and said he had no intentions of committing terrorism.

“Everything was a joke to me, … I didn’t think anyone was taking me seriously,” Alhaggagi wrote to the court.

Read the whole thing. The Merc’s article doesn’t seem to describe Alhaggagi as a modern-day Merry Prankster.

THEY SHALL NOT GROW OLD: Scott Johnson of Power Line (whose grandfather immigrated to the US in 1916 from Russia and was drafted the following year and served in the Battle of Argonne Forest) attended the afternoon screening of Peter Jackson’s new WWI documentary and returns impressed — at the both the film and its crowd size: “Something is happening here. Each showing of the film at the Edina [MN] AMC yesterday was sold out. The film is to be shown again on December 27 in theaters playing Fathom Events. Highly recommended.”

Indeed. Read the whole thing.™

UPDATE: IMDB notes that something is happening indeed:

Jackson’s World War I documentary “They Shall Not Grow Old” earned $2.3 million at 1,142 theaters in North America on Monday.

Warner Bros. released the movie five weeks after it aired on Armistice Day on the BBC. The studio partnered with Fathom Events in the U.S. for a one-day event, marking the largest single night for a Fathom documentary, a spokesman said.

That’s awesome; the good-sized theater we saw the movie yesterday in Fort Worth had quite a crowd for a Fathom-type show.

BRUCE BAWER: What’s the Deal With All This Unrest in Paris?

In fact, when you come right down to it, the whole thing is really pretty simple. On one side you’ve got these mobs of immigrants, most of whom have no business being in France in the first place, but who, instead of keeping a low profile and showing some gratitude for what the French state has already given them, have a breathtaking sense of entitlement that makes them feel free to charge the very temples of French culture and issue arrogant demands. On the other side, you have humble French workers, most of them from the provinces, who have seen their wages stagnate, in large part because of the mass influx of competitive immigrant labor, and seen their taxes soar, in large part because of the government’s need to fund ballooning social-welfare benefits for immigrants who choose not to work.

There would seem to be a simple, if not exactly easy fix to this mess.

BIG BOURGEOIS THEORY. Jonah Goldberg is asking the important questions:

[T]he writers of Friends at least had their characters struggle to make ends meet in a plausible fashion. The cast of [The Big Bang Theory] did everything right. Except for Penny, in high school they would have been considered losers by pretty much everyone on Friends (except maybe Ross and Rachel). The BBTers worked hard, got the best grades at the best schools and have, in fact, landed perhaps not the most lucrative jobs for their fields certainly among the most prestigious. They should be doing all right.

Why aren’t they?

Read the whole thing. Of course, part of the problem is the premise of the show — I doubt its creators thought that we’d be watching 12 seasons of the stuff. At this point, locking the gang into the same apartments, campus, and comic book store sets for this long feels a bit like the permanence of the Mobile Army Surgical Hospital camp’s location and sets during the 11 seasons of M*A*S*H.

AND THEY DIDN’T EVEN HAVE TWITTER: Why 536 was ‘the worst year to be alive.’

A mysterious fog plunged Europe, the Middle East, and parts of Asia into darkness, day and night—for 18 months. “For the sun gave forth its light without brightness, like the moon, during the whole year,” wrote Byzantine historian Procopius. Temperatures in the summer of 536 fell 1.5°C to 2.5°C, initiating the coldest decade in the past 2300 years. Snow fell that summer in China; crops failed; people starved. The Irish chronicles record “a failure of bread from the years 536–539.” Then, in 541, bubonic plague struck the Roman port of Pelusium, in Egypt. What came to be called the Plague of Justinian spread rapidly, wiping out one-third to one-half of the population of the eastern Roman Empire and hastening its collapse, McCormick says.

Historians have long known that the middle of the sixth century was a dark hour in what used to be called the Dark Ages, but the source of the mysterious clouds has long been a puzzle. Now, an ultraprecise analysis of ice from a Swiss glacier by a team led by McCormick and glaciologist Paul Mayewski at the Climate Change Institute of The University of Maine (UM) in Orono has fingered a culprit. At a workshop at Harvard this week, the team reported that a cataclysmic volcanic eruption in Iceland spewed ash across the Northern Hemisphere early in 536. Two other massive eruptions followed, in 540 and 547. The repeated blows, followed by plague, plunged Europe into economic stagnation that lasted until 640.

The whole thing is a fascinating read.

COME SEE THE ANTISEMITISM INHERENT IN THE LEFTISM: The New York Times Just Published an Unqualified Recommendation for an Insanely Anti-Semitic Book.

Over the weekend, the New York Times Book Review published a full-length interview with Alice Walker, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Color Purple. The very first question: “What books are on your nightstand?” Walker replied with four, the second of which was:

“And the Truth Shall Set You Free,” by David Icke. In Icke’s books there is the whole of existence, on this planet and several others, to think about. A curious person’s dream come true.

This passed without comment from the New York Times interviewer, and the publication passed it on to the readers without qualification. This is rather remarkable because the book is an unhinged anti-Semitic conspiracy tract written by one of Britain’s most notorious anti-Semites.

There’s no byline on the interview with Walker, so there’s no telling if it was conducted by a 27-year-old who literally knows nothing, or by someone at the Times who should know better.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: College Bloat Meets ‘The Blade:’ Mitch Daniels, America’s most innovative university president, tells how he’s kept tuition from rising and how acquiring Kaplan University will expand educational access.

Mr. Daniels, 69, is the most innovative university president in America. Like his counterparts at other schools, he believes higher education has been “a competitive advantage” for the U.S.—“a nice little export industry, if you add up all the dollars that come here to purchase the education of students from other places.” He regards the rumbling in Washington about curbing visas for foreign students to be “very shortsighted.” But he also thinks American higher education has grown fat and complacent. He’s making inventive, even radical changes in the way his institution finances itself and imparts an education.

Mr. Daniels kicks off our conversation with a morality tale: “I’ll speak to an audience of businesspeople and say: Here’s the racket that you should have gone into. You’re selling something, a college diploma, that’s deemed a necessity. And you have total pricing power.” Better than that: “When you raise your prices, you not only don’t lose customers, you may actually attract new ones.”

For lack of objective measures, “people associate the sticker price with quality: ‘If school A costs more than B, I guess it’s a better school.’ ” A third-party payer, the government, funds it all, so that “the customer—that is, the student and the family—feels insulated against the cost. A perfect formula for complacency.” The parallels with health care, he observes, are “smack on.”

Mr. Daniels takes a different approach. In 2001-03, he ran the White House budget office for President George W. Bush, who dubbed him “The Blade” for his cost-cutting skills. Mr. Daniels brought his paring knife to Purdue. Examples of his efficiencies include replacing full-time dining-hall employees with student workers, scrapping the vast fleet of university-owned buses in favor of a private contractor, and saving $61 million on capital projects through what the university calls “innovative construction management.”

His most eye-catching achievement has been to keep costs down for students. By graduation day in 2020, tuition won’t have risen in eight years. “We’re able to say,” he says, “that the total cost in nominal dollars of going to Purdue will be less in 2020 than it was in 2012.”

Mr. Daniels says widespread adoption of Purdue’s “affordability campaign” would improve higher education. “Everybody is worried,” he says, furrowing his brow. “What are we at? A trillion and a half of student debt, twice as much as the total credit-card debt. It’s a social and economic problem.” He offers up a list of life’s milestones that people delay because of college debt: “marriage, household formation, child raising, homeownership, business-start formation—all of these things are being pressed down by college debt.” The “obvious first step,” Mr. Daniels replies, “is don’t charge so darn much in the first place.”

I dunno, if that kind of thinking catches on, it could threaten the whole feedlot.

MICHAEL LEDEEN: Michael Flynn’s Ordeal and Ours.

Read the whole thing.

STARBUCKS’ NEW BATHROOM POLICY NOT WORKING OUT AS HOPED.

…A half-dozen toilets were locked or barricaded for no clear reason. Others were closed for prolonged “cleaning,” which an insider said was needed after extreme soiling caused by drug-using, incontinent vagrants.

“Letting everybody in has resulted in nobody getting in,” an employee at one branch fumed.

“Rest Room closed,” declared signs at 399 Seventh Ave. (entrance on West 32nd Street) and at a branch at Pearl Street and Maiden Lane. At 252 W. 31st St., the road to relief was blocked by garbage cans. Furniture and boxes formed a barrier at 61 W. 56th St.

A rope and traffic cones barred the way at 38 Park Row. When a desperate visitor asked if the loo would reopen any time soon, a barista directed him to a Dunkin’ Donuts nearby.

It gets even worse; read the whole thing. Other than pretty much everybody except the ozone layer of Starbucks’ executives, who could have seen this coming?

QUESTION ASKED AND ANSWERED: Why are Labour’s leaders so quiet on Europe? Maybe it’s the lure of disaster.

Read the whole thing.

OLD AND BUSTED: Radical Chic.

The new  hotness blandness: Radical Bleak. At Quillette, Conor Barnes explores life among the “Sad Radicals:”

When I became an anarchist I was 18, depressed, anxious, and ready to save the world. I moved in with other anarchists and worked at a vegetarian co-op cafe. I protested against student tuition, prison privatization, and pipeline extensions. I had lawyer’s numbers sharpied on my ankle and I assisted friends who were pepper-sprayed at demos. I tabled zines, lived with my “chosen family,” and performed slam poems about the end of the world. While my radical community was deconstructing gender, monogamy, and mental health, we lived and breathed concepts and tools like call-outs, intersectionality, cultural appropriation, trigger warnings, safe spaces, privilege theory, and rape culture.

Read the whole thing. As Norman Podhoretz once wrote about his time as a nascent anti-Vietnam War radical,  “Do you realize that every young person in this room is a tragedy to some family or other?”

TRUMP SPRANG THREE TRAPS ON PELOSI AND SCHUMER ON WEDNESDAY:

Never forget that Trump was the most successful producer of reality television in the history of the medium.  He understands drama and a story arc.  Chuck Schumer leading a Senate filibuster right before Christmas to stymie border protection is exactly the story Trump wants the nation’s TV-viewers to absorb.

Read the whole thing.

TRIBUNE, TRONC AND BEYOND: A SLUR, A SECRET PAYOUT AND A LOOMING SALE:

At the dinner, as at other moments, [Chicago investor Michael Ferro, who ran Tribune Publishing, which then-published the L.A. Times] railed against those who he felt were impeding him — including perceived rivals and competitors. Among them: the Southern California billionaire and civic leader Eli Broad, whom Ferro called part of a “Jewish cabal” that ran Los Angeles.

* * * * * * * *

Early this year, however, Tribune Publishing made the first in a series of secret payments to total more than $2.5 million to avert a threatened lawsuit filed by a fired newspaper executive, according to three people with knowledge of the deal. That had the effect of keeping Ferro’s anti-Semitic slur out of the public spotlight.

The payments, reported here for the first time, are stark embodiments of the consequences of Ferro’s actions that contributed to a series of crises at Tribune Publishing. The LA Times has been sold. Tribune Publishing has put itself on the auction block and is reviewing three bids from potential buyers.

Ferro no longer controls day-to-day operations; he stepped down as chairman after sexual harassment accusations arose involving his conduct outside Tribune Publishing.

According to NPR, the fired official was then-editor in chief Davan Maharaj, who “hired a prominent Beverly Hills attorney to pursue a wrongful termination suit. Maharaj had ammunition, having recorded Ferro in unguarded conversation with associates.”

Read the whole thing.

Harriet Ryan of the L.A. Times tweets, “You’re the editor of the LA Times. You find out the CEO is an anti-Semite. Do you: a) confront him? b) assign an investigative reporter to expose him? Or c) use the information to get a $2.5M personal payout at a time the company is laying off journalists and closing bureaus?”

C’mon – it’s the L.A. Times; he newspaper that “kept rockin’” as it buried the John Edwards story in 2008 and has still kept the tape of Obama’s meeting with former PLO mouthpiece Rashid Khalidi in 2003 in the vault. Of course, you ignore the story. Or as Jim Treacher would say:

WE FINALLY FOUND THAT COLLUSION: Financial Bounty Hunters Testify: Clinton Foundation Operated As Foreign Agent.

The Clinton Foundation “began acting as an agent of foreign governments ‘early in its life’ and throughout its existence. As such, the foundation should’ve registered under FARA (Foreign Agents Registration Act),” he said. “Ultimately, the Foundation and its auditors conceded in formal submissions that it did operate as a (foreign) agent, therefore the foundation is not entitled to its 501c3 tax-exempt privileges as outlined in IRS 170 (c)2.”

Doyle, who was also outlining a litany of violations by the foundation, noted that currently there are approximately 1.75 million nonprofits in the United States that annually generate nearly 2 trillion dollars, which is 9 percent of the U.S. GDP.

“Who’s minding the store, looking out for the donors and minding the rule of law,” said Doyle.

“On that note, we followed the money so we made extensive spreadsheets of their revenues and expenses, we analyzed their income statements and we did a macro-review of all the donors, which is a very (jumbled) sort of foundation,” said Doyle. “Less than 1/10th of one percent of the donors gave 80 percent of the money. So we follow the money.”

Read the whole, damning thing.

ROGER SIMON: Strasbourg ‘Gangster-Jihadist’ Makes Nancy and Chuck Seem Clueless.

Read the whole thing.

THE ORIGIN OF THE WOMEN’S MARCH IS A STORY OF VIRULENT ANTI-SEMITISM: “Four white women, one of them Jewish, wanted to put on an anti-Trump rally but then feared they were too white. So they reached out to some kind of media fixer named Michael Skolnik, who gained notoriety due to his connections to Russell Simmons (himself a supporter of Louis Farrakhan), to ask him to recommend women of color to add to their group. (Apparently, these liberal white women didn’t know any — what a shock.) And what they got were loud-and-proud antisemites, and Linda Sarsour hadn’t even joined yet.”

Read the whole thing, which is yet another reminder that the alt-right and the mainstream left are the mirror images of each other.

SHAME STORM:

In October 2010, I appeared on a panel to promote a book of essays by young conservatives, Proud to Be Right: Voices of the Next Conservative Generation. The moderator was Jonah Goldberg. One of the other panelists was my ex-boyfriend Todd Seavey. During the Q&A, Todd launched into a rant about my personal failings. He accused me of opposing Obamacare on the grounds that it would diminish human suffering, which allegedly I preferred to increase; of wanting to repeal laws against fistfights for the same reason; of being a sadistic and scheming heartbreaker in my personal life; and of generally living according to a “disturbing” and “brutal” set of values. For three minutes and forty-five seconds, which, unfortunately for me, were captured on film for broadcast two weeks later on C-SPAN2, he made an impassioned case that I was a sociopath.

* * * * * * * *

I braced myself for the broadcast. Maybe no one would notice? Within minutes, the offending clip had been posted on YouTube, where it got half a million hits in the first forty-eight hours. It made the evening news on Washington’s Fox affiliate. Greg Gutfeld did a segment about it on RedEye. It was written up in Gawker, the Washington Post, Talking Points Memo, and a hundred lesser sites, and then written up again when Todd expanded his remarks about me into a ­series of blog posts on his personal website.

Read the whole thing.

CLAIRE BERLINSKI ON THE PARIS PROTESTERS:

I spent Saturday speaking to the Gilets Jaunes near the Bastille, where I figured I’d have a good vantage point on a traditional protest site. I walked with them as they slowly made their way to the city hall, or Hôtel de Ville. It was obvious from a single glance that these weren’t Parisians, but rural people who couldn’t afford to buy expensive Parisian clothes or get chic haircuts. I instantly understood why Macron rubs them the wrong way. They looked worn out; their hands and faces were lined; they were mainly in late middle-age. They seemed to be decent, respectable, weary people who had worked hard all their lives, paid their taxes, and played by the rules.

They couldn’t have seemed less disposed to violence, nor more apolitical. They were respectful of the police, and vice-versa. As cops drove by, relaxed, the Gilets Jaunes smiled at them, like kids excited about their first trip to the big city, waved at the officers, and gave them the thumbs-up. The cops reciprocated. The sentiment was fraternal. “We’re all weary, overtaxed working men,” they were saying to each other. “We’re on the same side.”

I concluded they were just what they were advertised to be: family men and women who couldn’t make ends meet and who were tired of Macron’s attitude. Why this protest, why now, I asked? The fuel tax was just the straw that broke the camel’s back, they said; it made the difference between “able to make ends meet, barely,” and “not able to make ends meet.” It had just been getting steadily worse every year since the economic crisis began. They had run out of hope. . . .

The rioter demographics were surprising. They were mainly aged 30-40, the police reported—a bit old for rioting, you’d think. They were “socially well-inserted” into the movement, but unlike the majority of the protesters, they had come with the goal of breaking and smashing things, rejecting the authority of the state and its symbols as savagely as they could. Of the 378 people taken into custody on Saturday, only 33 were minors. Most were rural men. The security services had drastically underestimated the number of violent protesters who would arrive and where they would be. It was immediately clear that this represented a massive police intelligence failure. The Elysée called a crisis meeting. Reports leaked to the press that the failure to anticipate the size of the violent and radicalized contingent of Gilet Jaunes was of a magnitude that “could lead to a deep reform of the Paris police headquarters,” as one television channel put it.

But read the whole thing.

20 MINUTES INTO THE FUTURE: President Trump Is Going To Be Impeached. The Question Is How Much Damage It Does.

Third, their base demands it and will punish them if they don’t.

Fourth, impeachment will take place as the 2020 primary season gets underway and they undoubtedly feel the best campaign advertisement for the Democrats will be lengthy House Judiciary Committee hearings, covered gavel-to-gavel by CNN and MSNBC as well as extensive play in the New York Times and Washington Post, where Trump can be attacked and where there will be virtually no significant coverage of his defenders. If the Senate drags its feet, that will be a further point of attack. It the Senate votes to acquit, yet another vulnerable flank is revealed.

Given the near inevitability of impeachment, how does this play out? Will the impeachment be seen as the political opportunism and revenge that it is or will it be seen as justified? Will it draw out more anti-Trump votes to reward the act? Or will the Democrat base be smoking a cigarette and wiping down with a damp washcloth in the afterglow and just forget to show up?

Read the whole thing.

HUMAN PROGRESS: Introducing the Simon Abundance Index.

Marian Tupy, editor of Human Progress, and Professor Gale Pooley from Brigham Young University – Hawaii have used 37 years’ worth of data for 50 foundational commodities covering energy, food, materials, and metals to develop a new framework to measure resource availability. The authors contend that instead of making resources scarcer, population growth has gone hand in hand with greater resource abundance.

The report builds on the famous wager between biologist Paul Ehrlich and economist and Julian Simon on the effect of population growth on the Earth’s resources. While Ehrlich warned that population growth could deplete resources and lead to global catastrophe, Simon saw humans as the “ultimate resource” who could innovate their way out of such shortages. The Ehrlich-Simon wager tracked the real price of a basket of five raw materials between 1980 and 1990, finding as Simon hypothesized, that all measured commodities decreased in price by an average of 57.6 percent, despite a population increase of 873 million.

Tupy and Pooley expand on Simon’s original insight by increasing the basket to 50 commodities and analyzing a longer time period; between 1980 and 2017. Over this time, they find the real price of their basket of commodities decreased by 36.3 percent.

Read the whole thing.

THE WISCONSIN ‘COUP’ THAT WASN’T: Untoward, not undemocratic.

Following a state-wide electoral rebellion against New Jersey Governor Jim Florio in 1991, the Democratic Party lost control of both legislative chambers. On the eve of decennial reapportionment and with New Jersey set to lose a congressional seat, that would have left Republicans in control of the consequential federal redistricting process. That simply would not do, and so legislative Democrats spent the lame-duck session ceding legislative redistricting authority to an independent commission.

When Republican Bruce Rauner won an upset victory over Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, legislative Democrats moved in the lame-duck session to truncate the length of the term to which the governor could appoint a comptroller from four years to two. Democrats, Quinn included, claimed that this actually made the system more democratic, since it put the vacancy to a vote of the public sooner. “I think democracy is always better when the people call the shots, when the people are in charge,” Quinn said. “Not only is the action planned for tomorrow unconstitutional,” House Republican leader Jim Durkin countered, “it’s nothing short of a power grab by the Democratic majority in a lame-duck session.”

Read the whole thing.

HERE’S THE JAMAL KHASHOGGI YOU PROBABLY DON’T KNOW ABOUT: Writing in The American Spectator, Joseph P. Duggan describes a fascinating lunch conversation he had in 2012 with the recently murdered Saudi “journalist.” There is so much more to Khashoggi than the mainstream U.S. media has reported. Read the whole thing.

MICHAEL WALSH IS IN A CONTRARIAN MOOD: George H.W. Bush and the Failure of American Foreign Policy.

Read the whole thing.

BYRON YORK: Ten Questions For James Comey.

Some Republicans want to ask him more about the Hillary Clinton case, but even some of them acknowledge that the case is over and done with. Others want to focus on the Trump-Russia affair. That includes a lot of material. There will, for example, undoubtedly be some questions about the Trump dossier, the origins of which Republicans have done extensive work to expose.

But one particularly useful area of questioning would be the case of Michael Flynn, the short-term Trump national security adviser who pleaded guilty to one count of lying to the FBI and who this week received a no-jail sentencing recommendation from Trump-Russia special counsel Robert Mueller. Comey spoke privately to Congress about the Flynn case on a few occasions in 2017. But so far, all the public knows about those statements are a few snippets of testimony included in a House Intelligence Committee report and a few others from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley. If Comey were questioned about it in some detail Friday, and if the transcript of that conversation were released, then the public might finally learn more about the case. With that in mind, here are ten questions for Comey on the subject of Michael Flynn.

Read the whole thing.

THE CAUSE OF OUR OPIOID AND MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS IS OBVIOUS, BUT WE CAN’T MENTION IT.

Read the whole thing.

PRESEASON SUPER BOWL PREDICTIONS: Three Reasons Beto is the Democrats’ Candidate to Beat in 2020.

Read the whole thing — and welcome back Bryan Preston to PJM.

COMPETITION AMONG ELITES FOR POWER, IMPOVERISHING THE COMMON CITIZENRY AND VETERANS: A review of The Storm Before the Storm: The Beginning of the End of the Roman Republic.

Written primarily for those not very familiar with this era in Roman history, The Storm before the Storm is a particularly valuable read for laymen, given that the events discussed are frequently cited – albeit usually erroneously – by politicians and pundits seeking to make points about modern America.

Ouch. A short and sharp review. Read the whole thing.

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: Springfield College Attempts To Ruin Professor’s Life For Teaching About Male Writers.

What might come to mind at this point is the Brett Kavanaugh-Christine Blasey Ford hearing of late September. What’s in play at tiny Springfield College is a version of the same gotcha game: first unsourced vague allegations, then recriminations if the target of the allegations refuses to submit to the attempted intimidation.

Read the whole thing.

IS THERE NOTHING IT CAN’T DO? Can the GOP Attract Young Voters? Try Beer, suggests J. Christian Adams:

If the Republicans want to attract young voters, then lead the charge to repeal the federal 21 year old drinking age mandate that Democrats in Congress passed in 1984.

Loudly repeal the mandate and allow states to lower their drinking age to 18 without federal penalty.

Appeal to young voters with beer and bourbon.

The National Minimum Drinking Age Act forced states to change their state laws or else forfeit federal highway money.  The 21 year old federal drinking age mandate was chiefly sponsored by Senator Frank Lautenberg, Democrat from New Jersey.

As far as I am concerned, if you are old enough to fight and die for America, you are old enough to drink a beer.

Endorsed. But read the whole thing.

CULTURE MATTERS:

Libertarian intellectuals and activists know that culture matters. If I had a hundred bucks for every time I’d heard someone chalk up poverty to a black box called “culture” or demand that we “change the culture” or complain that Hollywood or the universities or the media or women in general are culturally biased against markets I could buy a vacation home. And not a cheap one, either.

That culture matters isn’t controversial. The real issue is that most libertarians simply aren’t terribly curious about how culture works. They treat it as an instrument—a tool for promoting or hampering the advancement of their political ideas—rather than a phenomenon worthy of its own careful observation and analysis.

Libertarians and classical liberals know and care about government. They know and care economics. They don’t know or care about culture.

One result is that, when faced with cultural outcomes they dislike, people who surely know better fall back on explanations that sound eerily reminiscent of how leftists and populists describe markets. Either a small group of powerful people determine the public’s attitudes and behaviors or somewhere there’s a magic lever and if we could find it and pull it everybody would agree with us. We just need a good documentary film and more celebrities!

But culture is not a tool. It is not a machine. It is an emergent order, as complex, dynamic, and intellectually interesting as the economy—and thoroughly entangled with it.

It’s Virginia Postrel, so read the whole thing.

MICHAEL LEDEEN: It’s Time to Move Corruptible Bureaucrats Out of D.C. and into Flyover Country.

Once upon a time, when most sensitive messages were carried by couriers, it was imperative to have all the agencies here in one place. That no longer applies. Messages now move through the ether at the push of a button, and the offices between which they move can be anywhere. So get the corruptible Washington bureaucrats out of town, and into flyover country, where there’s less corruption, fewer fancy restaurants, and maybe even decent public schools.

There are plenty of benefits out there in real America. Doesn’t it make sense to have the Department of Agriculture in Nebraska? Wouldn’t it be an improvement to relocate special operations from the Pentagon to, say, Alabama?   And just think how much better off we could be if CIA were taken out of the Washington policial/social cesspool and quietly moved to West Texas.

Read the whole thing.

KYLE SMITH: Hollywood Is a Sex-Grooming Gang.

When you see a lot of movies and TV shows, you do a lot of wondering about what happened behind the scenes. Why did that actress get so many parts? Why did this one rise so quickly? Why did that one disappear? Wasn’t that nude scene gratuitous? Put on the magical sunglasses and you see the ugliness. Salma Hayek said Weinstein came to the set of her 2002 film Frida and threatened to shut it down unless she filmed an out-of-nowhere nude lesbian sex scene to put in the picture. Dewy young things are apparently told that this sort of thing is “the price of admission” by the male producer-director-agent nexus. Judging by her subsequent choices, I’m guessing the privately educated 21-year-old Reese Witherspoon wasn’t thrilled to be told to go nude for the 1998 film Twilight. She came to Los Angeles to act, not to strip. But, hey: price of admission. Now those images are out there, forever.

Read the whole thing. And as Smith goes on to note:

“Nobody knows anything” was the Hollywood mantra popularized by the late screenwriter William Goldman. Yet in a town that does nothing more assiduously than it does gossip, we’re expected to believe nobody knew anything about what was happening in Les Moonves’s office, and in Harvey Weinstein’s, and in Bryan Singer’s? It beggars belief. They knew. They all knew. The men knew. The women knew. The potted plants certainly knew. Nobody said anything. They didn’t want to jeopardize their next gig.

Which means all of these people knew:

MICHAEL WALSH: Where’s the Outrage? Look in the Mirror.

Read the whole thing.

FBI RAIDS WHISTLEBLOWER WHO CRITICIZED FBI:

Pollock’s story is summarized in these bullet points:

• The FBI raided the home of a whistleblower who was in possession of documents regarding the Clinton Foundation and Uranium One, according to the whistleblower’s lawyer, Michael Socarras.

• The whistleblower, Dennis Nathan Cain, had turned the documents over to the Department of Justice’s inspector general and both the House and Senate Intelligence committees, according to the lawyer.

• The FBI rummaged through Cain’s home for six hours, even after the whistleblower handed over the documents, according to Socarras.

Please read the whole thing. Full of what appears to be nightmarish governmental wrongdoing of the in terrorem variety, it is almost unbelievable. Pollock is a meticulous reporter. He has done everything possible to verify his story and touch base with the parties involved. The FBI isn’t talking beyond this laconic statement: “On Nov. 19, the FBI conducted court authorized law enforcement activity in the Union Bridge, Maryland area. At this time, we have no further comment.”

But I have some suspicions.

SPENGLER: A Sino-Russian “Greater Asia” from Shanghai to Lisbon. President Trump won’t meet Russian strongman Vladimir Putin at the Buenos Aires Group of 20 summit, but he will meet (and probably announce some kind of trade deal) with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Putin’s senior partner. Russia envisions a “Greater Asia” led by Russia and China, stretching from Shanghai to Lisbon, absorbing a Europe that is “not viable on its own.”

Demographics is destiny, and shrinking Europe’s — especially Russia’s — destiny looks increasingly like a Chinese satrap. Europe’s “elites” seem to think they can import enough Muslims to replace non-breeding Europeans, but dhimmitude is just another form of satrapy.

And do read the whole thing.

DECLASSIFIED: US Honors Swedish Pilots For Escorting Stricken SR-71 To Safety During Cold War.

Just the other day, four Swedish Air Force officers received Air Medals from the U.S. Air Force for a Cold War mission that had remained classified until just last year. On what might have been just any other day in 1987, they had helped escort a stricken SR-71 Blackbird spy plane through Sweden’s airspace and on its way to safety, potentially shielding it from any marauding Soviet aircraft.

Swedish Air Force Colonel Lars-Eric Blad, Major Roger Moller, Major Krister Sjoberg, and Lieutenant Bo Ignell got their medals during a ceremony at the U.S. Embassy in Stockholm, Sweden on Nov. 28, 2018. The U.S. military as a whole awards Air Medals for singular acts of heroism or other particular meritorious achievements during a flight. Retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonels Duane Noll and Tom Veltri, the pilots aboard the SR-71 during the Cold War incident, were also present.

A great tale, well told. Read the whole thing.

MEGHAN MURPHY, TWITTER AND THE NEW TRANS MISOGYNY:

Murphy has been repeatedly locked out since for tweeting the likes of ‘men aren’t women,’ ‘males can’t become female,’ and ‘what is the difference between a man and a transwoman?’. Her account was suspended on Friday. Twitter cited a tweet saying ‘Yeah it’s him’ as the reason, which referred to a man named Jonathan Yaniv, who had been making appointments with female beauticians in Vancouver, asking them to perform a ‘Brazilian’ bikini wax on him. For further detail of this case, you can listen here.

In a nutshell, when the beauticians declined to effectively wax Yaniv’s balls, explaining that they only offered the service for women, Yaniv took the women (16 in total) to the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal, in an attempt to sue them for thousands of dollars on account of ‘discrimination,’ claiming he was a woman. Yaniv has withdrawn at least one of the cases against the beauticians – and this month comments online were discovered in which Yaniv was musing about 10-year-old girls and tampon use.

In tweeting about this case, Murphy referred to Yaniv as ‘he’. For this, she has now lost her account, and with it, the potential to promote both her paid work, and her feminist activism on Twitter.

Read the whole thing.

As Rod Dreher recently wrote in a post titled “The Culture War Neutron Bomb,” “We will see the coming of what James Poulos calls the ‘Pink Police State.’ People will be happy to give up their political liberties in exchange for guarantees of sexual freedom. China’s ‘social credit system’ will become an effective model for the Controllers, and the surveillance state (the mechanisms of which already exist in the West) will be deployed against dissenters. As the older liberals die off, the rising Jacobin generation will fight for this, calling it social justice.”

Related: How Transgender Authoritarianism Hurts People Who Are Mentally Ill.

NEO: THE “MIGRANTS” AND NATIONALISM: ANGELA MERKEL SPEAKS.

Here’s one of the most quoted statements from her speech:

…Merkel trained her sights on “those who believe they can solve all problems on their own and only have to think of themselves — that’s nationalism in its purest form, not patriotism.”

That’s a strawman, of course. I cannot think of a single country that believes it can “solve all problems” on its own, a country that is so isolated that it doesn’t have multiple treaties, trade agreements, and all sorts of relations with other countries.

What’s more, there are some problems that countries must solve on their own.

Read the whole thing.

DAVID MAMET: “Hollywood is, at best, the cultural capital of Los Angeles. There is no literary salon. There is no need, as nobody can read.”

But read the whole thing for much, much more than snark.

CHINA’S INTERNET ARMY: This post begins with a discussion of the October 2018 U.S. indictment of nine Chinese citizens on charges of “Internet-based espionage.” The nine worked with an Internet hacking operation based in China’s Jiansu Province. The group targeted “technical data on high-performance jet engines.” But the post also discusses the origins of China’s enormous “Internet Army.”

Internal and external espionage is one of the main reasons the Chinese government took an interest in the Internet back in the 1990s. This resulted in nearly two decades of effort to mobilize the Chinese people as an Internet army. It was in the late 1990s that the Chinese Defense Ministry established the “NET Force.” This was initially a research organization, which was to measure China’s vulnerability to attacks via the Internet. Soon this led to examining the vulnerability of other countries, especially the United States, Japan, and South Korea (all nations that were heavy Internet users). NET Force has continued to grow, aided by plenty of volunteers.

In 1999, NET Force organized an irregular civilian militia, the “Red Hackers Union” (RHU). These are several hundred thousand patriotic Chinese programmers and Internet engineers who wished to assist the motherland and put the hurt, via the Internet, on those who threaten or insult China.

Read the whole thing.

THE FIRST CULTURE WAR: How the First World War sowed the seeds of identity politics.

As we mark the hundredth anniversary of the end of the First World War, it is clear that the moral wounds it inflicted on Western culture have not healed. Recent incidents, such as the rejection of Remembrance Day poppies by Cambridge University Students’ Union (CUSU), or Southampton University Students’ Union’s (SUSU) threat to paint over a mural dedicated to war heroes, are symptomatic of the sense of malaise and confusion regarding the memorialisation of the First World War.

In a sense, however, this hostility towards the memorialisation of the war, as an expression of antagonism towards a cultural legacy, has its roots in the First World War itself. Because although it was principally a military conflict, it also served as a catalyst for the emergence of a powerful mood of alienation from the values and cultural practices of the past.

This should not be underestimated. The Great War, as it was then called, fundamentally undermined the cultural continuity of the West. Disconnected from the past, Western societies found it difficult to develop a compelling narrative with which to socialise young people. As a result, the phenomenon known today as the ‘generation gap’ acquired a powerful significance — precisely because it was not simply a generational gap. Rather, it was a cultural gap that opened up between the post- and pre-war eras which, in the decades to follow, was experienced through generational tensions as the problem of identity.

Read the whole thing. In his 2011 book, The New Vichy Syndrome: Why European Intellectuals Surrender to Barbarism, Theodore Dalrymple explored how the meaning of World War One morphed among European intellectuals from the late 1910s to the 1920s:

At least to the victors, the war did not seem self-evidently senseless, and disillusionment was not immediate. The war memorials to be found everywhere in France are tributes to loss, but not to meaninglessness. The soldiers really did die for France, or so almost everyone supposed; in Britain, my next-door neighbor, who collects coins and medals, showed me some First World War service medals for those who survived the war, with an athletic (and naked) young man upon a horse, wielding a sword as if he were a latter-day St. George about to slay a dragon. One of the medals bore the inscription “The War to Save Civilization.” I doubt that these medals were greeted solely by hollow laughter; for one thing, they would hardly have been preserved so carefully if they had been. And browsing in a bookshop recently, I found a book published in 1918 with the title The Romance of War Inventions. It was an attempt to interest boys in science by explaining how shells, mortars, tanks, and so forth had been developed and how they worked. By the time of its publication, millions had already been killed, and surely no one in Britain could by that time not have known someone who had been killed or at least someone whose child or brother or parent had been killed. It seems to me unlikely that such a publication would have seen the light of day in an atmosphere of generalized cynicism about the war.

“The version of the First World War that is now almost universally accepted as ‘true’ is that of the disillusioned writers, male and female, of the late 1920s and 1930s. The war, according this version, was about nothing at all and was caused by blundering politicians, prolonged by stupid generals and lauded by patriotic fools,” Dalrymple adds.

And as Jonah Goldberg wrote in Liberal Fascism, World War I created the modern socialist world:

World War I gave birth to all the horrors of the twentieth century. A host of banshees were let loose upon the western world, shattering old dogmas of religion, democracy, capitalism, monarchy, and mankind’s rule in the world. The war fueled widespread hatred, suspicion and paranoia toward elites and established institutions. For belligerents on both sides, economic planning lent political and intellectual credibility to state-directed war socialism. And of course, it led to the enthronement of revolutionaries throughout Europe: Lenin in Russia, Mussolini in Italy, and Hitler in Germany.

Related: New Full-Length Trailer for Peter Jackson’s WWI documentary, They Shall Not Grow Old, which will be shown in US theaters on December 17th and the 27th before being released on video on demand, and presumably Blu-Ray and DVD:

The behind the scenes video makes the film look truly intriguing.

TWITTER & FACEBOOK — SOCIAL MEDIA COLLIDES WITH HUMAN NATURE. At NRO, David French writes:

Our social-media companies face a series of fateful choices. If they choose to be primarily platforms for human expression, they’ll empower many millions of voices that they despise. They’ll facilitate outcomes they may loathe. If, by contrast, they choose to prioritize progressive ideology and progressive outcomes, they’ll limit their reach, their influence, and their wealth. They’ll open themselves up to aggressive competition.

What’s the lesson here? When you empower people, you find that they have their own will. When you seek to control that will, you find that they’ll rebel. The idealism of tech is dead. Human nature killed it. Nobody can have it all.

Read the whole thing, and then check out Ed Morrissey at Hot Air, who looks at Jesse Kelly’s banishment from Twitter yesterday and concludes:

The answer to this and other examples of ludicrous speech-code imposition isn’t government intervention, however. It’s recognizing that Twitter is basically a social-justice-warrior cesspool and one of the worst places for intellectual discourse possible. Even with benign management, each 280-character bite practically begs to be taken out of context by those with malice. The malignant and arrogant manner in which Dorsey and his team manage the platform make it even worse yet by pretending that all the outrage is somehow justified just because it exists at all, even if it’s nothing more than a pretense for political attacks on perceived enemies.

With that said, it’s still possible to have positive engagement on the platform, at least in the short run. If that’s of any value, stick around and stick up for those who get banned; if not, follow Instapundit’s understandable decision to depart. The biggest lesson from the social-media platforms’ onerous and one-sided interventions is that it’s still best to control your own platform in cyberspace rather than rely on the kindness of Dorseys and Zuckerbergs in the long run.

And finally, speaking of social media and human nature, at Twitchy, Lutheran pastor’s ‘little rant’ about Twitter’s speech police is a definite must-read.”

Exit quote: “[T]he Selma-envy-riddled youngsters want to play both sides in their civil rights movement LARPing. They want to be the heroes on the right side of history. And they also want to be the guys controlling the firehoses…When people imagine Christianity to be foolish and cruel, the religions they invent to replace it are a thousand times stupider and more oppressive.”

MICHAEL LEDEEN: The Anti-American Americans. “So here we are, at Thanksgiving, surrounded by a crowd of arrogant, ignorant, self-proclaimed superior people who proclaim, as was once declared about Vietnam, that the only way to save the country is to destroy it. That the European welfare state is the proper model for us, and that our electoral choices are mostly wrong. And evil. The first anti-American president put it bluntly in an interview with with one of his cronies, saying Americans are ‘confused, blind, shrouded with hate, anger, racism, mommy issues.’ In Obama’s view, we’re unworthy of him and his ruling class.”

Read the whole thing.

MICHAEL LEDEEN: The Anti-American Americans.

Read the whole thing.

OLD AND BUSTED: Seeking out strange new worlds and boldly going where no man has gone before.

The New Hotness? “Gizmodo offers an account of recent panel discussion about Mars hosted by Lucianne Walkowicz, the NASA/Library of Congress Chair in Astrobiology, and you have to read this, not to believe it, because of course the real problem with going to Mars is that it would represent ‘colonialism.’ No, seriously, that’s what the thinking is.

Read the whole thing. As Steve Hayward asks, “When Did NASA Go to Pot?”

DENNIS PRAGER: Even Astronauts Fear The Left.

But the worst part of the Scott Kelly story is the astronaut’s immediate reaction to the negative tweets: “Did not mean to offend by quoting Churchill. My apologies. I will go and educate myself further on his atrocities, racist views which I do not support. …”

In Kelly’s view, Winston Churchill went from “one of the greatest leaders of modern times” to a man whose “atrocities and racist views” he will further educate himself on.

You know why? Because in America today, the greatest fear is fear of the left. Apparently, the left is even scarier than outer space.

Read the whole thing. As Steve noted last month, “Kelly was wrong to give into the progressive outrage mob, which simply must make Churchill an unperson for the crime of having saved Western Civilization.”

COULD ISRAEL’S ‘GOOD NEIGHBOR’ POLICY WORK FOR THE MIGRANT CARAVANS?

Read the whole thing.