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COLLEGE DEATH SPIRAL, CHAPTER TWO: An economic assessment by Steven Hayward at Powerline. Steven examines a column by Megan McArdle and two articles in The Economist. “Where’s the bad news here?” he asks. Read the whole thing.

JAMES LILEKS’ WEDNESDAY REVIEW OF MODERN THOUGHT:

All I’m saying is this: imagine if the riots and looting had been stopped, at once, and all the public leaders and opinion makers repudiated every stitch of the intellectual quilt behind the defenders of disorder.

Imagine a world in which the major newspaper didn’t respond with fashion layouts of the clothes preferred by people who light public buildings on fire.

Sorry, bad-lyric-Lennon-song reference here, but imagine that? It’s not easy. I can’t.

Not when the Washington Post has supplied these images:

Read the whole thing.

IT’S COMING WHETHER WE WANT IT OR NOT: The Case for Full-Spectrum Competition with China.

There are signs of changing attitudes. U.S. firms are realizing that the CCP has no intention of limiting predatory technology transfers, increasing market access, or ending state-sponsored industrial espionage. Speaking at the Reagan National Defense Forum, Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos cautioned, “If big tech is going to turn their backs on the Department of Defense, this country is in trouble. That just can’t happen.”7

The Sea Services must make outreach a priority and develop collaborative models for working with tech companies. The Army Futures Command is one model. Based in Austin, Texas, the command is tasked with accelerating Army modernization in key emerging technologies such as 3D printing. Army officers are donning civilian attire, engaging with start-ups, and experimenting with novel procurement models.8 Ultimately, organizations such as Futures Command or the Defense Innovation Unit humanize the services to people who may have no connection to the military but will nevertheless be crucial partners in sustaining the U.S. technological edge.

Alongside business, academia will be a crucial partner in sustaining the nation’s technological overmatch. U.S. universities and research institutions are targets of an ongoing Chinese espionage campaign seeking to steal government-funded research and intellectual property.

Read the whole thing.

KEVIN WILLIAMSON: “Joe Biden has named his 2020 running mate: authoritarianism…In choosing this corrupt prosecutor as his vice-presidential candidate, Joe Biden has made a serious error, one that highlights his already substantial deficiencies in judgment.”

Read the whole thing.

MAYOR BANE GETS HIS WISH: New York City’s Downward Spiral.

The true believers who remain are enthusiastic leftists who justify — or welcome — the dissolution of law and order.

New York City must be one of the few places on earth where chaos nostalgia is widespread. Many were the laments, in the Giuliani-Bloomberg era, that the city was “too sanitized,” “too gentrified,” “too boring,” “anodyne,” “suburban.” Often you’d hear people saying, or declaiming, that their ideal vision of the city was the 1970s–1980s one — oh, for the New York of CBGB, of Lou Reed, of the Tompkins Square Park riots. Occasionally people would sneeringly express revulsion that the sidewalks were teeming with strollers. What have we done, we’ve made this place safe enough for babies! And yet the population, which was smaller in 1990 than it was in 1940, boomed. More than a million more New Yorkers squeezed in between 1990 and 2010. It was as if a city the size of Austin grew atop the existing city.

On a return visit this weekend to the Upper West Side neighborhood where I’ve lived for more than a quarter of a century, the fear in the air was palpable. The population seemed to be reduced by about half. New Yorkers steer around each other on the sidewalks, some of them walking in the street to avoid passing near a stranger. A lady declined to ride the elevator with me and my children. People are especially terrified of the subway, whose ridership is down 80 percent from normal levels. Friday night, at a time when there would ordinarily be 50 or more people riding on any given car of the 1 train, there were about seven. Downtown was morose, grim, broken. Graffiti (the anarchists’ symbol, “ACAB” for “All Cops Are Bastards”) was much in evidence.

Read the whole thing.

NOTHING TO SEE HERE, MOVE ALONG: New Mexico man in his 20s dies of septicemic plague. “On July 27 a Santa Fe County man in his 60s was diagnosed with bubonic plague. . . . There are three forms of plague, with symptoms varying depending on how the person was exposed to the bacterium, according to the Centers for Disease Control.” The story doesn’t tell you — because they’ve laid off all the editors, I guess — but the three forms are bubonic, pneumonic, and septicemic, in ascending order of lethality. Pneumonic is the most contagious and the only one where human-to-human transmission is at all likely.

Related: Treatment of Plague. Time to start stockpiling streptomycin and tetracycline?

Also: China bubonic plague spreads: Beijing orders second lockdown after new horror death. “Panic has swept across China’s Inner Mongolia province after a second bubonic plague lockdown was enforced, two days after the first, as whole villages are sealed off.”

CANCEL FLANNERY O’CONNOR? WHY STOP THERE? “If you’re going to Mao up the canon, don’t half-ass it. Really get in there. Don’t rest until every last one of your heroes who ever thought a single thought on the wrong side of history is not only dead—but forgotten. And don’t delay: time is short, justice is impatient, and you have a lot of reading to do. Or you could, you know, get therapy.”

Read the whole thing, which is quite a list of authors who could go down the memory hole at any time. But when does Marx get cancelled for his stone cold racism?

BINARIES FOR ME, SPECTRUMS FOR THEE:

At some point in the future people will look back at how the left made two contradictory arguments at the same time. When it comes to sexual identity, the word has gone forth to oppose “artificial” categories, “false binaries,” etc. People can define themselves sexually without any regard to medical science, never mind tradition or political or cultural orthodoxy. I’ve lost count of how many genders there are now. Just last week, CNN was so scared of using the word “women” it tweeted that “Individuals with a cervix are now recommended to start cervical cancers screening at 25 …”

Meanwhile, when it comes to race, it’s all about new artificial categories and enforced binaries. White people who pretend they’re black are committing theft. Heck, white people who cook non-white food or pay homage to non-white art forms are committing theft. Cultural appropriation is evil. But gender appropriation is something to be celebrated. Biological males can collect all the women’s track and field awards and that’s fine. But don’t you dare wear dreadlocks if you’re not black?

That’s just weird. But these are weird times.

Read the whole thing.

FRANK FUREDI: The humiliation of Western history. “Those who zealously seek to pollute the past are very much devoted to gaining total cultural hegemony in the present.”

Unlike previous initiatives designed to encourage people to look critically at uncomfortable truths about their past, the 1619 Project offers a ‘take it or leave it’ version of history. Its aim is not to criticise existing historical narratives about the US. It is to negate and even morally annihilate the very foundation on which the US was built. As the NYT put it: ‘Our founding ideals of liberty and equality were false when they were written. Black Americans fought to make them true. Without this struggle, America would have no democracy at all.’

In rejecting the founding ideals of liberty and equality as false, the 1619 Project strips America’s founding document, the Declaration of Independence, of every shred of moral authority. It also erases the profound contribution the American Revolution made to the development of the Western ideal of freedom.

The 1619 Project does not offer any new insights into the past. Rather, it seeks to contaminate the past and render it toxic. Indeed, one of the main contributors to the project, Nikole Hannah-Jones, admits that its principal objective is not to shed light on the past, but to undermine the moral authority of the present. ‘I’ve always said that the 1619 Project is not history’, she writes. ‘It is a work of journalism that explicitly seeks to challenge the national narrative and therefore national memory. The project has always been as much about the present as it is about the past.’

Read the whole thing.

MEDIA MYTH ALERT: NY Times commentary offers up that hoary 1960 debate myth.

The essay proposed an end to the presidential debates — a fixture in the U.S. political landscape since 1976 — because “have never made sense as a test for presidential leadership.” The author, veteran Washington journalist Elizabeth Drew who was on a debate panel 44 years ago, has made such an argument before.

But the essay’s publication yesterday also looked like prospective justification for shielding gaffe-prone Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, from confronting President Donald Trump in three 90-minute debates during the unfolding campaign. Biden’s fumbling, sometimes-bizarre statements may not serve him well in such encounters. (Of course, as Drew has written on other occasions, Trump’s isn’t necessarily an effective or well-prepared debater.)

What most interested Media Myth Alert, though, was Drew’s invoking the myth of viewer-listener disagreement.

“Perhaps the most substantive televised debate of all,” she wrote, “was the first one, between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon, which Nixon was considered to have won on substance on the radio, while the cooler and more appealing Kennedy won on television.”

Nixon “won on substance on the radio” while “Kennedy won on television.”

Uh-huh.

Read the whole thing.

IT SURE DID LOOK EQUIVALENT TO A TACTICAL NUKE: Beirut Blast: How Many Kilotons? “I wrote Lebanon expert Michael Totten to ask about the blast, and he said he heard that the Lebanese Army has been storing confiscated high explosives there since 2014. If we assume that it’s ANFO rather than straight ammonium nitrate, that’s about 72% as effective as TNT, and with just under twice the detonation velocity of ammonium nitrate. That yields a blast of 1.98 kilotons.”

Read the whole thing.

THE “ABJECT FAILURE” STRIKES BACK:

Minnesota’s Governor Tim Walz is utterly incompetent. For the details, read the just-released issue of Thinking Minnesota, which drives political debate in my state. During the days of rioting, looting and arson in Minneapolis that followed the death of George Floyd, it became obvious that the situation was a disaster. Walz tried to distance himself from the debacle by saying in a press conference that fellow Democrat Jacob Frey, the Boy Mayor of Minneapolis, had been an “abject failure,” but Walz was now taking over and things would get better. Rarely has a politician been so definitively thrown under the bus.

Walz’s denunciation came as a shock to Mayor Frey, whose political career is presumed to be over. But Frey has finally counter-attacked, and in a man-bites-dog moment, the Star Tribune is willing to criticize a Democratic Governor of Minnesota. I am not sure this has ever happened before.

It’s quite a beat down on Walz, so read the whole thing.

FROM DESERT SHIELD TO DESERT STORM: Assessing Desert Shield’s Power Cocktail 30 Years On. On August 2, 1990 Saddam invaded Kuwait. Desert Shield officially began August 9, but the military, diplomatic and economic response began immediately.

…Saddam wanted more than money; he sought global glory. A speech he delivered in Amman, Jordan, in February 1990 sketched his plan. After discussing the “Palestinian cause,” Western Europe’s decline and the Cold War, “suddenly, the situation,” Saddam said, “changed in a dramatic way.” The Cold War ended. America was “fatigued” and would fade, but “throughout the next five years,” the U.S. would be unrestricted. He implied that defeating the U.S. entailed scraping the scar of Vietnam and threatening massive U.S. casualties. “Fatigue” and domestic self-recrimination would stall U.S. power. A crucial line stands out: “The big,” Saddam said, “does not become big, nor does the great earn such a description unless he is in the arena of comparison or fighting with someone else on a different level.” (Translation: If a minor leaguer wants to move up, he takes on the majors.)

Read the whole thing — my latest Creators Syndicate column.

MOLLIE HEMINGWAY: Media Silent As Christopher Steele ‘Hero’ ‘Spymaster’ Narrative Crumbles.

Steele did not personally collect any of the factual information in his reports. The “vast network” was instead a “social circle” of an American-based former Brookings Institute junior staffer, recently identified for the first time as Igor Danchenko. The friends didn’t have well-documented claims so much as rumors, drunken gossip, and outright brainstorming, conjecture, and speculation. Even that information was “multiple layers of hearsay upon hearsay” before it got to Steele, who then hyperbolically overstated it. And the damning claims of “collusion” appear to have been scandalously misattributed or invented out of whole cloth.

With such shoddy information collection and analysis methods, there was never any reason to give credence to any of the salacious allegations in the dossier, whether it was claims of secret deals with Russian oil concerns, secret meetings in foreign capitals, prostitutes urinating on Moscow hotel room beds, files of compromising information, or the careful cultivation of Trump, yes Trump, into the most effective Russian agent in history.

The media have a problem, then, given that they repeatedly led viewers and readers to believe Steele was a master spy.

Read the whole thing.

ROAD TRIP! The long way home: a 2,000-mile road trip in an untested ’79 Pontiac Trans Am:

The Great American Road Trip is a wonderful thing. It allows you to meet people you’d never otherwise encounter, see things you’d never otherwise see, and experience this great country of ours in ways that only open-road travel can provide.

Today’s new cars are forgettable. They’re roving jellybeans connected to the world via technology that most owners will never understand. They’re tracked by all manner of computer, recording our every moment and location. In short, new vehicles remove the one thing that the automobile was meant to provide from its inception: Freedom. Some will say it’s foolish to run 2,000 miles in an untested classic, but I disagree. In my mind, it’s about the adventure of doing something few are willing to attempt and getting lost in a vehicle that can’t be found.

Read the whole thing, which includes lots of photos of a great looking nocturne blue 1979 Pontiac Trans Am. It’s not quite the Smokey and the Bandit Firebird, (non T-Top roof, for one thing) but Bandit would definitely approve.

MICHAEL WALSH: The Preservation of America’s Republic Hangs in the Balance.

The death of Americans’ pride in their country, in its cultural, political, and scientific achievements, and in its moral goodness, has been based on a deliberate, malignant Marxist lie that has been uncoiling here for a century, beginning with the penetration of the America media and parts of the government up through World War II, the transplantation of the Frankfurt School communists such as Herbert Marcuse and their doctrine of “critical theory” to American academe in the postwar period, continuing through the Soviet destabilization of the civil-rights movement in the 1960s—and culminating in the socialists’ seizure of the Democratic Party.

And now here we are, just a few hundred yards from our own Rubicon. Will the winner of the 2020 election be the savior of the Republic, or its destroyer? Washington, like ancient Rome, nervously awaits.

Read the whole thing.

CHARLES LIPSON: Woke Colleges Are Assembly Lines for Conformity.

What views are now considered beyond the pale? They almost always involve ordinary political differences. We are not talking here about direct physical threats. Those are already illegal, and universities rightly deal with them. They don’t have to face neo-Nazi marches. Nor is anyone advocating such noxious ideas as genocide, slavery, or child molestation. Speech about those subjects might be legal, but virtually nobody is making the case for them. That is not what the fight for freedom of speech on campus is about. It is about the freedom to voice—or even hear—unpopular views on topics such as merit-based admissions, affirmative action, transgender competition in women’s sports, abortion, and support for Israel.

These are perfectly legitimate topics, and students ought to be free to hear different ideas about them. They are hotly contested topics in America’s body politic. That’s how democracies work. Not so on college campuses, where the “wrong views” are not just minority opinions. They are verboten, and so are the people who dare express them. Challenging this repressive conformity invites condemnation, severs friendships, and threatens careers. It is hardly surprising that few rise to challenge it.

Worse yet, university leaders seldom do. They have a fundamental responsibility to defend open discourse, and they have largely abdicated it. Shame on them.

Read the whole thing.

ROGER SIMON: Antifa Is the Natural Product of Our Educational System.

Antifa is an excruciating public manifestation of a very deep infection that has metastasized throughout our society from the schools.

It will only get worse if we don’t change our educational system—pronto.

Ironically, the beginnings of this change are one of the few, perhaps the only, good things to emanate from the pandemic.

With schools shut or online, many are evaluating whether the system serves our young people, practically (in terms of careers) or ideologically.

What kind of education is it when 95 percent of college professors vote Democrat, and mostly left Democrat at that?

Viewpoint diversity, anyone? Shall I home school my child? Shall I send him or her to college so they can come back Thanksgiving in an Antifa t-shirt and accuse me of being a capitalist pig when I just spent fifty grand for their tuition?

Something is wrong with this picture.

Read the whole thing.

DECOUPLING: How to Stop China From Imposing Its Values. “America’s alliances were built to address a Soviet military threat. The economic bullying that Beijing uses requires a different kind of collective self-defense.”

New threats demand new responses. During the Cold War, the U.S. created not just NATO but also the CIA and the Air Force to respond to Soviet threats. The period brought about a wholly new form of intelligence competition between the West and the Soviet Union. This led the U.S., Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand to enter into the alliance commonly known as Five Eyes, which allowed unprecedented intelligence sharing among nations in peacetime. This approach would have been unimaginable before the Soviet geopolitical threat.

Similarly, a new kind of alliance—like NATO, but for economic rather than military threats—is needed to respond to the kind of statecraft that China is practicing. Under such a system, participating nations would provide mutual support when China threatens one or more members with economic repercussions for political actions. That assistance could involve the imposition of tariffs on Chinese goods by all member nations; the creation of a pool of capital to help a targeted nation withstand Beijing’s pressure; the release of strategic reserves of essential materials, such as rare-earth metals, that China produces and could withhold; and other forms of collective economic defense.

Read the whole thing.

AND THE “EXPERTS” ARE OFTEN FRAUDS OR HACKS OR SIMPLY CLUELESS: The coronavirus has shown people that big government can’t solve all their problems.

When asked in the abstract, voters generally tell pollsters they want the government to do more to solve the problems in their lives. Yet new data show that the COVID-19 crisis and the subsequent botched response at all levels of government may be starting to relieve people of their naive belief that more government “help” is a good idea.

According to a new Gallup poll, Congress’s already-low approval ratings have done a nosedive in the last few months. At 22% in March, when the coronavirus outbreak began, approval ratings had briefly ticked up after Congress passed a $2 trillion relief bill. But now, the legislative branch has fallen to just 18% approval.

That means nearly 4 in 5 people in the United States do not approve of our legislators’ performance amid this crisis, and it’s not a partisan phenomenon. The gap between Republicans and Democrats on this metric is only a few points.

In an interesting contrast, public trust in the private sector has risen markedly during the coronavirus crisis. A new Axios/Harris poll surveying voters on their views toward various industries found positive changes in every sector except media (how about that!) and airlines. From medicine to retail to technology, private enterprise’s rapid and innovative response to this unprecedented crisis has impressed people.

These are welcome trends in public opinion. After all, the COVID-19 disaster has been a story of government incompetence and mismanagement from the very beginning. The original coronavirus outbreak got out of hand because of the Chinese Communist Party’s malfeasance. By silencing journalists and “disappearing” doctors in an authoritarian effort to save face, the regime delayed global response to COVID-19 until it was too late to contain the virus.

Then, when the outbreak first reached U.S. shores, the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention botched our response horribly. By foolishly monopolizing testing kit production and putting up red tape, the two government bureaucracies set our ability to contain the virus back irreparably. The crisis was also compounded by the failure of government officials from both parties to take it seriously initially. Even after the government woke up to the threat, the inconsistent and confused messaging on best prevention practices coming out of the CDC sabotaged our collective response.

Worst of all, elected officials such as Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York made the deadly decision to force nursing homes to accept patients who had tested positive for COVID-19 and so endanger their entire community. More than 6,400 New York nursing home residents have subsequently died from the coronavirus.

Yep. Read the whole thing for more failures.

WHO DESERVES A FUNERAL?

How could any person who has lost a loved one during the pandemic see this blatant hypocrisy and not be incensed? You had to decide which family member could enter the hospital and be the last to see their father alive. You had to have last rites read over the phone. You could not touch the casket before it’s lowered into the ground. You could not embrace each other as the dirt was shoveled. All the while, the same politicians who lectured you about making sacrifices to stop the spread traveled with impunity, attended large funerals without proper social distancing and avoided quarantines upon their return.

The funerals for Rep. Lewis in Atlanta and George Floyd in Houston — which was attended by Jamie Foxx, Channing Tatum, Rev. Al Sharpton, Ne-Yo, and others — are a reminder of how the elite prioritize their own lives and needs ahead of the rest of us. They don’t just think they are better than you; they act like it, too.

Read the whole thing.

Related: Question asked and answered:

“Unexpectedly,” it’s the latter: DC Mayor Exempts John Lewis Funeral Attendees From City’s Quarantine Restrictions. “Government activity is essential, and the Capitol of the United States is exempt from the Mayor’s Order.”

MR. JONES AND THE DEADLY CONSEQUENCES OF SHODDY JOURNALISM:

Stalin was undoubtedly the general leading this crime against humanity, but he had lieutenants. And not all were Russian. Foremost among them was Walter Duranty (Peter Sarsgaard), the New York Times’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “Man in Moscow.” Duranty was fond of saying the Soviet experiment required sacrifice — omelets and broken eggs and all that — and spent his decades-long career lying to the people of the United States about the extent of Soviet atrocities in Ukraine and elsewhere.

“Mr. Jones” is, in many ways, a film about Duranty; indeed, Holland and writer Andrea Chalupa seem uncertain that we can understand his story without reference to other, more famous writers from the era. Holland and Chalupa suggest in “Mr. Jones” that George Orwell’s (Joseph Mawle) “Animal Farm” was inspired by Jones’s work, and the movie is, for some strange reason, framed around Orwell’s writing of that modern fable. This is the movie’s one misstep, a suggestion that the audience cannot comprehend the horrors they’re about to witness without a reference point from middle school.

Duranty comes in for a beating — justifiably portrayed as a hack and an apparatchik for a loathsome regime; shown living in a literal den of iniquity, hosting drug-addled orgies to gather blackmail material for his friend Stalin — and for good reason: It’s high time this tool of genocide got his comeuppance onscreen.

Read the whole thing.

Earlier: Me and Mr. Jones: A New Film Exposes one of the Oldest Deceits of the New York Times.

FOUR MAIN TAKEAWAYS FROM THE HOUSE’S BIG TECH ANTITRUST SIDESHOW:

As Twitter’s Jack Dorsey buckles to finger-wagging commentators, Mark Zuckerberg has provided a platform largely dominated by conservative news and viewpoints. The thanks Zuckerberg receives? Being quizzed about taking down Donald Trump Jr’s Twitter account. Zuckerberg is by no means perfect, or let’s face it, even human, but right now he’s the only thing standing between free expression and a media and Congress eager to regulate his platform out of existence.

Read the whole thing.

‘WHEN YOU’RE LEADING, DON’T TALK’: The hazards of glide-path campaigning.

The election of 1948 may hold lessons for Biden, who seems disinclined to risk making gaffes, for which he is notorious. The cautious strategy may work, by keeping the focus on President Trump and deflecting attention from Biden’s liabilities. But Dewey’s experience suggests that may not be a winning strategy.

Read the whole thing.

ROGER SIMON: Do We Really Need Congressional Hearings?

Nevertheless, I had higher hopes for these hearings because the role of Big Tech is one of the most serious questions facing our country, and indeed the world, now. And it would be interesting to see the likes of Zuckerberg, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Apple’s Tim Cook, and the more anonymous but equally potent CEO of Alphabet and therefore Google, Sundar Pichai.

Unfortunately, other than glimpses of these Masters of the Universe, we got little more than we did during the risible Barr hearings.

The major reason: The Democrats want to posture over antitrust and then do nothing. The Republicans want to posture over bias and then do nothing.

It’s not Grand Guignol but it’s a dumb show nevertheless.

Read the whole thing.

THE CEASE FIRE THAT WON’T BE: “Now, with the governor of Oregon, a Democrat, agreeing to stop the violence, VP Pence has agreed to remove Customs and Border Protection from Portland. While that seems like a win for the bad guys, this is actually pretty brilliant strategy move by Republicans. It cuts sufficient rope from the spool to allow the governor, and the rioters, to hang themselves. Because, let’s be honest: the rioting won’t stop, it will intensify.”

Read the whole thing.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: A Few Tips In Case You Find Yourself In A Mandatory “Anti-Racism” Struggle Session.

My first tip is, it is a mistake ever to make a declaratory statement of any kind, even “yes,” “no,” or “I understand.” So, if asked to assent to something, or to say something, what do you do? The answer is, always respond with a question. Also, there is no need for the question that you pose to have anything to do with the question that has been posed to you. In fact, the less related your question is to the thing you are being asked to concede, the better. You can also try to ask a question even if no question has been posed to you. The point here would be to try to divert the “trainer” off his or her prepared outline or script, and onto something that challenges their assumptions.

Here are a few questions I have come up with if you want to have some fun:

Read the whole thing.

Related: How to Talk to Your Employers About Anti-Racism.

QUESTION ASKED AND ANSWERED: What’s Really Going on in Seattle?

Are they peaceful protests or are they riots? Bonneville’s KTTH-AM Seattle host Jason Rantz was in the middle of the mayhem for ten hours this past Saturday. We spoke to Rantz yesterday to get his take on the situation.

* * * * * * * *

Radio Ink: How is it being covered locally?

Rantz: Locally, radio and TV covered it well, highlighting the destruction and how out of control it got. The Seattle Times, however, was embarrassing in their coverage. They downplayed the violence significantly, they implied police were to blame, and took 14 paragraphs before they even got to the arson, and 18 paragraphs before they got to the munition attack.

Read the whole thing.

Related: “This isn’t journalism. This is activism. This is excusing arson, looting, rioting, and the destruction of minority-owned businesses. This is CNN.

UMBRELLA MAN IS THE LEE HARVEY OSWALD OF RACISM:

But what makes Umbrella Man special?

For nearly a decade, we’ve been watching the media stir racial tension on a daily basis with a fact-less, bogus narrative that police are executing a murderous, genocidal plot against unarmed black people.  This false narrative has led to numerous violent riots across America.

Is this all the work of Umbrella Man? Was he in Ferguson and Baltimore, too? Is Umbrella Man in Portland and Seattle right now? Are the white kids rioting nightly in the Greater Northwest secret members of the Hell’s Angels?

Or is Umbrella Man just another patsy Twitter and the mainstream media are selling an easily bamboozled American public?

Yes. Read the whole thing.

THE WINNERS OF JULY:

Even though Gallup has quit election polling, a reservoir of its reporting remains available online; it’s a useful, even revealing resource about campaigns past. For example, in 2008, Gallup posted an article online that noted polls of July are not always reliable indicators of outcomes in November.

Miscalling the 2012 election

It is a useful reminder, relevant even now as polls signal President Donald Trump’s reelection seems a long shot in his unfolding race against gaffe-prone Joe Biden.

The winners of July who lost in November have been several over the years, and go beyond the cases of Thomas E. Dewey in 1948 and Hillary Clinton in 2016. Among the others in Gallup’s polling were:

Read the whole thing.

BARR OUTMANEUVERS THE DEMOCRATS:

Attacks on federal property and personnel have been going on for weeks. The need for action is plain. Mr. Barr was unflappable, but blunt. One highlight came when he was being questioned by Congressman Steve Chabot, a Republican of Ohio. “Federal courts are under attack,” Mr. Barr said, before exclaiming: “Since when is it okay to try and burn down a federal court?”

That a U.S. attorney general has to make that point to Congress is itself amazing, and Mr. Barr marked it well. “This is the first time in my memory,” he said at one point, “that the leaders of one of our great two political parties — the Democratic Party — are not coming out and condemning mob violence and the attack on federal courts. Why can’t we just say, you know, violence against federal courts has to stop? Can we hear like that?”

No answer was forthcoming.

Read the whole thing.

MICHAEL WALSH: US Ruled by Whim of a Single Supreme Court Justice.

With the court essentially evenly divided between the lockstep liberals of Breyer, Ginsburg, Kagan, and Sotomayor on the one hand and Thomas, Alito, Kavanaugh, and Gorsuch/Roberts on the other, the United States is effectively ruled by the whim of one man: the swing vote.

Once upon a time that vote belonged to former Justice Anthony Kennedy, a Republican appointee who “grew” in office during his 30-year tenure and, as the deciding vote in the 2015 Obergefell decision, ordered every state to facilitate and recognize gay marriage in contravention of thousands of years of civil and religious history. His work done, Kennedy retired in 2018.

Latterly, the role of king of America has been played by the Chief Justice Roberts himself, with Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch taking over on Wednesday and Sunday matinee performances.

Consider two recent developments.

Read the whole thing.

DISPATCHES FROM THE MEMORY HOLE: Man arrested for driving through protest crowd, but with a couple of big twists.

First of all, the protest in question wasn’t a Black Lives Matter march. It was a Blue Lives Matter demonstration in support of law enforcement officials. Also, the driver in question hadn’t been blockaded in the middle of the street. The protest was taking place on the grassy field of a local park. And the motorist wasn’t “fleeing in terror” from anyone. He deliberately steered his SUV off of the street and went crashing across the park to intentionally run down the demonstrators.

Read the whole thing, which probably won’t be making the evening news broadcasts anytime soon.

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: “Mark Steyn’s commentary on the death of Prof. Mike Adams: ‘if you’re doing the heavy lifting on an otherwise abandoned front of the culture war, what you mostly hear, as Mike Adams did, is the silent majority’s silence – month in, month out….’”

Needless to say, read the whole thing.

RICHARD TURNQUIST ON THE DEMOCRATS: Unfit to Govern.

We are fortunate indeed to have real world results that we can look at for how well or how poorly governing philosophies and agendas work. America’s major cities have been dominated by the Democratic Party for decades, and the results are in.

All but 3 of America’s largest cities are run by Democratic mayors. The 3 largest cities – New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, are losing population every year.

Several of the most violent cities in America, including Albuquerque, Memphis, Detroit, Chicago and Washington, DC are run by Democrats.

States that are bleeding population every year due to high taxation, over-regulation, decaying cities and failing public services including New York, Connecticut, California and others are all run by Democrats.

States that have low to no income taxes, are right-to-work and favor energy development do better economically than high tax, forced union and energy unfriendly states. According to the annual economic outlook rankings published by the American Legislative Exchange Council Center for State Fiscal Reform, in 2019 the bottom ten states were all run by Democrats and the top 10 states except two were run by Republicans.

Read the whole thing.

ROGER SIMON: Whirlwind: It Will Be Worse for Democrats If They Win.

One thing that will not be happening is conditions in the country getting better. Biden’s economic plans, heavily under the influence of AOC and others from his left he seems terrified of confronting, will only make things worse.

In a short while, the radical groups will be back in the streets again, demanding changes that can never be satisfied short of revolution—and even then, if history is any guide, will continue on Robespierre-style into oblivion.

Critical race theory—again with ninety-nine percent not knowing what the hell it is—will reign, dividing us even more. Many will unfairly be accused of racism and punished severely, in a way eerily similar to what happened to Evgenia Ginzberg for being called a “Trotskyist.”

The limousine liberals of Brentwood, Calif. or Malibu who backed Biden so adamantly, whether as a last resort or not, will be starting to sweat. The revolution will be coming for them.

How could they not have known? DIdn’t they see “Dr. Zhivago”? Some of them may even have helped make it. (Well, maybe not in today’s Hollywood.)

If you think things are bad now, just wait.

Read the whole thing.

AN UNTRUE CLAIM IN THE NEW YORKER SPEAKS VOLUMES:

Reading the latest copy of the New Yorker magazine, published exactly a week ago, I came across this sentence in a piece by Jill Lepore:

One study suggests that two-thirds of Americans between the ages of fifteen and thirty-four who were treated in emergency rooms suffered from injuries inflicted by police and security guards, about as many people as the number of pedestrians injured by motor vehicles.

—Jill Lepore, New Yorker

This in a 5,000 word feature on the history of policing in the United States, which draws a link between the early role of police in suppressing slave rebellions, and police killings of Black Americans in the twenty first century.

* * * * * * * *

Why does this one sentence matter? Well, firstly, it misinforms readers, several of whom (based on my Twitter search for the article’s URL) also alighted on this claim, but unlike me took it on trust. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, it tells us something about the political climate in a publication like the New Yorker, which was once famous for its rigorous fact checking.

Read the whole thing.

GOODBYE, WASHINGTON DC: Mayor Bowser broke her contract with residents like me. So we’re leaving.

I used to go for afternoon tea at the St. Regis Hotel on 16th Street; it’s now been renamed to “Black Lives Matter Plaza.” Tea was expensive, excessive, and extremely elegant served impeccably in a magnificent room to properly attired patrons who politely spoke in hushed tones, a little taste of a bygone era when etiquette and formality were still appreciated.

The St. Regis is now girded with plywood barricades that have been spray painted with curse words. Outside, people routinely set fires and have fights with the police. If I went back, I’m sure some neo-liberal philosopher of the BLM cult will tell me that clotted cream is a microaggression. The tea just isn’t worth it anymore.

Nothing in DC is anymore. Not to me, at least.

The pact we made to live here has broken. What am I paying for?  A defunded police force? More murder? More violence? Do the property taxes I’ve faithfully paid for years not protect the CVS I can see from my bedroom—a building which recently had every window smashed and was looted because of “justice”?  When the metro was lousy, we turned to Uber. When the schools were failing, parents turned to charter schools. When one area turned bleak another neighborhood popped up. But when chaos and destruction permeate, and an exhausted people asking for relief are told their indifference–not violent looters—is the true culprit, then there is no alternative but to leave.

* * * * * * * *

Gay? Black? Trans? No offense, but, so what? We are city people: we have seen it all—literally, all—our entire lives. You are our neighbors, our friends, the president of our HOAs, our coworkers. The great beauty of the city is that we come from all walks of life and we get along.  We accomplish this by leaving each other alone.

That’s why, when DC’s Mayor Bowser spray painted “Black Lives Matter” in front of my tea spot, I knew I was done. Not because of the issue itself or the cause (remember I don’t really care) but because through her actions, Browser effectively mandated empathy. This was government-sanctioned compassion. The mayor used taxpayer dollars—the one’s I’ve forked over for years—to force her beliefs on me. And, just like that, the pact was broken.

Read the whole thing.

BUT IT MIGHT MAKE #ORANGEMANBAD LOOK GOOD: The Key to Defeating COVID-19 Already Exists. We Need to Start Using It.

As professor of epidemiology at Yale School of Public Health, I have authored over 300 peer-reviewed publications and currently hold senior positions on the editorial boards of several leading journals. I am usually accustomed to advocating for positions within the mainstream of medicine, so have been flummoxed to find that, in the midst of a crisis, I am fighting for a treatment that the data fully support but which, for reasons having nothing to do with a correct understanding of the science, has been pushed to the sidelines. As a result, tens of thousands of patients with COVID-19 are dying unnecessarily. Fortunately, the situation can be reversed easily and quickly.

I am referring, of course, to the medication hydroxychloroquine. When this inexpensive oral medication is given very early in the course of illness, before the virus has had time to multiply beyond control, it has shown to be highly effective, especially when given in combination with the antibiotics azithromycin or doxycycline and the nutritional supplement zinc. . . .

Why has hydroxychloroquine been disregarded?

First, as all know, the medication has become highly politicized. For many, it is viewed as a marker of political identity, on both sides of the political spectrum. Nobody needs me to remind them that this is not how medicine should proceed. We must judge this medication strictly on the science. When doctors graduate from medical school, they formally promise to make the health and life of the patient their first consideration, without biases of race, religion, nationality, social standing—or political affiliation. Lives must come first.

Second, the drug has not been used properly in many studies. Hydroxychloroquine has shown major success when used early in high-risk people but, as one would expect for an antiviral, much less success when used late in the disease course. Even so, it has demonstrated significant benefit in large hospital studies in Michigan and New York City when started within the first 24 to 48 hours after admission. . . .

In the future, I believe this misbegotten episode regarding hydroxychloroquine will be studied by sociologists of medicine as a classic example of how extra-scientific factors overrode clear-cut medical evidence. But for now, reality demands a clear, scientific eye on the evidence and where it points. For the sake of high-risk patients, for the sake of our parents and grandparents, for the sake of the unemployed, for our economy and for our polity, especially those disproportionally affected, we must start treating immediately.

Read the whole thing.

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: Children of a lesser pod.

As New York City schools grapple with how to handle a virus that has an under 1 percent infection rate in children, parenting boards frequented by the educated, monied-but-not-so-monied-as-to-send-their-kids-to-private-school set, are forming ‘pods’. A ‘pod’ will be a small group of children, usually no more than five, who will meet at each other’s homes in lieu of traditional schooling in September. You, and four other families in your same tax bracket, will hire a teacher to educate the five children in the pod. Parenting boards are overwhelmed with requests for these tutors. The families will agree to only interact with each other: an absurd and impossible promise that will surely be broken.

We’re in a time where there is a ‘right’ opinion on everything, and every other opinion is stupid and likely racist. The right opinion right now is that it would be just crazy to open schools in New York City in the fall. This is despite the fact that every other country is opening schools and New York’s governor is on a prolonged victory tour on late night television for his celebrated handling of the COVID crisis…which resulted in the death of 32,000 New Yorkers.

If you’re a parent who is pushing to open schools, well, you don’t care about the lives of teachers. Those sending their kids to private schools which plan to open must love their kids less than the podders. Pods have become the only acceptable way to educate your children this fall.

The idea that moving a group of children from house to house, and bringing in a commuting educator who is theoretically isolating herself from others in the name of teaching the group, is somehow seen as safer than just sending the kids to a traditional classroom, is a testament to how much science and reason have ceased to matter.

Read the whole thing.

Earlier:

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: Why This Revolution Isn’t Like the ’60s.

Corporations are no longer seen as evil, but as woke contributors to the revolution. The military is no longer smeared as warmongering, but praised as a government employment service where race, class and gender agendas can be green-lighted without messy legislative debate. Unlike the 1960s, there are essentially no conservatives in Hollywood, on campuses or in government bureaucracies.

So the war no longer pits radicals against conservatives, but often socialists and anarchists against both liberals and conservatives.

In the ’60s, a huge “silent majority” finally had enough, elected Richard Nixon and slowed down the revolution by jailing its criminals, absorbing and moderating it. Today, if there is a silent mass of traditionalists and conservatives, they remain in hiding.

If they stay quiet in their veritable mental monasteries and deplore the violence in silence, the revolution will steamroll on. But as in the past, if they finally snap, decide enough is enough and reclaim their country, then even this cultural revolution will sputter out, too.

Read the whole thing.

THE MEDIA AND THE VIRUS: American press coverage of Covid-19 was first dismissive, then alarmist—but always condescending.

It would once have seemed strange for a man in Tedros’s position to adopt the saccharine slogans of protest marches. Just so, it would once have seemed strange for a medical doctor to rate protecting people from racial offense a higher priority than saving lives. That it no longer seems strange is part of the story of the Covid-19 pandemic.

That story is one of compounding failures. During the early stages of the unfolding crisis, the WHO failed to take the coronavirus threat seriously, to question China’s official claims about its outbreak, and to coordinate a global response. In January, February, and early March, while the WHO was still declining to label the coronavirus a pandemic—partly because that label carries, according to Tedros, “significant risk in terms of amplifying unnecessary and unjustified fear and stigma”—the American media were also failing, systemically, to sound the alarm.

As it unfolded in the media, the story of the pandemic was initially that of a nonevent. On January 31, Vox ran a supposedly comprehensive “explainer” about the coronavirus. There was no need for Americans to wear protective face masks, Vox said, and “really no reason to worry.” On Twitter, Vox was still more blunt: “Is this going to be a deadly pandemic? No.” The hectoring tone and sham certitude are Vox specialties. But Vox wasn’t alone in dismissing the virus. USA Today, the Washington Post, Canada’s National Post, and many other outlets treated the Wuhan virus (as it was then known) less as a matter of objective concern than an instance of mass hysteria.

Their cardinal error, in almost every case, was to rely on the WHO, an organization at best egregiously mistaken and at worst politically compromised, carrying water for the Chinese Communist Party and President Xi Jinping.

Read the whole thing. As Glenn likes to say, “Think of the press as a psychological warfare operation against normal Americans and you won’t go far wrong.”

HEATHER MAC DONALD: Four Months of Unprecedented Government Malfeasance.

The coronavirus lockdowns demonstrated our leaders’ ignorance of economic interdependence. After the riots, that ignorance has been shown to run far deeper. It is an ignorance about government’s most fundamental obligation: to safeguard life, liberty, and property. It is an ignorance about human nature and human striving.

Property and capital are not soulless abstractions, easily replaced by an insurance payout, as the rioters and their apologists maintain. (The Massachusetts Attorney General noted that burning is “how forests grow.”) Capital is accumulated effort and innovation, the sum of human achievement and imagination. Its creation is the aim of civilization. But civilization is everywhere and at all times vulnerable to the darkest human impulses. Government exists to rein in those impulses so that individual initiative can flourish. America’s Founders, schooled in a profound philosophical and literary tradition dating back to classical antiquity, understood the fragility of civil peace and the danger of the lustful, vengeful mob.

Our present leaders, the products of a politicized and failing education system, seem to know nothing of those truths. Pulling the country back from the abyss will require a recalling of our civilizational inheritance.

Read the whole thing.

GREAT MOMENT IN COOL, DISPASSIONATE OBJECTIVITY: LA Times Thirsts After ‘Naked Athena.’

‘Later she rolled on her back in a graceful pose, then stood again.’ Was this man taking copious notes or has he been watching a video on repeat?

Read’s piece climaxes with the implicit comparison of this nude woman to Tank Man, the Chinese gentleman who stepped in front of a column of tanks in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square massacre. You might think the latter contained more powerful symbolism, because, if nothing else, it followed a massacre. Somehow, though, admirers of ‘Naked Athena’ cannot see the wood for the trees — or, perhaps, the trees for their wood.

Heh, indeed. Read the whole thing.™

HELL IN PORTLAND: Weeks of government-sanctioned mayhem in the Rose City.

There’s something peculiar going on when indiscriminate attacks on the national government, the only real locomotive that can haul us out of the third-world cloaca we’ve recently fashioned on the streets of our cities, are freely aired because they play to the vindictive public mood. On what could be called the philosophical plain, it’s a stance motivated by moral revulsion at something called systemic racism. At street level, it expresses itself in the nightly sight of hundreds of masked demonstrators, predominantly white and male, collecting in downtown Portland in order to pelt police with rocks and urinate on the steps of the courthouse. Mayor Wheeler has told us how sorry he is about this state of affairs, but at least he can solace himself by decamping to one of his three luxury homes bought with the proceeds of the family timber business and his own career as an executive at the same Bank of America that helped trigger the great economic meltdown of 2008.

Meanwhile, it’s been 56 days of hell, and counting, for America’s Rose City.

Read the whole thing.

THE TRUTH ABOUT THE US-CHINA THUCYDIDES TRAP:

We remember Thucydides as a historian thanks to his documentation of the Peloponnesian War, but we often forget that he was also a philosopher. And like all great philosophers, he has many things to teach us, even if his teaching is inappropriately applied. Thousands of years after the war was fought between Sparta and Athens, observers argued that it showed that an authoritarian government would defeat a democracy. This was widely said in the early stages of World War II and repeated throughout the Cold War. In truth, what Thucydides said about democracies and oppressive regimes was far more sophisticated and complex than a simplistic slogan invoked by defeatists.

Jacek Bartosiak, who wrote of the Thucydides trap for us last week, is never simplistic, but I think he is wrong in some respects. The error is the idea that China is a rising power. He is certainly correct if by rising he means it has surged since Mao Zedong died. But he is implying more: that China is rising to the point that it can even challenge the United States. The argument that the U.S. may overreact is based on this error. The U.S. is choosing to press China hard, but the risk of doing so is low.

Read the whole thing.

JOANNE JACOBS: The learning pod people are here.

When I saw the shift away from reopening schools — too many teachers and parents think it’s unsafe — I predicted a rise in homeschooling co-ops and private tutoring for middle-class and wealthy families. I also predicted educational disaster for the students whose “essential worker” parents are short on time, money and living space.

I didn’t guess that “pod” as in learning pod, pandemic pod and homeschooling pod would be the chosen word.

On Thursday and Friday, writes J Li on Facebook, she saw “thousands of parents . . . scrambling through an absolute explosion of facebook groups, matchups, spreadsheets, etc to . . . form homeschooling pods.”

Read the whole thing.

ORSON WELLES: AMERICAN MAVERICK.

It would be all too easy and lazy to dismiss Orson Welles as a “has-been”—someone who quickly rose to fame and then crashed, disappearing from the public eye. Welles is usually captured in the American imagination as three personalities: a radio broadcaster who delivered the infamous “War of the Worlds” broadcast that scared many people into believing an alien attack was underway in rural New Jersey; a director of the best American film ever made, “Citizen Kane” (1941); and a spokesperson for Paul Masson wine, Japanese whiskey, and frozen peas. Welles’ weight problem, the subject of many jokes (some of which he didn’t mind, as he often made fun of himself), is too often the focus of many critics and people who worked with him. These are all beside the point. They constitute such a small part of who he was that they obscure the big picture.

In many ways, Welles lived thousands of lifetimes in just one life—whether it was in acting or in innovating new cinematic forms. Welles was the founder of what we now call “independent cinema,” even as most so-called “independent filmmakers” are nothing more than the fakers Welles so obviously abhorred. The only other American film director who can authentically claim the mantle of independent filmmaker is John Cassavetes, who, like Welles, hated the phoniness and corruption for which Hollywood was known.

Read the whole thing, but with a few caveats. There’s no doubt that if Welles had been making films in more recent decades, he would have had a far more successful career, thanks to movies being sold to TV, DVD, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, etc. But Welles began filmmaking in a system where the movie had to profitable at the box office, or the director wouldn’t be getting many more shots at bat. Also, the above description of Welles’ many lives jumps from Citizen Kane, to Welles’ last years as a massively dissipated corporate spokesman, it skips past Welles’ period in the 1950s and ‘60s when he completed (most) of his films, and as a result, worked steadily, mostly in Europe.

But by the early 1970s, with the (in retrospect all-too-brief) Easy Riders/Raging Bulls era of “new Hollywood” in full bloom, Welles thought he could return to L.A., and the new studio heads would jump to hire him. It didn’t work out that way, both because the new young Turks running Hollywood were just as leery about hiring Welles as the dinosaurs they replaced, and because Welles, then in his very dissolute mid-50s, was no longer the 24-year old Kane-era whiz kid who declared a film studio was “the best electric train set a boy could own.”

As Kyle Smith accurately wrote of Welles’ “last” movie, The Other Side of the Wind, shot in the early 1970s, but only completed in 2018, and is now available on Netflix, “You’d be better off watching instead the movie about the movie: They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead (the title refers to one of Welles’s mordant self-observations) explores the relentless, almost purposeful squandering of talent that is the Welles tragedy.”

ARE THE SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS THE NEXT TARGET FOR A NAME CHANGE? In the San Francisco Chronicle, Rev. Salvatore J. Cordileone, the archbishop of San Francisco writes:

Symbols are communally created and communally shared. The naming of sports teams is right now carrying this larger symbolic battle. Which places ardent sports fans with a conscience in a real dilemma. Personally, I was horrified when I learned the history of California early in the American era (who wouldn’t be?); nonetheless, I still feel an emotional attachment to the name of our local football team. Which points to a notable quirk of our human nature: It is easy to tell someone else to change the name of their team or place or take down a monument when you are emotionally detached, but when it is personal, all of a sudden it looks and feels very different.

When is it acceptable to retain a name or monument when the historical record is mixed, and when does the reparation of injustice require a change? Does the name “49ers” honor a generation that committed unspeakable crimes against a vulnerable population, or does it refer to a pivotal moment of history that defined the life of our city then and far into the future? Such decisions should be made, not in the wake of acts of vandalism perpetrated by bands of aggrieved citizens, but in the context of reasoned debate based on historical accuracy and the weighing of moral principles.

Read the whole thing.

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: Glenn Loury on Race and Equality:

I don’t know if you saw my piece in Quillette about the looting and the rioting, but I pick up these pieces published in the New York Times, respectable left-wing journals. I’m reading them, and the writer is saying, “America was founded on looting. What did you think the Boston Tea Party was?” Or, “You’re talking about looting when George Floyd lies dead? Oh, I see, black lives don’t matter as much as property.” These are, to my mind, incomprehensibly idiotic. I don’t mean that to cast aspersions. The civilization that we all enjoy rests upon a very fragile foundation. Look. I’m in my backyard. It’s very nice. I’ve got a lot of space. There’s a fence. The birds come. I have a lawn. It’s mine!

Now, if a homeless person comes and squats in my backyard, I call the police. I have him removed, forcibly. There should be no lack of clarity about whether George Floyd’s death somehow excuses or justifies burning a bodega to the ground that a Muslim immigrant spends his whole life building. Being confused about that, equivocating about that, splitting the difference about that—I don’t understand how we’re going to have a reasoned discussion. My thoughts go back to, protect civilization. Again, I know how that sounds. It’s hyperbolic. It’s exaggerated—but only a little! My gut response is that this is not the time for argument. This is the time to protect civilization and protect institutions. When people start toppling statues of Abraham Lincoln and spray-painting on statues of George Washington, “a slave owner,” things fall apart. The center cannot hold. We teeter on the brink of catastrophe.

Read the whole thing.

IT’S ALWAYS IN THE LAST PLACE YOU LOOK: Finally, some good news.

It’s not often these days that there’s good news on two fronts. The nonradical elements in the media are getting restless. And thanks to a band of free market economists, the chances of enacting a cut in the payroll tax that could quickly boost the economy have improved significantly.

Read the whole thing.

 

MINXIN PEI: China’s Deepening Geopolitical Hole.

China is fast losing friends just when it needs them most. In the last few months alone, China’s relations with India have suffered a devastating blow after a bloody border clash left at least 20 Indian soldiers (and an unspecified number of Chinese soldiers) dead. To punish Australia for daring to call for an international investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 coronavirus, China imposed tariffs on Australian barley and threatened other punitive measures. On July 14, China’s foreign ministry denounced Japan’s recent Defense White Paper in unusually harsh language, raising doubts about the rapprochement Xi has been trying to engineer with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Chinese leaders have only themselves to blame for their growing international isolation. With an inflated sense of their power, they have overplayed a weak hand and driven friendly or neutral countries such as the UK, Canada, India, and Australia into the arms of the US, now China’s principal geopolitical adversary.

Read the whole thing.

I wrote here and at VodkaPundit years ago that China’s neighbors in East and South Asia and the Pacific would naturally gravitate towards the US as Beijing’s power grew — but that was an exceptionally easy call.

What was impossible to see ten years ago was that Xi’s haste and ruthlessness would frighten countries as distant from Beijing as the UK and Canada.

GOOD AND HARD: Give the Man What he Wants. “According to news reports, the mayor of Portland wants the feds to ‘leave.’ I think the federal government should oblige him. Hear me out.”

Read the whole thing.

NEVER GO FULL MARXIST*. Smithsonian Goes Full Marxist: Nuclear Family, Science, Christianity All Part of Oppressive ‘Whiteness.’

The Smithsonian presents an infographic attributing cultural trends like the nuclear family, individualism, an emphasis on the scientific method, the Protestant work ethic, English common law, some aspects of capitalism, and Christianity to “whiteness” or “white culture.”

“White dominant culture, or whiteness, refers to the ways white people and their traditions, attitudes and ways of life have been normalized over time and are now considered standard practices in the United States. And since white people still hold most of the institutional power in America, we have all internalized some aspects of white culture — including people of color,” the infographic warns.

According to the infographic, “whiteness” includes cultural aspects like “Rugged Individualism” and the “Family Structure” (including the nuclear family, the husband as the breadwinner, and the wife as homemaker and subordinate to the husband).

An “emphasis on the scientific method” is supposedly part of “whiteness,” including three bullet points: “Objective, rational linear thinking;” “Cause and effect relationships;” and “Quantitative emphasis.”

The Smithsonian claims that white history is “based on Northern European immigrants’ experience in the United States,” with a “heavy focus on the British Empire” and “the primacy of Western (Greek, Roman) and Judeo-Christian tradition.” The “holidays” section notes that holidays are “based on Christian religions” and “white history & male leaders.”

Basic work ethic principles such as “hard work is the key to success” and “work before play” are attributed to the “Protestant Work Ethic.” In the field of religion, the infographic claims that “Christianity is the norm,” that “anything other than Judeo-Christian tradition is foreign” and that there is “no tolerance for deviation from single god concept.”

The infographic also aims to present capitalism in a nefarious light. Under the section “Status, Power & Authority,” it claims that “whiteness” involves values such as “wealth=worth,” “your job is who you are,” “respect authority,” and a “heavy value on ownership of goods, space, property.” The Smithsonian also presents a “future orientation” and “time viewed as a commodity” as aspects of white culture. The infographic also has a section on “competition,” claiming that whiteness urges people to “win at all costs,” and inculcates a “winner/loser dichotomy” and a desire to “master and control nature.”

Read the whole thing.

Click to enlarge.

* For many, many reasons, not least that Marx was a huge flaming racist.

MATT TAIBBI: Year Zero.

It is impossible to disentangle this profoundly negativistic portrait of the American experiment from the admitted context of the 1619 Project: an effort by the nation’s leading elite media organ to explain the Democratic Party’s loss to Trump. Would this have been published if Hillary Clinton had won the White House?

As journalism, 1619 read almost exactly like the paper’s post-mortems on the 2016 election – probably not an accident, since Baquet told us it was conceived identically as an effort to “understand the forces that led to the election of Donald Trump.” In both cases history was reduced to a simplistic showdown between evil racists and oppressed peoples.

The best explanation for these sudden reversals in rhetoric is that Trump broke the brains of America’s educated classes. Like Russian aristocrats who spent the last days of the Tsarist empire flocking to fortune-tellers and mystics, upscale blue-staters have lost themselves lately in quasi-religious tracts like White Fragility, and are lining up to flog themselves for personal and historical sins.

In desperation to help the country atone for their idea of why Trump happened, they’ve engaged in a sort of moon landing of anti-intellectual endeavors, committing a generation of minds to finding a solution to the one thing no thinking person ever considered a problem, i.e. the Enlightenment ideas that led to the American Revolution.

Read the whole thing.

Oh, and speaking of Russian aristocrats just before Year Zero arrived: Woke America Is a Russian Novel.

The metaphysical gap between mid-19th-century Russia and early-21st-century America is narrowing. The parallels between them then and us now, political and social but mostly characterological, are becoming sharper, more unavoidable.

We can reassure ourselves by repeating obvious truths: The United States is not czarist Russia. The present is not the past. History does not repeat itself. But those facts are not immutable laws so much as observations, and even though they are built on solid foundations, those foundations are not impervious to shifting sands. We can go backward. We can descend into a primal state we thought we had escaped forever. That is the lesson of the 20th century.

The similarities between past and present are legion: The coarsening of the culture, our economic woes, our political logjams, the opportunism and fecklessness of our so-called elites, the corruption of our institutions, the ease with which we talk about “revolution” (as in Bernie Sanders’ romanticization of “political revolution”), the anger, the polarization, the anti-Semitism.

But the most important thing is the new characters, who are not that dissimilar to the old ones.

Also well worth a read.

DID THE TIMES PRINT AN URBAN LEGEND?

This week, the Times brings us a story from Methodist Hospital in San Antonio. The headline is: “Texas Hospital Says Man, 30, Died After Attending a ‘Covid Party,’” and what we get is a story with one source.

* * * * * * * *

But, as I read the story originally earlier this week, I realized the details didn’t quite add up. If you believe COVID is a hoax, why would you attend a “Covid Party?” And, in a pandemic for an airborne disease, aren’t all parties potentially COVID parties? Chicken pox parties were aimed at spreading a local infection purposely to younger children who have milder cases. People don’t hold them because they are skeptics. Something doesn’t make sense.

A closer look showed that not only were there no names named, but there was no date or location of the party and no other sources about where and whether it happened. And then there was the curious fact that a dying man’s self-incriminating final words were relayed to the press. Who gave permission for that?

But if you click on the article link now, as I write this, you will find a few paragraphs of hedging added in:

The Times could not independently verify Dr. Appleby’s account. On Monday, the San Antonio health department said its contact tracers did not have any information “that would confirm (or deny)” that such an event had happened there.

In recent days, the hospital distributed video of Dr. Appleby  describing the case , along with a press statement. She did not say when or where the party took place, how many people attended or how long afterward the man was hospitalized with Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. She said she was sharing the story to warn others, especially in Texas, where cases are surging.

These paragraphs were added long after publication. They also indicate where the story originated. The young junior reporter who wrote it isn’t in Texas but sitting at a desk, presumably at home. There is also another additional paragraph saying that the Times tried several times, through the hospital, to contact the dead man’s family.

Read the whole thing.

SOURCE: ‘DOZENS OF INSTANCES OF BULLYING AND HARASSMENT’ AT NEW YORK TIMES. “‘Bari Weiss’s letter was tame,’ a New York Times insider tells me. ‘She could have named names. She could have said, “There are dozens of other instances of bullying and harassment.” Because there are’…As Weiss herself says, her verifiable claims could amount to a costly compensation case for the Times: ‘unlawful discrimination, hostile work environment, and constructive discharge’. The Times’s management may also have breached Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (1964), by failing to protect Weiss from ‘discrimination based on certain specified characteristics’ including ‘race, color, national origin, sex, and religion.’”

Read the whole thing.

RADICAL CHIC: THE GERITOL YEARS. Remembering Joe Biden’s Newest Fan, Angela Davis.

Last night, 76-year-old radical Angela Davis was trending on Twitter due to her endorsement of 77-year-old presidential hopeful Joe Biden. Bravely we go into the future, I guess. While no politician can control who supports them, apparently numerous pundits believe that the Davis endorsement is worthy of celebration (though most also carefully avoided noting her blessing was made on Russian propaganda television).

“Why isn’t Angela Davis asked for commentary on major news channels?” wonders the Washington Post’s Wajahat Ali. Well, I’ve can think of a few reasons.

Read the whole thing.

Earlier: Biden Cites Quote Made Famous By Mao Zedong During Fundraiser.

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON ON PROTESTS AND THE LEFT: Peak Jacobinism?

The Jacobin Left is just now beginning to get edgy.

A few of its appeasers and abettors are becoming embarrassed by some of the outright racists and nihilists of BLM and the Maoists of Antifa — and their wannabe hangers-on who troll the Internet hoping to scalp some minor celebrity.

The woke rich too are worried over talk about substantial wealth, capital-gains, and income taxes, even though they have the resources to navigate around the legislation from their wink-and-nod brethren. Soon, even Hunter Biden and the Clintons could be checking in with their legal teams to see how much it will cost them to get around the Squad’s new tax plan.

The lines are thinning a bit for the guillotine. And the guillotiners are starting to panic as they glimpse faces of a restless mob always starved for something to top last night’s torching. Finally, even looters and arsonists get tired of doing the same old, same old each night. They get bored with the puerile bullhorn chants, the on-spec spray-paint defacement, and the petite fascists among them who hog the megaphones. For the lazy and bored, statue toppling — all of those ropes, those icky pry bars, those heavy sledgehammers, and so much pulling — becomes hard work, especially as the police, camera crews, and fisticuffs thin out on the ground. And the easy bronze and stone prey are now mostly rubble. Now it’s either the big, tough stuff like Mount Rushmore or the crazy targets like Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.

* * * * * * * *

The NFL pulled a Joe Biden VP trick and prematurely promised to play the “black national anthem” at a few games so that all can stand in homage in racial solidarity and then all kneel in disrespect for the subsequent ecumenical national anthem.

Players can wear political insignia to remind incorrect viewers at home about how they are to think correctly. Will extra points be given for great passes and catches by the most woke?

NFL owners can’t yet fathom how they have conjured up a brilliant new way of destroying a 100-year heritage and an inherited huge audience. Is the message of the most non-diverse players to their most diverse fans now to be: “We don’t like your racist country and won’t stand for your toxic anthem, but you owe us to stay tuned for the commercial ads and to come out to the stadium to pay oppressed multimillionaires like us”?

Read the whole thing.

Incidentally, the NFL is now also memory holing the work of an American Indian artist: Wokism Erases Native American Who Designed the Redskins Logo.

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: How Trump Wins.

In truth, he needs to eschew “I” and substitute “we.” A record low percent black unemployment rate? That translated into job seekers having leverage over employers and with it dignity and value. Gas prices falling due to expanded oil production? That means the minimum wage worker can afford her commute. Returning industry? That means more clout, honor, and a good living for an unemployed middle-aged worker in Ohio and Michigan, and less fuel for the Chinese Communist Party.

Tweeting cannot be about the past, but only the present and future. Trolls, washed-up celebrities, know-nothing pampered athletes, and hack leftists don’t deserve mention in the campaign’s final 100 days.

Ignore them all and focus on Restoration, 2021—and how the president has a detailed plan to focus on all classes and races, while reminding us of what we owe the dead and all that they have given us.

Read the whole thing.

BROOKS BROTHERS, R.I.P.:

Local papers report that Brooks Brothers is permanently closing stores all across the country. They may even shut down their three factories in Massachusetts (suits), New York (ties), and North Carolina (shirts). Late on Monday evening, Fox News reported that the company was teetering on the verge of bankruptcy and is looking for a buy-out.

Of course, Brooks can be salvaged. Some investor will pick it up and strip its assets. And yet, for the first time in two centuries, they’ll probably have to surrender their “Made in America” boast. It will be a “Maker and Merchant” no more, but a merchant only.

* * * * * * * *

I’m a third generation Brooks Brothers shopper myself, and I loved the brand more than just about anyone had ever loved it. The salesman I worked with when I was in high school was just a few years older than me, and he became one of my best friends. In fact, he was a groomsman at my wedding. But eventually Signore Del Vecchio’s bungling became too much even for him. He left to start his own custom-clothing business. Speaking to industry veterans, I could see why.

For one, Brooks Brothers did away with commissions for most of their salesmen years ago. The clerks at my local store would make the same hourly wage at the nearby Macy’s, and both stores pay less than Nordstrom. So, when all the experienced salesmen left to find jobs that would allow them to support a family, they were replaced by the kinds of people who are willing to work in retail for minimum wage—namely, students from the local high school. Needless to say, lifelong customers weren’t overconfident in the 16-year-old girls fitting them for $1,500 suits.

Then they started tampering with all the cuts. Their Traditional Fit shirts (the widest) were axed completely, while the Fitzgerald Cut suits—that quintessentially American slim fit—were replaced by a British-style slim called the Regent. Ask anyone who has worked for Brooks in the last ten years and they’ll have stories of customers coming to them with tears in their eyes. “I’ve been shopping at Brooks Brothers since my dad brought me in for my first suit sixty years ago,” they’d say, “but nothing fits anymore. What am I supposed to do?” They’d leave, crestfallen, never to return.

I’m glad to know I’m far from the only guy who has had that exact experience — I was crestfallen last year when I discovered that I couldn’t get traditional cut shirts even at Brooks’ flagship 346 Madison Ave. outlet. Read the whole thing.

JAMES LILEKS: Twinkling’s Canceled, Little Star.

At some point the mob will run out of things to cancel. All the low-hanging fruit will have been plucked to make smoothies for the commune. Wrongthink professors, authors, movies, newspaper columnists — easy enough. After that? Well, if you’re really going to root out systematic systemism, everything has to go. This means someone will eventually be tasked with canceling children’s songs, or recasting them for the new era. Pity the person who has to find the problematic problems in “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”

It’s not that hard.

Read the whole thing.

UYGHUR LIVES MATTER, TOO: Coke, Nike, and Pro-Black Lives Matter Corps are Using Slave Labor.

A factory making shoes for Nike was “equipped with watchtowers, barbed-wire fences and police guard boxes.” Nike Shox were discovered being made in another factory by slave laborers shipped far from home to produce shoes for the sportswear giant. Too far for them to run away.

“We can walk around, but we can’t go back,” one worker said.

The same company that holds up Colin Kaepernick, a millionaire anti-American activist, as an icon of social justice, also profits from an alleged slave labor facility that moved to be closer to “the region’s cotton fields”. The millionaire victims of imaginary racism that Nike wants us to care about are on their billboards while modern day slaves still toil in the cotton fields because their lives don’t matter.

The dirty secret of the big Corporate Left brands is that behind the familiar names and commercials, are huge conglomerates and financial investors who cut costs by outsourcing their production to China. The Americans design and market, but the real work is done by huge Communist enterprises, either owned directly by the state or by oligarchs tied to the Communist leadership, whose names you don’t know.

All this leaves the executives with plenty of time to come up with new social justice initiatives and call the country and the American people whose wealth, future, and hopes they’ve stolen, racists.

Read the whole thing.

NO, IT DIDN’T START WITH TRUMP: Fight Club: Rivalries in the White House form Truman to Trump. While reading Tevi Troy’s excellent history of infighting at the White House, I found myself thinking of John Bolton, the new media darling now that he has turned on Trump. Troy describes how Eisenhower’s secretary of state, John Foster Dulles, alienated Harold Stassen and other foreign-policy colleagues with his unremitting arrogance: 

According to Stassen, “My best summary of Dulles is that he always knew he was absolutely right. Further, he knew that anyone who disagreed with him was, of logical necessity, always wrong. And finally, he could not understand how anyone could dare question the fact that he was always right.” It wasn’t just Stassen who had a problem with the priggish Dulles, though. As Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas once said, “I’m not sure I want to go to heaven. I’m afraid I might meet John Foster Dulles there.” Some U.S. allies had misgivings about Dulles as well. Harold Wilson, a British member of Parliament and future prime minister, once mocked Dulles’s propensity to try to be everywhere all the time: “I heard they are inventing an airplane that can fly without Dulles! They hope soon to get it into production.” Winston Churchill himself once famously mocked Dulles via declension: “Dull, Duller, Dulles.”

Read the whole thing.

 

 

ROB LONG: The Devil Wears Prada: CDC Edition.  

Miranda Priestly: (eyes flash, angry muffle)

Subtitle: “Something funny?”

Andrea: (shrugs, makes equivocating rumbles from behind her mask)

Subtitle: “No, no, nothing. Y’know, it’s just that both those antiviral caftan hoods look exactly the same to me. Y’know, I’m still learning about all this stuff.”

Miranda Priestly: (short angry bark)

Subtitle: “This ‘stuff’?”

The room freezes. Terrified assistants, eyes darting in terror.

Miranda Priestly: (a series of muffled words and noises conveying contained rage)

Subtitle: “Oh . . . okay. I see. You think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select, oh, I don’t know, that drab blue mask, for instance, because you’re trying to tell the world that you take yourself and COVID-19 too seriously to care about what you put on your face to hold the droplets in. But what you don’t know is that that mask is not just blue, it’s not turquoise, it’s not lapis, it’s actually cerulean. And you’re also blithely unaware of the fact that, in 2020, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean face wraps. And then I think it was Yves Saint Laurent . . . wasn’t it? Who showed cerulean military nose plugs?”

Miranda holds up an antivirus caftan.

Miranda Priestly: (a soft aside muffle to an assistant)

Subtitle: “I think we need some nose plugs here.”

Heh. Read the whole thing.

WHY I SIGNED THE HARPER’S LETTER:

In 1996, the late great Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami was on stage taking questions at the Lincoln Center in New York City after the premiere of his film Through the Olive Trees, when someone asked why he had used classical music (a piece from Concerto for Oboe and Strings by Domenico Cimarosa) in a movie that was set in a small village in northern Iran? Kiarostami turned to me, his translator for the hour, and said, in his soft voice and even softer manner, “Tell him classical music has long ceased to belong to the West. It belongs to the world now.”

That exchange, the way Kiarostami disabused the audience of the notion that music knew borders or that great ideas, once invented, remained the “property” of one nation or region, was on my mind when I signed the “Letter on Justice and Open Debate,” which ran in Harper’s Magazine last Tuesday. What I saw at the heart of the text was a defense of American democracy, which no longer belongs solely to America. For every activist on the streets of Hong Kong, every feminist in the prisons of Saudi Arabia, and every interned Uighur in China, America and its democracy remain, for better or worse, the last hope. Are they naïve and misguided? Right or wrong? It does not matter. Those who are suffering under tyrannies around the world, who are trying to imagine a different future for themselves and their fellow citizens, do not dream of Moscow, Beijing, or any nation in Europe. Just as little girls in the far corners of the world who do not even speak English want to dance like Beyoncé, and just as the youth living under prohibition in the Middle East huddle together to secretly watch bootlegged copies of Hollywood films, activists everywhere look to America, and dream of this democracy.

Read the whole thing.

A CORONAVIRUS CHART THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA DOESN’T WANT YOU TO SEE. “Does Axios consider the United States to have lost the war on H1N1? I’m asking for a friend.”

Read the whole thing.

NEW YORK TIMES PRAISES ‘CANCEL CULTURE’ BUT SKIPS OVER ITS OWN RACIST HISTORY:

The drive-by attack on the Rushmore presidents was part of its cancel-culture agenda.

Yet the Times has never applied to its own history the standards it uses to demonize others. If it did, reporters there would learn that the Ochs-Sulzberger family that has owned and run the paper for 125 years has a “complicated legacy” of its own.

That legacy includes Confederates in the closet — men and at least one woman who supported the South and slavery during the Civil War. In fact, Times patriarch Adolph S. Ochs contributed money to the very Stone Mountain project and other Confederate memorials the Times now finds so objectionable.

To be clear, I detest the Times’ determination to judge and revise history using criteria conceived 20 minutes ago. The paper’s Marxist-inspired activism and race-based fetish have taken it so far off course that it no longer functions as an actual newspaper.

Read the whole thing.

ESPN REPORTER’S “FU” EMAIL ILLUSTRATES FAR LEFT SPORTS MEDIA HYPOCRISY:

So let’s just play a little thought experiment here. What if the email had been sent by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, aka AOC, who raised the exact same issues about the NBA’s response to Hong Kong protesters? And what if Woj had immediately responded, “Fuck you,” to her?

There’s a good chance he would have been fired.

You know it, I know it, everyone reading this column right now knows it.

I’m not advocating for firing anyone for an email that expresses their true opinions. Never have, never will. The same should hold true for Tweets, Instagram and Facebook posts, you name it. We have to stop canceling people just because we disagree with what they say. Cancel culture, which has been wielded as a weapon by the far left wing in this country for years, is not healthy for our country, period.

But the reason why Woj felt like he could respond to Senator Hawley’s office like he did is because in 2016 ESPN employees donated 100x as much money to Hillary Clinton as to Donald Trump. He knows he can say whatever he wants to a Republican and there will be no consequences.

Zero.

Read the whole thing. Incidentally, Hawley’s reply to Wojnarowski’s “apology” was perfect:

He knows that thanks to parent company Disney, ESPN is only going to report on the NBA being beholden to China in the politest of language:

Earlier: Josh Hawley vs. the NBA.

KATHY SHAIDLE ON I SHOT ANDY WARHOL.

Had she pursued, say, stand-up comedy, [Valerie] Solanas might have tempered in a crucible of criticism and feedback, positive and negative.

Sand down her edges and she could easily be mistaken for another misanthropic lesbian who was embraced by Warhol ten years later: Essayist Fran Lebowitz.

Heck, maybe even our Florence — Miss King.

It’s fairly easy to imagine both women saying something like Solanas did in a 1977 interview, ten years before her death:

“I consider it immoral that I missed. I should have done target practice.”

Regular readers know I’m somewhat obsessed with the notion that “ideas have consequences.” We can at least be grateful that Valerie Solanas has merely inspired a good movie, some mediocre art and the name of a music group, rather than murderous copycats who might not have missed.

Although, as 2020 more and more resembles 1968 but with worse music, I’m obliged to add a prophylactic “yet.”

Read the whole thing.

CULT PROGRAMMING IN SEATTLE:

Last month, the City of Seattle’s Office of Civil Rights sent an email inviting “white City employees” to attend a training session on “Interrupting Internalized Racial Superiority and Whiteness,” a program designed to help white workers examine their “complicity in the system of white supremacy” and “interrupt racism in ways that are accountable to Black, Indigenous and People of Color.” Hoping to learn more, I submitted a public records request for all documentation related to the training. The results are disturbing.

At the beginning of the session, the trainers explain that white people have internalized a sense of racial superiority, which has made them unable to access their “humanity” and caused “harm and violence” to people of color. The trainers claim that “individualism,” “perfectionism,” “intellectualization,” and “objectivity” are all vestiges of this internalized racial oppression and must be abandoned in favor of social-justice principles. In conceptual terms, the city frames the discussion around the idea that black Americans are reducible to the essential quality of “blackness” and white Americans are reducible to the essential quality of “whiteness”—that is, the new metaphysics of good and evil.

Read the whole thing.

Earlier: Joe Rogan interviews James Lindsay on the religious similarities of retroactive cancelling and wokeness (video):

The whole interview is here if you have the time.

AMERICA HELD HOSTAGE: This is how the Left campaigns to remove President Trump.

Things we thought were sacrosanct, the icons of our national identity, now are scorned. We can pretend that this doesn’t matter. They’re just statues, after all. But they do matter. Not for the pleasure they give the rioters so much as for the pain they inflict on patriots who love America.

Nor has it stopped with the vandalism. We’ve gone to the next level, with the looting and rioting. In the last month major cities have become unsafe, as rioters work out the logic of what “resistance” means. American stores lost hundreds of millions of dollars, and merchants boarded up their stores for protection. Nothing to see here, folks, said the liberal media, which gaslighted the looting and the boarded-up storefronts, and portrayed the riots as peaceful protests against an illegitimate president.

And that’s how to understand what is happening. We’re not to object to the riots because the bigger issue is defeating Trump. Nothing much else matters, and if an Antifa mob attacks a federal court building in Portland, don’t call this a riot. Say rather that it’s a campaign event, led by the good guys.

We’re in the middle of a chicken game, where the Left tells us they’ll let this go on as long as Trump is president. The liberal media will ignore the riots, the liberal mayors will tell the local police to stand down, the liberal prosecutors will promptly release anyone arrested. Try to defend yourself, and you’ll find yourself prosecuted.

The message is: this is what you’ll get, America, if you reelect Trump. Elect our guy, and the madness will stop, pronto. A Democratic president would forcefully suppress the riots without a peep from the press. But until then we’re held hostage.

They don’t even need a candidate. They can run Biden from his basement.

Read the whole thing.

(Via Ace.)

DEFUND THE EDUCATION APPARAT? Kurt Schlichter: This is a great opportunity to destroy Academia. “Now, the only thing really keeping academia attached to the body politic like the institutional deer tick that it is was the widespread and baseless belief that our universities are somehow our culture’s crucial repositories of knowledge and learning. But it’s kind of hard to argue that when it belches forth graduates who decide to show that black lives matter by toppling statues of Abe Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.”

Plus:

This decision to use academia’s institutional credibility as a cultural chamber pot comes at just the wrong time. Video and computer technology was already making the old giant lecture hall model obsolete even before the bat soup flu. You get the same level of loving personal attention staring at a iPad in your house as you do staring at the TA 100 yards away from you in a behemoth lecture hall, and you don’t have to breath in either the viruses or the scent of old Pabst wafting off of the unwashed bodies of your fellow students.

And adding insult to insult is the idea that you have to pay upwards of $50,000 or more a year for the “college experience.” The Porsche experience is nice, but most people still choose the Chevy experience. You get there either way – just the latter way you aren’t impoverished for the rest of your life.

Of course, because it’s the Ivy League – that same institution that brought us the Wall Street collapse, Iraq, and a society where the nonsense scribbled down in White Fragility is not immediately laughed out of polite company – we have now Harvard demanding full tuition for the 2020-2021 academic year conducted completely by video learning. It’s basically a public confession that the whole point of the place is getting admitted – as long as at the end of a few years you get a diploma reading “HARVARD,” who cares what goes on during them?

Over-priced, inefficient, and not merely useless but actively detrimental to society – yeah, I’m sold on academia as currently constituted. So, let’s take this opportunity to burst this societal pimple. . . .

This is our chance to undo one of America’s biggest mistakes in the last century, allowing academia to metastasize into the societal tumor that it has become. Technology and economics were already gut-punching this flabby punk before both the double-strike combo of the pangolin pandemic panic and the woke insurrection revealed that not only did the emperor have no clothes but he wasn’t packing much to speak of besides.

Read the whole thing.

Related, seen on Facebook:

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: Academics Seek to Retract Study Disproving Racist Police Shootings After Conservative Cites It.

study finding that police shootings are not racist may be retracted because it was cited by a conservative in the Wall Street Journal.

On June 2, Heather MacDonald, a conservative legal scholar, discussed the study in a widely-read Wall Street Journal column, “The Myth of Systemic Police Racism.”

That publicity resulted in an enormous backlash against the academics who conducted and discussed the study, by progressive academics angry about its conclusions.

The first casualty of the backlash was Stephen Hsu, the vice president for research at Michigan State University. He was forced to resign because he publicly discussed the study, as The College Fix notes in the article “Scholar forced to resign over study that found police shootings not biased against blacks.”

Read the whole thing.

JON CALDARA: The woke mob’s ‘Reign of Terror’ moment.

During the French Revolution’s “Reign of Terror,” those accused of not being true enough to the cause were publicly beheaded. To unify the Communist Party in Russia, the Stalinist purges did much the same. Mao used the equivalent tactic with his Cultural Revolution.

It’s a tried and true technique.

People who didn’t want to get swept up in these eradications learned quickly to not just embrace the political philosophies championed by the new power structure, but to chant the new mantras louder than the person next to them. This way they can show they’ve always been on the winner’s team, and hopefully not be beheaded.

Take three minutes and watch “Crying for Kim Jong-il” on YouTube to witness this life-saving phenomenon. North Koreans take turns in front of the Great Leader’s monument to wail and bellow in grief over his recent death, each louder and more hysterical than the last. It’s a competition to see who acts the most hurt over his demise.

Looked very much like the city of Boulder when Jerry Garcia died.

Of course, this competition of staged sorrow was to prove how faithful one is to those in charge. They aren’t crying over Kim’s death. They’re crying to save their own lives. And who can blame them?

Is corporate America’s public self-flogging over Black Lives Matter all that different?

Read the whole thing.

One last thought: If you’re looking for a single word for all the various progressive, woke, and Marxist groups running rampant right now, it’s “Jacobins.”

ROSS IZARD: Kids won big in school choice ruling. “Last week, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a landmark ruling invalidating the use of state constitutional “Blaine Amendments” to bar faith-based schools from participating in K-12 scholarship programs. That ruling removes the largest legal impediment to private school choice in three dozen states and throws open the doors of opportunity for millions of students nationwide.”

Read the whole thing, which focuses on a yearslong legal battle over schooling here in Colorado.

Parents, I’d add, seem more than ready to take advantage of the new opportunities.

BIAS BY OMISSION: Selective Media Reporting Further Fuels Our Racial Divide.

On Saturday, a man drove his car onto a Seattle freeway that had been closed by a Black Lives Matter crowd. The driver killed one person and seriously injured another after going the wrong way up a ramp and then around a barricade. Reports noted that police “don’t believe impairment was a factor.” Over the weekend, news outlets replayed the brutal hit, but there’s one thing you won’t learn from their coverage: The driver was black and his victims were white.

NPR linked this attack to other car-ramming incidents by “right-wing extremists targeting Black Lives Matter protesters.” They quote a researcher about how these right-wingers were “trying to intimidate the most recent wave of BLM protesters, to stop their movement.”

The driver was a Seattle local named Dawit Kelete. But you’ll find scant mention of the driver’s ethnicity in mainstream media coverage. You might have more easily learned that Kelete was black by going to the Australia Broadcasting Corporation. The American national media also doesn’t note that Kelete’s two victims were white. You can find that out over at the U.K.’s Daily Mail.

Read the whole thing.

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: The Fragility of the Woke.

Federal authorities are currently searching thousands of videos to ferret out looters, arsonists and assailants. Perpetrators who are caught are shocked that the evidence that they once posted online in triumphant braggadocio is now being used to charge them with felonies.

What is going on?

Black Lives Matter, antifa and their large numbers of imitators and loosely organized wannabes are mostly made up of middle-class youth, often either students or graduates. They deem themselves the brains of the rioting, the most woke of the demonstrators, the most sophisticated of the iconoclasts. In truth, they are also the most paranoid about being charged or being hurt.

What explains the passive-aggressive nature of these protesters and rioters?

Read the whole thing.

SO, KAEPERNICK LIED:

Back in our cheery, prelapsarian days—2016, to be exact—a young and photogenic NFL quarterback named Colin Kaepernick chose to express his patriotism by kneeling whenever the National Anthem was played before football games. He kneeled, you see, merely to protest police mistreatment of African Americans. And we knew that Kaepernick actually loved America because he told us so. “I’m not anti-America,” he said. “I love America…. I think having these conversations helps everybody have a better understanding of where everybody is coming from.”

And everyone bought it.

Or at least pretended to to gaslight the right. Read the whole thing.

MICHAEL WALSH: America Should Shed the Mask of Zorro.

What began as an admonition, “Two Weeks to Flatten the Curve,” has since morphed into a semi-permanent series of lockdowns, issued in direct violation of the Constitution, especially by various petty tyrants in states like California, New York, and Illinois—the bluest of the left-wing “blue” states.

Dire warnings, and even police action, against Americans who chose not to take a knee before arbitrary tyranny were quickly forgotten, however, when the death of a criminal in Minneapolis police custody, however occasioned, was seized upon by the institutional Left as the pretext for widespread riots and other civil disorder in order to affect the outcome of this fall’s election.

Right on cue, the media temporarily abandoned its self-appointed roles as hall monitors against the kind of traditional Americans they despise and switched to their preferred mode as cheerleaders for “progressivism” of any kind. As the cities went up in flames, statues were ripped down, and hordes of rage-filled protesters filled the streets, shoulder-to-shoulder against “systemic racism,” the New York Times, CNN, and the like cared not one whit about the “social distancing” they were insisting upon just a few days earlier.

Indeed, a recent Times story summed up the media’s hypocrisy: “Public health experts decried the anti-lockdown protests last spring as dangerous gatherings in a pandemic. Health experts seem less comfortable doing so now that the marches are against racism.”

How about that!

“I certainly condemned the anti-lockdown protests at the time, and I’m not condemning the protests now, and I struggle with that,” said an epidemiologist at the University of Texas in Houston. “I have a hard time articulating why that is OK.”

The reason should be obvious: your attitude toward the pandemic is directly related to your politics at this divisive moment, and all principles are to be forged accordingly.

Read the whole thing.

IT’S DEJA BARRY ALL OVER AGAIN:

As Mark Steyn, quoting one of his readers, paraphrased the stump speeches of Biden’s soon-to-be-boss in 2008, “My friends, we live in the greatest nation in the history of the world. I hope you’ll join with me as we try to change it.”

I thought this was so cute, I posted it on the Web at National Review. Whereupon one of those Internetty-type things happened, and three links and a Google search later the line was being attributed not to my correspondent but to Sen. Obama, and a few weeks after that I started getting e-mails from reporters from Florida to Oregon, asking if I could recall at which campaign stop the senator, in fact, uttered these words. And I’d patiently write back and explain that they’re John Gross’ words, and that not even Barack would be dumb enough to say such a thing in public. Yet last week his demand in his victory speech that we “come together to remake this great nation” came awful close.

Speaking personally, I don’t want to remake America. I’m an immigrant, and one reason I came here is because most of the rest of the Western world remade itself along the lines Sen. Obama has in mind. This is pretty much the end of the line for me. If he remakes America, there’s nowhere for me to go – although presumably once he’s lowered sea levels around the planet there should be a few new atolls popping up here and there.

What will Biden’s version of “fundamental transformation” look like? Since Biden has signed off on his support for the Green New Deal (so much for his posing as the moderate among the candidates), Bryan Preston wrote after one the Democrats’ presidential debates last year, “If you like Venezuela, voting for any of them will bring you a whole lot of Venezuela. Thank you, CNN, just for letting these people talk. Do it again next week? Please?”

In other news from the Biden front: Tammy Duckworth is having a moment. The Illinois senator passes the ‘do no harm’ VP test with flying colors.

Well, at least she did until the Independence Day weekend: Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) refuses to rule out tearing down statues of George Washington. (Like John Kerry, another military vet who embraced radical chic, Duckworth is forgainst the idea: Wait Until 2020 Tammy Duckworth Hears What 2015 Tammy Duckworth Thought About Mount Rushmore.)

 

BRYAN PRESTON: Do We Still Hold These Truths to Be Self-Evident?

Taking the words of the Declaration together with the preamble to Constitution and Douglass rightly saw the ideas that would inevitably end slavery, as long as the republic endured long enough to see it. In 1852, as now, this was not ironclad. So, to the free man, the Fourth of July represented his guarantee. To those still enslaved, the Fourth of July represented hope of freedom to come. Frederick Douglass’ experience led him to see this more clearly than anyone else of his age and probably anyone since or now.

The storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake Douglass spoke of came, in the form of a destructive civil war. America paid in blood and treasure as it never had before, and slavery was ended. Douglass lived through it as one of abolitionism’s most ardent, eloquent, passionate, and heard spokesman. He had risen from slavery to become a friend of presidents, as a citizen, though not yet in full. Few have the power of oration without experience, and Douglass had experienced it all. He had lived under unjust law. He had broken that law. And he also respected and served the higher law, the Constitution, which he respected as a means of reaching understanding and offering hope. He was a true American on July 4, 1852, more true than many others.

On July 4, 2020, people as yet unknown damaged and toppled the statue of Frederick Douglass in Rochester that marks his moment and his speech. The damage was so extensive that it will probably have to be replaced.

Read the whole thing.

THE ALL-AMERICAN GLORY OF YACHT ROCK:

America’s truly sublime musical innovation is Yacht Rock. Savor the wit of that oxymoron: How hard can you rock if you’re on a yacht? The boat itself rocks like a baby, not like Led Zeppelin. So Yacht Rock is gentle, but it can’t be sad. There is no moping on a yacht. If you want to be glum and wear black, get off the boat and go find a jazz club. Not that anyone would ever invite you on their yacht in the first place.

The essence of a Yacht Rock song (my Spotify playlist is here) is that you can picture it being blasted on the deck of a yar and saucy watercraft circa 1981. Girls in cut-off shorts and bikini tops toss their arms in the air and say, “Whoo!” while the owner and host — a guy named Brad or Chad or Gary, who struck it rich with, say, a string of Camaro dealerships and is himself a sort of Camaro in human form — high-fives the guests, bites his lower lip, and moves a little off the beat, occasionally interjecting, “Awesome, man!” Brad or Chad or Gary drinks only the classy beers such as Lowenbrau or Michelob and has a cooler stocked with colorful wine coolers for the girls. Only his one very special lady will be present later when he opens up a perfectly chilled bottle of Aste Spumante. His captain’s chair is made of rich Corinthian leather.

Splash on some Paco Rabanne, pop the collar on your Vinyard Vines polo shirt, and read the whole thing.

HOWIE CARR: Time for cancel culture to ditch the Kennedys.

If Abraham Lincoln and Christopher Columbus no longer pass woke muster in Boston, then it’s time for the Kennedys to go.

And everything with their names plastered on it — the JFK Library and JFK federal building, his statue at the State House, the Kennedy School of Government across the river, the Rose Kennedy Greenway, the Edward M. Kennedy Whatever They Call It, etc.

Everything must go!

Profiles in Courage? The Kennedys were more like Profiles in Caucasity, as that woke Harvard gal said this week before she too got canceled.

Read the whole thing.

When cancel culture comes for FDR, will the New Deal also be cancelled as well?

Related: Ross Douthat on The Ghost of Woodrow Wilson: Just as “Jefferson’s memorial wasn’t built to celebrate his slaveholding, [Princeton’s] Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs wasn’t named for Wilson to honor him for being a segregationist…the school will remain his school, whatever name gets slapped upon it, so long as it pursues the projects of enlightened progressive administration and global superpowerdom. Obviously there are people, right and left, who would prefer that one or both of those projects be abandoned. But they aren’t likely to be running the renamed school. Instead, it will continue to be run by 21st-century Wilsonians — who will now act as if their worldview sprang from nowhere, that its progenitor did not exist, effectively repudiating their benefactor while accepting his inheritance.”

THE NEOLIBERAL COUNTER-REVOLUTION:

America is not in the middle of a revolution — it is a reactionary putsch. About four years ago, the sort of people who had acquired position and influence as a result of globalization were turfed out of power for the first time in decades. They watched in horror as voters across the world chose Brexit, Donald Trump and other populist and conservative-nationalist options.

This deposition explains the storm of unrest battering American cities from coast to coast and making waves in Europe as well. The storm’s ferocity — the looting, the mobs, the mass lawlessness, the zealous iconoclasm, the deranged slogans like #DefundPolice — terrifies ordinary Americans. Many conservatives, especially, believe they are facing a revolution targeting the very foundations of American order.

But when national institutions bow (or kneel) to the street fighters’ demands, it should tell us that something else is going on. We aren’t dealing with a Maoist or Marxist revolt, even if some protagonists spout hard-leftish rhetoric. Rather, what’s playing out is a counter-revolution of the neoliberal class — academe, media, large corporations, ‘experts’, Big Tech — against the nationalist revolution launched in 2016. The supposed insurgents and the elites are marching in the streets together, taking the knee together.

Read the whole thing.

NY TIMES TECH JOURNALIST COMPLAINS ABOUT ONLINE ATTACK, OMITS THAT THE COMMENT WAS A PARAPHRASE OF HER OWN WORDS: 

There’s just one problem. Taylor Lorenz strategically cut off [angel investor Balaji Srinivasan’s] tweet so you can’t see what he was responding to. Here’s his original tweet, including the part Lorenz left out. Notice where he pulled this language from.

As you can see, Srinivasan was paraphrasing what Taylor Lorenz tweeted about a woman CEO named Steph Korey. Korey was making some critical remarks about “younger reporters” while also saying that “the overwhelming majority of journalists are dedicated and wonderful truth seekers.” And for that, Lorenz lashed out at her. So if Srinivasan’s tweet seemed harsh, he was really just turning Lorenz’ own words back on her.

* * * * * * * *

If you want the latest drama straight from the YouTube influencer world, you know where to get it. But if you want a straight recounting of why someone is saying mean things about Taylor Lorenz on Twitter, her Twitter feed may not be the bet place to get the full story.

In more ways than one. (Oh and read the whole thing.) Initially, I wasn’t able to get Srinivasan’s tweets to load, unless I opened up a browser in private viewing mode. Hopefully that was just a temporary Twitter glitch, but this earlier incident in which Twitter tilted the playing field in defense of MSM-DNC journalists does not instill confidence: Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Defends Twitter’s #LearntoCode Purges.

EXCELLENT CHOICE! “Here are a few examples of hypothetical human beings making voluntary selections from The Great Menu of Life. Let’s see how the left and right would respond:”

“I am a teenager without much spending money. The neighborhood drug kingpin has offered me $500/week plus all the weed I want to be a lookout to warn him about the cops. Just think of all the fun I could have with $500/week! I have decided to work for him.”

Democrat: “Excellent choice! What could possibly go wrong there? In fact, because of all the prison sentences doled out to black drug dealers over the years, all drugs should be immediately legalized and black people alone should able to sell them. Of course, then the kingpin wouldn’t need a lookout, but this young man could have a sales territory instead.”

Trump voter: “That is NOT an excellent choice. You will probably either be killed by a rival gang or someone in your own ‘hood angling for your job. Or, since heroin is unlikely to be legalized any time soon, you will eventually become what Obama termed a ‘Justice-Involved Youth.’ What normal humans refer to as a ‘felon.’ Stay in school. Learn a useful skill. Stay away from crime! You will eventually earn much more than $500/week.”

Read the whole thing.

ROGER SIMON: Celebrate the Fourth Under the New Blitz.

Dr. Anthony Fauci—a Deep State functionary par excellence for decades—became a literal temporary dictator of our national life over the last few months, in part by decrying this drug.

But enough of him. On to what is the biggest lie, the grandest disinformation, being promulgated across our land for July 4, 2020—America is a racist country!

All I can say is [expletive deleted].

How about balderdash?

This is The Big Lie in extremis and, like so many of its ilk, the reverse is true. America—as most of us know but are loathe to admit in public these days—is the least racist, most multi-cultural country in history, one that lost roughly a half million of its citizens in the fight against slavery and then enacted all kinds of legislation against racism, also giving preferences to minorities that endure to this day and have changed the nature of our businesses, educational system, politics, media, and entertainment.

Read the whole thing.

AMID A PANDEMIC, THE WOKE-IST MEDIA ARE EXPERIENCING A PSYCHOTIC BREAK:

This is not normal behavior from our press. This is a mental breakdown in the works. People of the future will look at all this and wonder how on earth these stories made it into print.

The best thing that can happen now for the news industry is for the pandemic to pass, the lockdowns to lift, and for everyone to go outside and get some fresh air. Because the way nearly everyone in the press is behaving now, it seems clear that cabin fever has set in hard, and it is an epidemic we may not shake as quickly as the coronavirus.

Read the whole thing.

JON CALDERA: Cancel culture feeling its oats; stop feeding it.

What happened to those liberals who were appalled by book-burnings and McCarthy-era blacklisting?

They are now silent as the Cancel Culture feeds on an orgy of being perpetually offended and demanding destruction of all that is an affront to the new enlightened sensibilities.

There is a direct line from the years of our complacent acceptance of college speech codes, cancelling conservative speakers on campus, de-platforming conservative voices online, the PC police language enforcement in media, schools and entertainment to the wide-spread intolerance violently playing out on our streets today.

The progressives who run the institutions that form our culture (media, entertainment and education) have instilled the value that if you find something offensive or hurtful it is your duty to rip it down, stifle it, berate it until it is wiped away.

The golden, classical liberal value of tolerance has turned into the progressive mandate for re-education.

Read the whole thing.

BETSY MCCAUGHEY: How the Swamp mucked up America’s coronavirus response.

In a pandemic, government efficiency can make the difference between life and death. You would expect our civil “servants” to rise to the occasion. Some are. But the Government Accountability Office, a federal watchdog, is sounding the alarm that for the most part, Washington bureaucrats are dithering while Americans die.

In a report released this week, the GAO details dozens of dangerous failings in one government department after another — failings that needlessly put you and your loved ones at risk.

Read the whole, depressing thing.

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE. Jonathan Turley: Was the University of Massachusetts Nursing Dean Fired After Saying “Everyone’s Life Matters?”  The response from the university “suggests that there were other reasons for the termination but, if the letter posted from Dr. Neal-Boylan is accurate, she was not aware of what those reasons might be.  If she is unaware of those allegations, this would be a rather Orwellian position where the university protects her privacy by refusing to confirm the basis for her termination even to herself.  I was hoping that the University would at least say that she was given those reasons and an opportunity to defend herself.  Instead, the university did not deny the allegation that Dr. Neal-Boylan was denied the opportunity to respond and contest any allegations. The problem with the response is it leaves even more questions.”

Read the whole thing.

KURT SCHLICHTER: Stop Making Sense.

It’s time for us to riot, not in the streets, because we have jobs and we’re not going to destroy our own stuff, but at the ballot box. That’s where we lay waste to their Venezuelan dreams. In the primaries, vote for woke conservatives, not establishment saps. And then in November, vote straight Republican down the ballot.

Sure, much of the GOP consists of spineless saps eager to join Mitt Romney – father of the Miracle Whip box set of sons Tagg, Tugg, Togg, Skip, Skoop, Skup, Freen, Ween, and Peen – in donning the latex and gimping out for the pleasure of their WaPo masters. But the nice thing about those cowardly sissies is that we can ensure they are more afraid of us than of the leftists they yearn to obey. We can fire them, and then they’ll have to get real jobs. This prospect scares them even more than a mean tweet from that desiccated crone Jennifer Rubin.

Finally, step four: Stop making sense. Unless it’s directed at the unwoke, making sense is a waste of your time. This is about power. Time to use yours.

Read the whole thing.

JIM TREACHER: DC Socialite Throws Party, Spreads Coronavirus.

The virus doesn’t care how rich [Ashley Taylor Bronczek] is, or who her friends are, or how much money she raised for the ballet, or anything else. It’s a virus. It spreads. That’s what viruses do.

I hope Bronczek and her party guests recover, and I hope they didn’t spread it to too many other people. The same thing goes for all the people out there in the streets right now, risking the virus because #BlackLivesMatter more than keeping Grandma safe does. That’s all I can do: hope.

And if and when my hopes are dashed, I can rest assured that the whole thing will be my fault.

Read the whole thing.

MY LATEST FOR THE PJMEDIA MOTHERSHIP: Two Americas: Risk-Tolerant vs Zero-Risk — Will One Ruin the Other?

There really are two Americas: The Risk-Tolerant America, and Zero-Risk America.

Before we get to that, however, I’m afraid I have some very good news for you: Americans are catching the Wuhan virus at record rates.

Now, if you’re a card-carrying member of Zero-Risk America, your panties just spontaneously wadded. Those of us who live in Risk Tolerant America — and if you’re a regular VodkaPundit or PJMedia reader, I’m guessing that includes you — understand that this is very good news indeed.

Still, some details would be helpful in order to explain our Two Americas.

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

THE LEFT-WING CRACKUP: Should a white member of the moral elite get rich off of this scam?

A couple of weeks ago, street protesters broke all the windows in a coffee shop that I frequent. Normally, I’d get angry about an act of senseless violence like this, but the media tells me that those vandals are good people fighting for a righteous cause, so I’m trying to keep it in that perspective. Perhaps it’s even the owner’s fault for not putting up a “Black Lives Matter” sign in the window like so many other small businesses here in Richmond have, although I suspect it’s more of a prophylactic measure than true expression of solidarity. It’s very confusing. It looks to me like the Left has lost its mind, resembling a cult more than a political movement, with its disciples repeating stock phrases like robots.

The message I get repeatedly from the people in charge of our current cultural revolution, and the media that complies with its rhetoric and actions, is that they’re the moral elite, and we can’t question them. So when the mob tore down a statue of George Washington in Portland, they explained that it’s because he was a slave owner, and therefore justified. Don’t bother arguing that he was the founder of the nation, because the United States, according to the progessive moral elite, is nothing to celebrate. It’s a failed, white supremacist state conceived in slavery and beyond redemption. The only solution is to tear it down and rebuild it from the ground up, which is what BLM espouses. Liberals voicing their approval for the BLM movement should keep this in mind. If they get their way, you’re not going to like it.

Read the whole thing.

Related!

The Sorbonne meets Conquest’s Third Law of Politics: “The simplest way to explain the behavior of any bureaucratic organization is to assume that it is controlled by a cabal of its enemies.”

WOW, AN ACTUAL RECOGNITION OF REALITY: “It’s not coincidental that two weeks after demonstrations happen here in Miami-Dade County, a lot by young people, that we’ve had this spike.”

Not only did the demonstrations spread the disease themselves, authorities’ toleration — and even encouragement of and participation in them — convinced people that the whole social-distancing thing was unnecessary, and maybe even a fraud. Maybe that wasn’t the intended message, but it was the one that was received, and that was entirely predictable.

RADICAL CHIC: THE GERITOL YEARS. Roger Kimball: America’s current straits represent the victory of 1960s radicals.

America’s cultural revolution, launched in the late 1960s and never quite stopped, has always been a Janus-faced phenomenon. One face was the Boomers’ euphoric hedonism and disregard for the moral guardrails of tradition and authority — the “revolution” of easy sex and relentlessly bad taste that now defines our aesthetics and cultural arrangements.

The other face was dour and vicious, masking a raw hunger for power under a preening moralism. This side of the revolution could be detected in many countercultural phenomena, not least the juvenile activism and noisy readiness for ­violence that were such conspicuous features of the age.

Today, the revolution is presenting this second face to a complacent America.

In the late ’60s and ’70s, hundreds of bombs were detonated as various radical groups carried out their campaign against “Amerika.” According to The Los Angeles Times, “in California alone, 20 ­explosions a week rocked the state during the summer of 1970.’’

How many will we see in the summer of 2020? Not so long ago, the vicious radicalism of the 1960s seemed behind us. Now it seems to have come roaring back.

Read the whole thing.

CHARLES LIPSON: Three Ideas to End the Rot on College Campuses. “It’s not just that a careless word can cost your job, it’s that people tremble in fear that they might say the wrong word.”

Very Sovietesque.

More:

What’s wrong with this rigid groupthink? First, it takes real problems, such as police misconduct or Confederate statues, and inflates them for political purposes. It vastly exaggerates their extent and gravity, mistakenly generalizes them (Ulysses Grant is not Stonewall Jackson), ignores significant progress in correcting old errors, calls any disagreement “racist,” and relies on intimidation and sometimes violence, not democratic procedures, to get their way. The loudest voices say America and its history are fundamentally evil, that its institutions need to be smashed so they can be reestablished on “socially just” foundations. The mob and their fellow travelers will determine what is just. Who gives them that right? This arrogation of power and attack on public order will not end well.

The second problem is that America’s major institutions have been overwhelmed by these demands and have bowed down to them. Public trust has eroded in all America’s major institutions since the late 1960s. We now see the supine results. Instead of standing up to this swelling irrationalism and intimidation, they have appeased it—and sometimes embraced it. Predictably, appeasement has only fueled more extreme demands.

The rot began in America’s universities before spreading to mass media, cultural magazines, philanthropies, museums, and corporations. More and more parents are concerned that it now suffuses K-12 education. They don’t want a Pollyanna history, but neither do they want their children indoctrinated with a grim, doctrinaire view that America is an evil nation, incapable of reforming its own defects.

Universities have led this parade of self-flagellation. One reason is that so many administrators and professors agree with the mob demands.

Read the whole thing.

MAGICAL THINKING, IN OTHER WORDS: Woke censorship is basically a superstitious cult.

The woke shamans are defining and enforcing a new symbology. They insist that their spiritual sense is better attuned than anyone else’s and will try to excommunicate anyone who says otherwise. Their work may seem shockingly new, but it is really a throwback to ages past — ones that no advanced society should want to revisit.

Read the whole thing.