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J. CHRISTIAN ADAMS: President Trump Starts to Drain the Swamp, Yanks Liu.

Trump has now learned the details of what is going on inside one Justice Department office, the D.C. United States Attorney’s office.  He also learned details about people who accepted appointments in his administration and took their jobs while holding their noses.

This was the week that Trump got his sea-legs. He campaigned on draining the swamp, and he has learned how subtle and how sophisticated the swamp is.

Read the whole thing.

CAN’T HELP LOVIN’ THAT IMAM OF MINE: Germany Can’t Stop Loving Iran.

For example: the historical dimension. Germany and Iran have been allied since the beginning of the last century; a relationship that began because Iran (then called Persia) required foreign technical support for the development of infrastructure and industry. Persian leaders could have turned to other European countries for assistance but distrusted the imperial powers of Great Britain and France, and so looked to Germany. Germany needed Persia because it was the only country rich in raw materials but as of yet “unclaimed” in the 19th-century struggle for colonies among Europe’s “great powers.” Thus, in the mid-1920s, Germany provided Iran with both the backbone of its industrial infrastructure and the trained personnel needed to run it. Soon the “German work ethic” gained a literally legendary reputation, which was later exploited by Nazi propaganda. Between 1933 and 1941, the Nazi share of Iranian imports rose from 11% to 43%, while the German share of Iranian exports rose from 19% to 47%. Another aspect of the Nazi period, which continues to be important in Iran, was pointed out in 1996 by Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani: “Our relations have always been good. Both [peoples] are of the Aryan race.”

Read the whole thing.

JUST NBC THE BRAVE FIREFIGHTER! NH makes Katy Tur a star:

“Tur also happens to be one one of the more biased journalists out there, using her platform to routinely spin Democratic talking points. Recently, she bemoaned gerrymandering in Senate races, which happens to not be a thing since state lines can not be gerrymandered.”

But wait.

There’s more.

Then in another segment, she said, “”When I ask people if they’re voting for [POTUS], I hear about their 401(k)s a lot … but there are those out that who don’t have a 401(k) and this economy is not really working for them. They can get a car, but it’s a loan that will take 30 years.”

Given my life expectancy and zero percent interest, I want one of those. Too bad they don’t make them.

But she outdid herself when reporting from outside a polling station in New Hampshire when he spotted a man she thought was a Bernie supporter.

Read the whole thing.

 

KEVIN WILLIAMSON: The Left and the Theocrats.

Kim Ghattas, a correspondent for the BBC, gave a remarkably frank interview to her home network about her new book, Black Wave, an account of the Saudi–Iranian rivalry that has warped life and politics in much of the Islamic world.

What struck me about the interview is that the Beirut-born Ghattas is much more plain and direct about the disastrous role played by leftist Western intellectuals — particularly French thinkers such as Michel Foucault, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Simone de Beauvoir—in encouraging and enabling the rise of Ayatollah Khomeini and his repressive model of Islamic government.

It is worth remembering that the Iranian theocracy was a great project of the secular Western Left.

Foucault welcomed Khomeini’s revolution as “the first of the grand insurrections against global systems.” Sartre traveled to Tehran to flack for Khomeini. The French Left celebrated Khomeini as “the Islamic Lenin.” (American conservatives might have said much the same thing, but the French Left meant that as praise.) Andrew Young, Jimmy Carter’s ambassador to the United Nations, hailed Khomeini as a “saint.” Many of those intellectuals stood by their judgment, though some of them, such as Simone de Beauvoir, recoiled from Tehran’s treatment of women and minorities.

Read the whole thing.

Related: Roger Kimball on The perversions of M. Foucault.

THE HOUNDING OF JORDAN PETERSON: The internet has an addiction to hate — and it’s killing us all.

Last week, it was reported that Jordan Peterson, who has been struggling with addiction issues and other health problems, was suicidal, had been near death, and sought treatment in Russia.

The response online was disturbing.

One social media user named Emily Gorcenski tweeted a link to an article with the headline, ‘He nearly died several times,’ alongside her own commentary: ‘Look at how much it sucks to be a bigot when not being a bigot is free,’ adding, ‘We narrowly missed the first case of they pronouns killing someone,’ and ‘Imagine name searching Jordan Peterson, who died when he was crushed by a falling pronoun.’

In other words, she was joking about Peterson’s near-death, conveying that she felt gleeful at the possibility he might suffer and die.

* * * * * * * *

Far too many of us are too comfortable vilifying and dehumanizing those with whom we have disagreements. It is not enough, on social media, to say, ‘Well, I agree with some things she says, but not others.’ Or ‘I think he is wrong.’ Or even, ‘I think this person is painfully stupid.’ If a person doesn’t share our views, only hatred and hyperbole will do, otherwise you aren’t truly serious about your politics.

A friend described it as ‘performative sociopathy’. It shows those you wish to demonstrate allegiance to that you are so committed to your politics, you literally don’t care if those you disagree with live or die.

Read the whole thing.

CHRISTIAN TOTO: Is Liberal Media Finally Fed Up with Woke Hollywood?

Two major outlets shred more than just the Oscars telecast. Are they finally on to the con?

Quick question: name the outlet that wrote the following about Sunday’s Oscars telecast:

What I did mind was a sinking feeling that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, for all its inclusiveness, had wound up excluding more viewers than ever. Couldn’t they have promoted that dual appearance by Steve Martin and Chris Rock? Bang that drum just a little, and another 3 million viewers might have watched. Shouldn’t they have done just a little bit more of what Renée Zellweger attempted when she said something nice about those in the Armed Forces, or Bong when he devotedly quoted Martin Scorsese?

National Review?
The Daily Wire?
American Greatness?

Wrong. Try the far-left Deadline.com.

Read the whole thing.

TITANIA MCGRATH AND THE POLITICS OF WOKENESS: An Interview with Andrew Doyle.

Titania McGrath thinks you’re scum. That is because of how tolerant she is.

In April 2018, Oxford-educated comedian and journalist Andrew Doyle created a satirical Twitter persona, an “activist,” “healer,” and “radical intersectionalist poet” who self-identifies as “selfless and brave.” Titania, an imaginary amalgam of all the worst excesses in the modern social justice movement, fancies herself a voice for minorities of all kinds (whether they know they agree with her or not). What she lacks in self-awareness, she makes up for in conviction.

There are other parody accounts in a vein similar to Titania’s: Jarvis Dupont of the Spectator USA, for example, or Wrightly Willowleaf (who moved to Williamsburg before it was cool). But none of them has achieved Titania’s notoriety, or her reach (418.4K followers). Doyle attributes some of this success to a much-publicized Twitter ban. But that’s perhaps too modest: Titania is a note-perfect creation, as frighteningly accurate as she is screamingly funny. “[Y]ou need to understand that which you are critiquing,” Doyle told me: more than anything, his tweets as Titania demonstrate an incisive grasp of how radical progressivism functions and why woke politics commands such hypnotic power over the 21st-century Western psyche.

Note this comment by Doyle:

S.K. That’s something I’d like to ask you more about: this mode of gaining power. On the one hand you suggested that there might be a strategy behind it, but you’ve also compared it to a kind of religion, as we have done also here at The American Mind. Which would suggest a more unconscious impulse, less than an explicit strategy.

A.D. Yes, that’s the theme of Tom Holland’s last book, Dominion. Holland makes that point that in the absence of Christianity, there’s something instinctive about finding these belief systems. And it does have the same hallmarks: it has the aspect of original sin, the Augustinian concept of original sin which now comes in through whiteness, or being heterosexual—having these immutable characteristics that make you a sinner. And then you’ve got the heresy concept, the idea that anyone who doesn’t think the right things is a heretic who needs to be cancelled, and then you get the metaphor of cancel culture, which is a lot like witch hunting, and burning people at the stake as the Inquisition might have done.

And of course so much of the theorizing behind woke ideas is based on entirely unsubstantiated, faith-based positions. They believe in unconscious bias, and institutional power structures—things that you can’t quantify or put your finger on that just sort of exist in the ether like spirits. And to ask them to prove any of these positions is to simply get the response that well, they do exist because we know they do. Which is what a religious zealot would say.

So I think that certainly the best way to understand the social justice movement is to see it as a cult. Because then it all makes sense, and it also makes sense why they’re able to behave so barbarically toward those who don’t subscribe to their belief system. Because the hallmark of many religions is tolerance to a degree. And then where things start going wrong, where witches start getting burned at the stake and heretics start getting executed is where that tolerance runs out. And I think that’s what happened here: the social justice movement is a fundamentally intolerant movement. And fundamentally illiberal. There’s nothing liberal about it.

Read the whole thing.

ANALYSIS: How Xi Jinping’s “Controlocracy” Lost Control.

When the true scale of the epidemic finally became, Chinese public opinion reflected a predictable mix of anger, anxiety, and despair. People took to the Internet to vent their rage and frustration. But it did not take long for the state to crack down, severely limiting the ability of journalists and concerned citizens to share information about the crisis.

Then, on February 3, after Xi had chaired the Standing Committee’s second meeting on the epidemic, the CPC’s propaganda apparatus was ordered to “guide public opinion and strengthen information control.” In practice, this means that cutting-edge AI and big-data technologies are being used to monitor the entirety of Chinese public opinion online. The controlocracy is now running at full throttle, with facial-, image-, and voice-recognition algorithms being used to anticipate and suppress any potential criticism of the government, and to squelch all “unofficial” information about the epidemic.

On February 7, Li Wenliang, one of the physician-whistleblowers who tried to sound the alarm about the outbreak, died of coronavirus, which unleashed a firestorm on social media. The Chinese public is already commemorating him as a hero and victim who tried to tell the truth. Millions have taken to social media to express their grief, and to demand an apology from the Chinese government and freedom of expression.

For the first time since coming to power, Xi’s high-tech censorship machine is meeting with intense resistance from millions of Chinese Internet users.

Read the whole thing.

JUST IN TIME FOR NEW HAMPSHIRE: Biden 2020: A Pre-Post Mortem. “Perhaps nothing during this primary season will give me greater pleasure than to write Joe Biden’s political obituary, and I might not have to wait long to do it, if recent caucus results, poll numbers, debate performances, and fundraising troubles are anything to go by. My, that’s an awful lot to go by, isn’t it?”

And for our PJMedia/Townhall VIP members: Coronavirus, Xi Jinping, and the Mandate of Heaven.

Xi has kept a low profile during the outbreak, perhaps wanting not to be seen as the symbol of Beijing’s troubles in dealing with it. But in a country where nearly one-third of the people are under some kind of quarantine, a leader has to… well, get out and lead if he’s going to be considered worthy of the title. Perhaps that why Xi just made what’s been a “rare appearance” in recent weeks, today at a Beijing medical center. His face covered in a mask (we’ll get to that momentarily), Xi had his temperature taken and urged “more decisive measures” to combat the virus.

According to Western suckups like Thomas Friedman, Xi’s ability to decisively move his authoritarian government is a big bonus for Getting Stuff Done. When the CCP says “Jump,” the country shouts “How high?” That is, that’s how it looks if you’re a comfy Westerner suffering from a common mental condition known as Authoritarian Envy. The truth of the matter is that the CCP is so thoroughly corrupt that Xi’s decisive measures aren’t measuring up — and some of the most “decisive” are mostly just for show. Business Insider reported today that “China is sending trucks to spray bleach on entire cities as the country struggles to contain the Wuhan coronavirus,” but it’s actually a PR stunt to make people feel like decisive action is being taken. The story notes that “health experts say these public displays of germ-busting are probably not doing much to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, and that the disinfection should instead target specific spots, like emergency rooms, and communal surfaces in hospitals.”

Probably, but the people can’t see that happening on a mass scale. Some of Xi’s most decisive actions look less like the effective handling of a deadly outbreak, and more like hurried construction of Potemkin villages.

The whole thing is just for members, and if you’ve been thinking of joining please use that VODKAPUNDIT promo code for a nice little discount.

ROGER SIMON: Socialized Medicine in the Shadow of Wuhan.

My last argument against socialized medicine is that it is, ironically, much more hierarchical than ours. Despite what Michael Moore might tell you in his thoroughly-dishonest film about Cuban healthcare, socialist countries are the last place you would want to be if sick—that is if you’re not a member of the politburo or at least the nomenklatura.

I was in the Soviet Union twice on cultural exchanges in the late eighties, about the same time as Bernie Sanders’ honeymoon in the same country. (I don’t think we really visited the same place.) Because I was with a group of screenwriters, I was taken to Scriptwriter 1 and 2, two relatively nondescript high-rises inhabited entirely by writers whose work was approved by the state.

Several of them told me they didn’t really wish to live there—too many writers and little contact with the people they were writing about and for. Also, they felt watched. So I asked why they stayed. It was, they told me unanimously, the only building in Moscow with a decent clinic.

Read the whole thing.

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: It’s Never Sunny In Wokeadelphia.

Sunny Singh models how to achieve and maintain power in the current academic hothouse — proclaim one’s own victimhood, accuse anyone you don’t like of racism, sexism, and so forth, and compel everyone else (in her case, a white man!) to fall all over themselves to calm you down. But she does not model virtue, strength, or resilience. With this pathetic display, she showed that she is a weakling and a bully. If you want to learn something about literature, avoid Dr. Singh’s class, is the lesson here. She’s a laughingstock.

Any academic institution constructed on a foundation that privileges people like Sunny Singh is going to fall, and deserve to fall, because it is decadent. If the university were healthy, it would tell its Sunny Singhs to get hold of themselves, and to get back in there and teach the damn class. If the kid doesn’t want to do the reading, and he won’t be persuaded that it is to his benefit, then flunk him, and move on. He doesn’t deserve to be at the university anyway, if that’s his attitude. But like I said, Sunny Singh and that anonymous doofus have a lot in common, in that they see the education process as self-centered and therapeutic.

In academia, the will to power derives from victimhood; for both students, and increasingly, their teachers, apparently. Read the whole thing.

WHY RUSH LIMBAUGH MATTERS: The Era of Limbaugh.

Limbaugh is not fringe. His views fit in the conservative mainstream. He idolizes Buckley. “He was a fundamental individual in helping me to be able to explain what I believed instinctively, helping me to explain it to others,” Limbaugh said last year. The ideas are the same but the salesman is different. Limbaugh is Buckley without the accent, without the Yale credentials, without the sailboat and harpsichord. Limbaugh is a college dropout from Cape Girardeau, Missouri, who spends Sundays watching the NFL and speaks in plain language. His background connects him to the audience—and to the increasingly working-class Republican voter.

Limbaugh entered stage right just as Ronald Reagan made his exit. He took from Reagan the sense that America’s future is bright, that America isn’t broken, just its liberal political, media, and cultural elites. “He rejected Washington elitism and connected directly with the American people who adored him,” Limbaugh said after Reagan’s death. “He didn’t need the press. He didn’t need the press to spin what he was or what he said. He had the ability to connect individually with each American who saw him.” The two men never met.

Limbaugh assumed Reagan’s position as leader of the conservative movement. In a letter sent to Limbaugh after the 1992 election, Reagan wrote, “Now that I’ve retired from active politics, I don’t mind that you have become the Number One voice for conservatism in our Country. I know the liberals call you the most dangerous man in America, but don’t worry about it, they used to say the same thing about me. Keep up the good work. America needs to hear ‘the way things ought to be.'”

Read the whole thing. As Jim Geraghty tweeted earlier this week, Rush was the gateway drug to conservatism for millions of America. During the 1990s, prior to the arrival of the World Wide Web, Fox News, and then the Blogosphere, Rush was also essentially foreshadowing blogging; riffing seemingly effortlessly on both alternative takes on the stories of the day, and stories the DNC-MSM either got wrong or failed to cover. And doing it in a way that flattered those in what coastal elites long ago dubbed “flyover country.” And increasingly far worse — as the late Timesman David Carr said to HBO’s Bill Maher in 2011, “If it’s Kansas, Missouri, no big deal. You know, that’s the dance of the low-sloping foreheads. The middle places, right?”

More from Matthew Continetti at the Washington Free Beacon:

[Limbaugh] mentioned a recent encounter on a golf course. Someone told him it is hard to defend President Trump. “I said, ‘What? Hard to defend the president? It’s one of the easiest things in the world to do.’ President Trump does not need to be defended.” The crowd cheered. A few seconds later Limbaugh said, “How do you defend Donald Trump? You attack the people who are attempting to destroy him. They’re trying to destroy you. They’re trying to transform this country into something that it was not founded to be.”

Indeed. And from Rush himself: What a Week! I’m One of the Luckiest People Alive.

TRUMP WANTED VOTERS TO KNOW WHAT HE STOOD FOR. DEMOCRATS ARE AFRAID VOTERS WILL FIND OUT: Why Democrats Aren’t Naming Names.

Candidate Donald Trump’s decision to provide a list of jurists from which he would appoint his first Supreme Court justice was both a brilliant political stroke and an act in the public interest—two qualities that are rarely combined. For Trump, it created favorable publicity and allowed him to rebut critics who accused him of lacking knowledge or interest in matters of governance, specifically the Supreme Court.

The list also advanced public understanding. The appointment of a Supreme Court justice is one of the President’s most consequential acts, with effects lasting decades into the future. Of course, presidential candidates can and do make vague statements about the kind of justices they will appoint: They promise “strict constructionists” or “judges with empathy.” They may vow to take some current justice on the Court as a model, pledging to appoint justices in the mold of Clarence Thomas or Ruth Bader Ginsburg. But nothing is as informative as an actual list of specific candidates that can be vetted by everyone.

Moreover, a list disciplines the President once in office. After pledging himself to a specific list of judges, he cannot compromise his commitment to a particular constitutional jurisprudence in favor of other calculations, like pleasing a key Senator, gaining an easy confirmation, ensuring the smooth passage of legislation, or just appointing a crony. Some critics said that Trump could not be trusted to choose from his list, but they were proven completely wrong.

Given the demonstrated political advantage and public interest involved in offering a list, it is striking that no candidate for the Democratic nomination has provided one of his or her own—despite the pressure to stand out in a crowded primary. The best explanations show the problems that face Democrats in raising the salience of the Supreme Court in a political campaign—problems which would also create complications for a Democratic president in appointing justices and federal judges.

Read the whole thing.

HOWIE CARR: It’s all bull#*[email protected].

And that sums it up, in four words, the last of which they used to call a “barnyard epithet.” Donald Trump understands exactly how the Democrats have been trying to frame him, first with the Russian hoax, and then with the bogus Ukrainian “impeachment.”

“We were treated unbelievably unfairly, and you have to understand, we first went through Russia, Russia, Russia. It was all bullshit.”

Yeah, I know, it used to be a proscribed word, and now that the president is using it on live TV they’re having vapors over at MS-13, I mean MSNBC. They’re clutching their pearls at CNN, where not so long ago the Democrat stenographers with press passes couldn’t stop quoting the president as privately employing an eight-letter word beginning with “s” to describe certain Third World countries.

Heh. Read the whole thing.

GOOD AND HARD: Seattle’s Liberal Reckoning.

In his searing documentary of last year, “Seattle is Dying,” KOMO-TV’s Eric Johnson painted a dire picture by citing police officers who say the city’s lax enforcement regimen has tied their hands, quoting citizens saying they’re fed up with growing theft, and showing the frustrations of local business owners whose livelihoods are threatened by what they consider official inertia in the face of these problems.

Writing on KOMO’s website, Johnson said his documentary was “about citizens who don’t feel safe taking their families into downtown Seattle….about parents who won’t take their children into public parks they pay for. It’s about filth and degradation all around us. And theft and crime. It’s about people who don’t feel protected anymore, who don’t feel like their voices are being heard.”

Johnson’s documentary was aired in March of last year, some seven months before the Seattle City Council elections. It touched a nerve among many Seattleites and kicked up gale-force winds of controversy throughout the city and beyond. In the end, though, it didn’t have much impact. It will take a lot more civic chaos, dysfunction, and violence for this city to make the connection between that decay and the kind of leadership it so avidly favors. Seattle may or may not be dying, but it is in a far more ominous state of civic health than most of its citizens realize.

Read the whole thing.

JEFF DUNETZ: Grasping Trump’s Deal Of The Century: Why Is This Peace Plan Different From All Others?

Perhaps the most significant and most crucial part of the deal is the economic section, which is also different than previous peace plans. During the announcement, Trump spoke of the $50 billion given to the Palestinians. But it’s more than just dumping money. Previous efforts to provide aid has filled the P.A. leadership’s pockets and done little to help the Palestinian people. This particular plan is more than a money dump. Based on Palestinian acceptance, the U.S. and other nations will help the nascent Palestinian State create an economic infrastructure that will guarantee the jobs and businesses that the territories now lack. For example, there are proposals for creating a technology industry in the expanded Gaza area and a joint tourism effort between Israel and the Palestinians. This effort understands that peace can only come if the Palestinian citizens have jobs and can feed their families. or, as Bubba Clinton’s former campaign manager James Carville was famous for saying, “It’s the economy stupid!”

The Trump “Deal of the Century” has its supporters and detractors, each of whom has taken their positions for the same reason. It’s different from the Middle-East peace plans they have seen before. Will it result in peace? That depends on the Palestinians. Do they have the courage to try and make peace?

Read the whole thing.

JIM GERAGHTY: Iowa’s Democrat Disaster.

This morning, Democrats look exactly like what their critics accuse them of being — a bunch of grandiose dreamers whose ambitions greatly exceed their competence. They can’t handle the basics of running elections in a constitutional Republic, but they fantasize of having far-reaching powers over the daily lives of every American.

* * * * * * * *

If you aren’t all that invested in who won and resent the fact that this state always gets to go first . . . Monday night was hilarious. The party that constantly reminds us how they are the party of science, the party of education and educators, the party that is forward-looking and embraces the power of technology . . . cannot do math when it counts. The party that wants the federal government to take over the health-care system cannot add up numbers from 1,600 precincts. This was Healthcare.gov all over again. Staffers for presidential campaigns raged over the fact that when they called up the state party for answers, party officials hung up on them. One precinct secretary was on hold, trying to report results; called in to CNN, finally got through, and then the party hung up on him live on the air.

Come on, guys. Even the Chinese government is giving some answers about the coronavirus outbreak. Saddam Hussein’s old spokesman “Baghdad Bob” may have lied all the time, but at least he was willing to appear in front of the cameras.

Heh. Read the whole thing.

JAMES LILEKS REVIEWS THE SUPER BOWL ADS:

I can recall several Super Bowl commercials, because they didn’t work, or strained for effect, or seemed to be aimed at someone other than the viewers of the Super Bowl. I mean, I don’t think they sold a hell of a lot of Pop Tarts.

Read the whole thing. Did you have a favorite? An ad that you loathed? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

OLD AND BUSTED? Radical Chic.

The New Hotness? The rise of cancel chic. Liberal journalists are so desperate to be canceled they’ve begun to form secret societies around the theme:

I’d stumbled upon something I hadn’t realized existed: canceled chic. Being canceled — or at least having flirted with a transgression against militantly progressive opinion — gives a media person a certain edge, which leads to another phenomenon: cancel envy. Liberal journalists are so desperate to be canceled they’ve begun to form secret societies around the theme. At these meetings, they compete over who came closest to the ostracization abyss. Nobody wants to fall in, though.

I soon figured out that the other diners also retained cushy bylines in glossy publications despite having sinned. The dinner wasn’t a meeting of minds, more a support group for journalists who’d had a thrilling brush with the thought police.

Each seemed to have arrived at a new identity. They now called themselves ‘centrists’. They’d become Open Minded, Buddha-like, no longer ashamed to plop down a Sam Harris book on the coffee table before guests arrive or admit to having watched a Jordan Peterson video once.

Read the whole thing.

RICHARD FERNANDEZ: A Thousand Ways to Get Sold Out.

Whatever the legal relevance of excluding Hunter Biden’s connection to Burisma Holdings from Donald Trump’s impeachment may be, the saga of a political scion getting a cushy foreign job on the strength of his name plays to the populist narrative of elite betrayal almost as if it had been written by a Hollywood scriptwriter. The 2019-nCoV outbreak poses a potential political threat not just to the Chinese Communist Party but the entire One World project. If virus spreads unchecked, the public will be looking for someone to blame and it won’t just be the Chinese apparatchiks.

Read the whole thing.

 

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: “Western elites are perpetually aggrieved. But the next time they direct their lectures at a particular target, consider the source and motivation of their outrage.”

Read the whole thing.

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Arizona’s education chief may not like vouchers, but she must follow the law.

School Choice Week started off with a bang this year. In Arizona, it was more like an explosion.

This week, reporters revealed that the state Department of Education released the personal information of nearly 7,000 families who use Empowerment Scholarship Accounts. Worse still, they sent it to Save Our Schools, staunch opponents of the program and educational choice in general.

ESAs enable parents, mostly those who have children with special needs, to direct their taxpayer dollars for specialized educational therapies or curriculum. The accounts help bridge the huge financial gap for families requiring customized assistance in the classroom.

The department released a spreadsheet that included the account balances of every ESA account in the state, along with names, email addresses and the grade in which the student is enrolled. Special needs students even had their disability listed.

As Jon Gabriel writes, “This isn’t just a blunder. It’s likely illegal.” Read the whole thing.

RARE SIGN OF SANITY AMIDST THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: Students demanded divestment from fossil fuels, a professor offered to turn off the gas heating.

Two students at St John’s College wrote to Andrew Parker, the principal bursar, this week requesting a meeting to discuss the protesters’ demands, which are that the college “declares a climate emergency and immediately divests from fossil fuels”. They say that the college, the richest in Oxford, has £8 million of its £551 million endowment fund invested in BP and Shell.

Professor Parker responded with a provocative offer. “I am not able to arrange any divestment at short notice,” he wrote. “But I can arrange for the gas central heating in college to be switched off with immediate effect. Please let me know if you support this proposal.”

Heh, indeed. Read the whole thing.

KING BERNIE:

Trump’s emergency declaration was contained to a single issue and a single project. Declaring “climate change” — an amorphous threat that’s perpetually a decade away from destroying us all — a national emergency, however, puts virtually all economic activity under the executive branch’s purview. If we’re to believe media reports, there isn’t a single hardship faced by mankind that isn’t in some dubious way connected to the slight rise of the earth’s temperature. Sanders would empower the same bunch of Malthusian hysterics who have been indefatigably wrong about everything for the past 50 years, to run some of the world’s most powerful bureaucracies.

Obviously, there is only so much a president can do. Some governors would end up ignoring him. Some would challenge him in the courts. But if, as he maintains, climate change is an existential threat to our very existence, why would a President Sanders listen? It is more likely that we end up with the biggest abuse of executive power since FDR treated the country like his personal fiefdom.

Read the whole thing.

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: Don’t Oppress My People With Your Norms Of Punctuality. “From Tulane University, the very heart of White Devil Babylon, student Shahamat Uddin — pronouns ‘he, him, his’ — howls in protest: ‘Punctuality centers whiteness. It is far easier for white men to get to work on time than Black people who are having to change their hair to fit the workplace’s professionalism standards’…Tulane University. Where tuition is a mere $60,000 a year.”

Read the whole thing, which is yet another reminder that the mainstream institutional left is a mirror image of the alt-right.

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: Flipping off rightly-angry parents should be the last straw for New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza.

A shocking video taken at a once-highly regarded middle school in Bayside, Queens, MS 158, showed a 14-year-old girl beating on a younger girl while teachers made limited attempts to stop the brutality. As The Post has ­reported, this wasn’t the first major incident at the middle school in the last year; it came in addition to two instances of alleged sexual assault.

During the town-hall meeting with upset parents, Carranza ­refused to answer their questions, instead taking prescreened ones, until the anger in the room reached a boiling point, and the parents began to openly jeer. Then the chancellor walked out of the room and turned his back on their concerns. He later blasted the mother of the ­assaulted child for “grandstanding.”

I’m not the first to call for his firing, but I hope I’m the last. In June, nine City Council members wrote a letter to de Blasio calling for his ouster.

The tone-deaf mayor’s office shot back, insinuating that the signatories were — what else? — racist for calling for Carranza’s removal.

Read the whole thing.

JAMES LILEKS:  “After a weekend with occasional perusal of the Twitter comments on the Chinese coronavirus situation, it seems two things define commentary on the platform:”

Panic-mongering encouraged with weak stats, dodgy data, apocalyptic speculation, and conspiracy theories

A certain strange, miserable pleasure because something is happening and it makes life interesting.

It’s the last that seems the most depressing.

Read the whole thing.

Related: Environmentalists make good movie villains because they want to make your real life worse.

MARK STEYN ON IMPEACHMENT: Objection: Sad!

This time I’m the one disinclined to follow along. The left, being not terribly imaginative, always accuse you of what they’re doing themselves. So, in this case, President Trump is charged with interfering with the 2020 election by men who have been interfering with the 2016 and 2020 elections for over three-and-a-half years now. Which is why we have the preposterous spectacle of four Democrat presidential candidates preparing to vote to remove from office the guy they’re running against.

This is a joke. I gave up on it when, on the eve of the trial, the laughably named “Government Accountability Office” released its supposedly entirely separate conclusion that Trump had acted “illegally”. Aside from the fact that that “finding” is flat out wrong, I wonder whether the permanent bureaucracy ever thinks, “Gee, maybe we should be a little more subtle about putting our Deep State thumbs on the scale.”

Read the whole thing.

MEANWHILE, OVER AT VODKAPUNDIT: Debunking Trump’s Impeachment with One Simple Thought Experiment.

Let’s pretend that Joe Biden had a different name. No, better: Let’s pretend that Joe Biden had a different letter after his name. Let’s pretend he’s Joe Biden (R), former Vice President under George W. Bush.

In that case, what would the Democrats be doing differently? Literally everything.

Instead of impeaching Trump, they’d be praising him (although perhaps reluctantly) for his non-partisan willingness to look into Republican malfeasance. Adam Schiff would hold months worth of hearings, looking back into the Bush Administration in ways he’d never dare look back into Obama’s. The Democrat-controlled press would be 24/7 Biden! Biden! Biden! Jerry Nadler would have to go back to, I dunno, eating mayonnaise with an ice cream scoop.

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

I have a second column today for PJMedia/Townhall VIP members. Want to know what Hillary Clinton would really say, if she dropped the mask long enough to dish the dirt over a box or two of chardonnay? Here’s your chance: Hillary Clinton: Off the Hook.

And here’s your thrice-weekly reminder that if you’ve been thinking of becoming a VIP member, the VODKAPUNDIT promo code is still good for a nice little discount.

ROGER KIMBALL: Roger Scruton, 1944–2020.

For many years—nay for several decades—Scruton had been treated as a pariah by the confraternity of intellectuals and pseudo-intellectuals whose follies and misadventures he anatomized with unforgivable clarity and penetration. Senior professors wrote to Roger’s publishers demanding that they cease publishing his books. “I may tell you with dismay,” wrote one guardian of the academic cartel, “that many colleagues here [i.e., in Oxford] feel that the Longman imprint—a respected one—has been tarnished by association with Scruton’s work.” Scruton was denied academic preferment, rendered all but unemployable by the university establishment. He was roundly excoriated by the press on both sides of the Atlantic. And for what?

Part of the reason is suggested by the title of one of his books, recently reissued as Fools, Frauds and Firebrands, a brisk and deliciously mordant act of intellectual fumigation that left the work and reputations of a dozen prominent philosophical mountebanks in smoldering ruins. As Scruton put it in Modern Philosophy (1994), his magnum opus, “A writer who says that there are no truths, or that all truth is ‘merely relative,’ is asking you not to believe him. So don’t.” Such impertinence was not to be borne, and the academic establishment did everything it could to ostracize him.

Read the whole thing.

FORMER BILL CLINTON ADVISOR MARK PENN: Democrats Need to End This Partisan Impeachment.

History, it seems, does repeat itself. George Washington’s farewell address about the excesses of partisanship was never truer than today. As America’s only truly independent president, Washington predicted that the growth of factionalism would undermine the execution of our laws and that the “alternate domination” of one party over another would lead to efforts to “exact revenge” and “raise false alarms.”

Let us not forget that the Trump administration suffered through a two-year special counsel investigation based almost entirely on opposition research from the other party, and that this imbroglio stems from the other party believing it had now in turn found information that would turn the political tables. It is all exactly as George Washington foretold.

Read the whole thing.

TROLL LEVEL: WASHINGTON FREE BEACON. CNN Brings on Hard-Hitting White House Correspondent to Join Jim Acosta.

Indeed, Jen [Rubin]. For so many reasons, this is a home-run hire for CNN. It’s almost unfair that the outlet that already boasts Jim Acosta has added this giant of straight-down-the-middle reporting to its roster.

[John] Harwood is a well-sourced veteran of Washington who can appeal to the leading experts for their insights. For instance, on Sept. 21, 2015, Harwood emailed Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta for advice on what to ask Jeb Bush during his interview the following day. Incredible access!

Heh. Read the whole thing.

Earlier:

CNBC Hack John Harwood Is Really, Really Upset That Al-Baghdadi Was Killed.

NYT/CNBC’S John Harwood Advises Hillary Campaign, Gloats About Provoking Trump At Debate.

CNBC’s John Harwood Has No Business Moderating A GOP Presidential Debate.

CNBC Alters Transcript of John Harwood Question About Hillary’s Email.

● “Everyone in the [CNBC] newsroom knows [John Harwood is] extremely far left.”

BLACK PEARL HARBOR HERO TO HAVE CARRIER NAMED FOR HIM:

They usually name aircraft carriers after presidents. But the tradition-bound U.S. Navy will name its next aircraft carrier after a black enlisted man who became one of the first Americans to fight back while the Japanese were attacking Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

Messman Third Class Doris “Dorie” Miller was serving on the battleship West Virginia and was sorting laundry when Japanese planes bombed and torpedoed his ship. Ordered topside to evacuate the captain, who lay mortally wounded, Miller discovered an unmanned .50-caliber Browning anti-aircraft machine gun and fired at the attacking aircraft. He also assisted in getting some of the wounded to safety.

At the time, African Americans were not allowed to fire lethal weapons. In fact, blacks at that time couldn’t serve in any other capacity except in the mess.

Read the whole thing.

THE 1619 PROJECT ON MLK DAY: “One of the many odd things about the New York Times‘s ‘1619 Project’ on slavery is that Martin Luther King Jr is barely mentioned (ditto Frederick Douglass). This omission may not be accidental, since both Douglass and King found sources for the remedy of slavery inside the American founding that today’s left wishes to repudiate completely. It will be a curious thing to see whether and how the 1619 Project appears in any of today’s observances of MLK’s birthday (or whether, in the fullness of time, there will be a push to rename MLK Day for someone or something else).”

Read the whole thing.

ROGER KIMBALL:

First, however, since CNN apparently undertook its cheerleading for Warren in order to declare its feminist bona fides, I would like to pose a few questions as a sort of prolegomenon, what Kierkegaard, in another context, called a “preliminary expectoration.” 1) Why are feminists so unpleasant? 2) Why do they insist on whining instead of getting on with the task at hand? 3) Why do they tend to blame other people for their failures?

I do not propose to answer these questions—I am writing a column, not a book—but I would like to register my suspicion that part of the answer to all three is the dim, imperfectly articulated awareness that feminism’s real complaint is not with men or “the patriarchy” but with reality, with human nature.

To illustrate this, ask yourself questions such as why are there not special programs to recruit more men in engineering programs? Why aren’t grants available to encourage men to study math, or physics, or—when you come right down to it—to study anything? Why do politicians announce to general applause that this year there are more female representatives, or judges, or senators than ever before? Why is it thought to be a badge of virtue to have more women in this profession or that but the same is never claimed for men?

As I say, I am not going to attempt to answer these questions. I just want you to bear them in mind as you contemplate CNN’s quite extraordinary attack on Bernie Sanders after the last presidential debate.

Read the whole thing.

IF CNN CAN’T TAKE PUNCHES, THEY SHOULDN’T BE THROWING THEM: “Martha McSally did everyone a huge favor by calling these clowns out…For decades the left has demonized Fox News and other right wing outlets, the response from the conservative movement in the past has been to say, ‘come on guys, we’re not that bad.’ Well that time is over. There is a new conservative movement and this one doesn’t play that game, this one is ready to punch back just as the good senator from Arizona did Thursday afternoon.”

Read the whole thing.

Related: Seething McSally: Reporters Are ‘In Cahoots With The Democrats.’

Party operatives with bylines, you might say.

THE TYRANNY OF THE MINORITY: Cancel culture is real. It destroys lives, ruins careers, causes suicide and silences reasonable debate.

Read the whole thing.

BETHANY MANDEL: On National Review’s (Several) Disgraceful Swipes at Jews.

Read the whole thing.

RICHARD FERNANDEZ: Global Politics Becomes a House of Noise.

The oceans used to be a fluid coupling that prevented sudden external shocks from being transmitted to domestic politics. The heydays of Hydramatic were coincidentally those of the saying that “politics stops at the water’s edge,” uttered in reference to the bipartisan creation of NATO. But now the gears are fused. As foreign influence grew in Washington, the drive-train stayed clutched in with no more slip at the water’s edge. The enabling ideology for this was “multiculturalism” and a naive globalism, supposedly good for all, but which transmits the shocks directly to the political engine and may in time destroy it. It’s already led to Crossfire Hurricane, an impeachment, and on the return stroke what may be an equivalent investigation of Obama and/or his security staff. It won’t end there. There’ll be many more investigations and impeachments and no way to decouple from external forces.

Read the whole thing.

ROGER SIMON: Time to Cancel the ‘Cancel Culture.’

Ellen DeGeneres was nearly canceled for hobnobbing with George W. Bush.

The latest target of this despicable trend is the actor Vincent Vaughn who was caught (on video, no less) chatting and shaking hands (!) with President Trump and his wife Melania at a football game.

A man named (sorry, I never heard of him before) Timothy Burke wrote on Twitter “I’m very sorry to have to share this video with you. All of it, every part of it.”

The usual Twitter madness transpired with much back and forth, most attempting to cancel Vaughan. I doubt the actor cared, at least I hope not. He’s a gifted man with a great sense of humor.

But note Burke’s use of the word “sorry”— and mine. Neither of us are. We’re lying.

Read the whole thing.

TIM BLAIR: Controlled burning could have protected Australia.

Heed the warning from NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service Central West area manager Fiona Buchanan, in April last year: ‘We are getting the message out there that removing firewood, including deadwood and fallen trees, is not permitted in national parks. We want people to know the rules around firewood collection…it’s important people are aware that on-the-spot fines apply but also very large fines can be handed out by the courts.’

She wasn’t bluffing. A man had earlier been fined $30,000 ($20,000 US) for illegally collecting firewood in the Murrumbidgee Valley National Park. Why? Because, as Buchanan explained: ‘Many ground-dwelling animals and threatened species use tree hollows for nesting, so when fallen trees and deadwood is taken illegally, it destroys their habitat. This fallen timber is part of these animals’ natural ecosystem.’

Those natural ecosystems are now, across thousands of hectares of national parks in New South Wales, nothing but cinders and ash. Enjoy your protected habitat, little ground-dwellers.

Needless to say, read the whole thing.

NEW YORK SUN: Nancy Pelosi’s Catch-22.

The first thing for the Senate to do when it takes up the war powers resolution just passed by the House is to give it a proper name. The Sun proposes the “Enemy Emboldenment Act of 2020.” For the resolution is designed to ensure that the Supreme Leader of Iran and his camarilla are not under any misapprehension that the Democrats support our GIs or their constitutional commander-in-chief.

One can see the Democrats’ logic. If the enemy thought that the Democrats and Republicans were united in respect of the war, the Iranians might decide to retreat. That, in turn, could have the deleterious effect of interfering with our election by creating the impression that President Trump was winning the war. In other words, there’s a real possibility that an Iranian retreat could throw the election to the GOP.

This is evident from the text of the Enemy Emboldenment Act, which contains a lot of palaver designed to obscure its purpose.

Read the whole thing.

NEO ON SUSAN HENNESSEY: Caught in the Crossfire Crossfire.

Yeah, Susan, sure thing. But when you use “crossfire” to refer to the actual, literal shooting down of an airplane you’re not using the word that way. You’re just not, and the fact that you’re trying to make it seem as though you were only makes it even more clear how disingenuous you are being. This situation involved no firing from two points in which the line of fire crossed, nor one in which the forces of the sides met or clashed, and it most certainly was not the rapid or heated exchange of words.

Read the whole thing.

 

ROD DREHER: Sir Roger Scruton Is Dead. Dreher quotes this passage from Scruton:

The witch-hunting hysteria has returned with a vengeance, not in Eastern Europe but here, where open enquiry and the presumption of innocence have been, until this moment, the foundation of moral order and the guarantee of civil peace.

Even the Divinity School at Cambridge, which once bravely helped us in offering degrees to our students, has joined in the witch-hunt, revoking a fellowship offered to the conservative thinker Jordan Peterson in response to a petition littered with the signatures of ignorant snowflakes.

And when, just a few months ago, I was summarily removed as the (unpaid) head of a Government quango – Building Better, Building Beautiful – for things I had neither thought nor said, my Czech colleagues said: ‘Yes, it is starting again.’ And by ‘it’ they really did mean It.

Now in Britain, as then in Czechoslovakia, the true intellectual is a dissident, and if our national memory is to survive, it will be because we have succeeded in building here, as once we built there, an underground university devoted to knowledge.

Read the whole thing.

Related: More from Steve Hayward of Power Line who adds, “I could go on all day about Sir Roger, but for now at least I’ll sign off with perhaps my favorite short quote from him: ‘A writer who says that there are no truths, or that all truth is ‘merely relative,’ is asking you not to believe him. So don’t.’”

JOHN NOLTE’S 1917 REVIEW: Technically Dazzling, Emotionally Lacking.

The movie’s central conceit is that it’s supposed to look like it was filmed in a single take, a single shot (two, actually). There’s good reason behind this. The idea, I assume, is that this approach will make we the viewers feel like the third man on the mission. And in a few scenes this works, especially a shocking turning point at a deserted farm.

Overall, though, with the camera whopping and swooping, sometimes self-consciously (but nowhere near as self-consciously as that dreadful Oscar-winner Birdman), it feels like we lose something, primarily any sense of intimacy with the characters.

Close-ups were invented for a reason, and when the camera behaves like a voyeur instead of a lover, or the attempt to hold that single tracking shot is so strained you can’t help but notice, it takes you out of the movie. Sometimes in frustration. There’s a scene in a dark basement that lacks the intimacy and longing director Sam Mendes is obviously going for. The potential was all there. It’s poignantly written and performed. Unfortunately, the gimmick keeps us at arm’s length.

Part of the problem might be mine. While I never read reviews before seeing a film, I can’t avoid the hype, and 1917 is a critically-acclaimed frontrunner for Best Picture. For this reason I walked in assuming I was about to see something along the lines of All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) or Paths of Glory (1957), two World War I masterpieces you can never quite shake.

Performance-wise and technically, 1917 beats the band. The problem is the lack of an undertow. Beyond War is a terrible and obscene waste of young lives, 1917 doesn’t have much to say. Near the end, by way of Benedict Cumberbatch, who has a small role, this is unnecessarily spoken out loud.

Read the whole thing, which jibes with my take. As I wrote on Christmas Day, after seeing it on a Texas-sized movie screen in Dallas, 1917 is certainly worth seeing in a theater for the full impact of Mendes’ bravura stunt effect of a “non-edited single camera film,” (actually loads of edits brilliantly disguised through digital trickery) but don’t look for much of a message beyond “war, what is good for?”

Related: Salon writer would recommend 1917 but is uncomfortable doing so when Donald Trump is president. “Keep in mind: This is the same site that published a piece on how the Hallmark Channel’s Christmas movies were ‘fascist propaganda.’”

RICHARD FERNANDEZ: WWIII Didn’t Happen, But Something Else Did.

The NYT has obtained video of the SAM hit this week that allows us to visualize what took place. “A small explosion occurred when a missile hit the plane, but the plane did not explode, the video showed. The jet continued flying for several minutes and turned back toward the airport … before it exploded and crashed quickly, other videos verified by The Times showed.” That small explosion probably represented the effect of a continuous rod warhead that blew out a circular pattern of steel which riddled the fuselage, punctured the fuel cells and smashed the engine like a giant Ginsu in the sky. The pilot apparently tried to return the plane, its systems cut in half, to the airport before the blaze ignited the main tanks, but he could not.

That is what it must have been like for U.S. troops when EFP fragments came through the vehicle side. A similar sort of hell overtook countless civilians who’ve perished in the long low-intensity conflict. Soleimani killed thousands upon thousands, both Americans and others over the years. But secret war is never real until you put a face to it. Soleimani was the man, the Islamic Republic was the regime that no one was supposed to anger lest they turn their baleful glare on us instead of passing by to kill someone else.

Read the whole thing.

PUNCHING BACK TWICE AS HARD: NY Times Slapped With $5M Lawsuit For Citing SPLC, Branding Immigration Hawk a ‘White Nationalist.’

Read the whole thing.

ZHOU ENLAI GETS HIS ANSWER: As Jonah Goldberg writes, Gabriel Matzneff Flap is a Cautionary Tale for Cultural Aristocrats:

Matzneff, now 83, spent decades as a French literary darling. His work was supported by leading newspapers and literary publications. He’d appear on highbrow TV shows where he’d regale interviewers and audiences with the sublime pleasures of having sex with children in France and on sex tours of southeast Asia.

His overdue comeuppance is the result of a memoir by one of his victims, Vanessa Springora, who was seduced by a then-50-something Matzneff when she was 14.

“He was not a good man,” Springora writes. “He was in fact what we’re taught to dread since childhood: an ogre.”

In his book Under 16 Years Old, Matzneff writes, “To sleep with a child, it’s a holy experience, a baptismal event, a sacred adventure.” The book was first published in 1974 but was republished, apparently with no controversy, in 2005. In 2013, Metznaff received a major French literary prize.

How could a country that prides itself on being so enlightened celebrate an ogre? After all, we’re not talking about a Jeffrey Epstein, as horrible as he was. The well-connected billionaire spent vast sums to keep his sexual abuses at least somewhat secret. Matzneff not only confessed to his crimes, his confessions were celebrated as literary contributions.

The answer stems in part from the fact that Matzneff was a “Child of ’68” — i.e., a product of the left-wing “May 68” movement that shook France in the 1960s. These radicals subscribed to the idea that anything smacking of traditionalism or bourgeois morality was backward. Conventional sexual morality was part of the same rotten edifice as imperialism and racism. True liberation meant freedom not just from, say, capitalism, but also from the old-fashioned view that sex with kids was wrong. “It’s forbidden to forbid” was a rallying cry.

Much more from Rod Dreher, who quotes from “An American writer who lives in France, and is married to a French woman, tweeted about this story, ‘what my wife tried to explain to me about the crazy era in france producing the idea that children should be “liberated” to have sex with adults, was that the people arguing for this were the *wokest of the woke*. Sartre, Foucault, et al believed they were being *progressive*.’ and notes how such thinking filtered its way into everything from “the Catholic Church in Belgium [which] sponsored a working group to try to destigmatize pedophilia in society,” to rock stars in the ‘70s and ‘80s, to Woody Allen’s 1979 film Manhattan (his last big hit in America for years), to today’s child drag queens:

I wrote here about Desmond Is Amazing, the New York 11 year old who has become the toast of the town, appearing on mainstream shows like Good Morning America and Today to spread the “inspiring” and “trailblazing” (seriously, their words) news of the sexualization of children for the cause of LGBT liberation. Progressive allies shriek that there’s nothing sexual about child drag queens, that it’s only about expressing femininity. I think some of them actually believe that b.s. That image above, with which I lead this column, is taken from Desmond’s Instagram feed. It is an image of him dancing for money at a Brooklyn gay bar. Yeah, you tell me that this is not about sexualizing little boys.

I want you to think about how those gatekeepers of mainstream cultural respectability, the network morning shows, are normalizing this filth as a sign of one’s progressive bona fides. Today and Good Morning America are shilling for the sexualization of children, and calling it progress. Is it really all that hard to see how French culture went berserk about child sexual exploitation from 1968 until pretty much today? And how we Americans, while not as extreme, have our own shame on that front?

Read the whole thing. In 1972, during his meeting with President Nixon, Chinese premier Zhou Enlai was famously misquoted that he thought that it was “Too early to say” what the results of the French Revolution of 1789 were. According to W. Joseph Campbell at his Media Myth Alert blog, Zhou thought he was being asked about the 1968 revolution in France. That answer is now in.

HOW DARE YOU! Greta Thunberg Is a Joke:

Joan of Arc became Veruca Salt.

Ricky Gervais (a lifelong lefty) saw the opportunity at the Golden Globes Sunday when he smacked the audience and the tiny Nordic doom-monger with a classic double punchline: “You know nothing about the real world,” he told a ballroom full of celebrities. “Most of you spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg.” BBC Scotland ran a skit in which comics playing Thunberg’s parents talk about all of the fun they’ve been having while she’s been away and blanch when she returns. When the BBC starts making fun of Greta Thunberg, it’s like L’Osservatore Romano satirizing the pope.

Meanwhile, Thunberg has become shorthand for environmentally based vapidity, which becomes all the funnier the more clueless earnestness with which it is delivered. After fashion designer Stella McCartney presented Joaquin Phoenix as the new world champion of climate-change activism for committing to (top this!) wearing only one tuxedo during Hollywood awards season, the deluge of mockery that followed on Twitter included lots of collateral comic damage to Thunberg. Personal favorite: the British man who replied, “f*** me. I wore the same undercrackers for over a month before I got some new ones for crimbo [Christmas]. I’m basically a sexy, bald, bloody Greta Thunberg.”

Read the whole thing. As Steve Hayward of Power Line noted a month ago:

The media is so self-unaware that it cannot conceive that the whole St. Greta phenomenon represents the nadir of the climate crusade. After all, if a Nobel Prize and Academy Award for Al Gore didn’t do the trick, what makes anyone think a 16-year old Swedish girl will cause everyone to sit up and say, “Well, I guess I better buy a Prius now!”

I’m still awaiting a media story that discloses the massive and organized PR operation behind St. Greta. You don’t really think she emerged spontaneously? Who pays for the travel of her retinue, for her hotel rooms and meals, and organizing the public events and other moveable feasts where she appears? I suspect she and her parents (reportedly leftist artists and actors of one kind or another) are banking some nice coin on this whole scene.

But afterwards, Mascots of the Anointed have a rough go of it, when their freshness date expires.

MUST-FLEE TV: Read the Trump Derangement Behind ‘Party of Five’ 2.0.

The minds behind the Fox series “Party of Five” didn’t want to revive the show for the usual reasons.

Nostalgia sells, of course, and new versions of “Will & Grace,” “Veronica Mars” and “Roseanne” scored (again) with audiences. Amy Lippman, who created the ’90s hit “Party of Five” with Chris Keyser, told the TV’s Top 5 Podcast that she needed a better reason to bring the story back to primetime TV.

The nation’s immigration crisis, and a hearty case of Trump Derangement, gave her team all the rocket fuel required.

Read the whole thing.

MEANWHILE, OVER AT VODKAPUNDIT: Iran Retaliated, Sort Of: So Now What? “Trump’s attitude seems to be that if the Mullahs want peace, they can have it. If they don’t, he’ll do to the next guy what he did to Suleimani. If last night’s ‘retaliation’ is anything to go by, Tehran seems to be very receptive to Trump all of a sudden. Iran reportedly alerted both Baghdad and Washington, quietly, that an attack was imminent, and then made sure the missiles were badly targeted. Hence, zero casualties. The harmless explosions were mostly for domestic propaganda purposes, so the Mullahs have something to show the people on TV and claim to have killed a jillion infidels with their mighty missiles or whatever. But the whole world knows exactly what they just saw: Tehran backing down after Trump ordered the death of their terror mastermind.”

You’ll want to read the whole thing.

YES: I Faced Soleimani’s Forces; Dems Are Mourning a War Criminal. “As someone who went toe-to-toe with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in Afghanistan, I can assure you that Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani got exactly what he deserved when he perished in a U.S. drone strike. What he certainly doesn’t deserve is praise from Democrat lawmakers who would rather mourn a war criminal than credit President Trump for making the world safer.”

This is a good piece. Read the whole thing.

BRUCE BAWER: What Happened to Howard Stern?

Listening to this balderdash, you’d have thought that Clinton had led a saintly life, that she had been constantly set upon by jealous, corrupt inferiors, and that her career had been a spotless series of legislative and diplomatic triumphs. Buying into the notion of Hillary as a lifelong victim of the patriarchy, Stern seemed to be out to make up, in one interview, for every time he’d ever gotten a stripper to remove her top. One illuminating moment came when Stern praised Howard Zinn, the Communist author of A People’s History of the United States, a shoddy work of propaganda that has, alas, become a perennial best-seller and college text. Every Stern fan knows that Howard’s not big on books, so if he’s actually read Zinn’s opus, it’s likely his chief source of information on American history—a scary thought.

It was a stunning listening experience. When Hillary blamed James Comey (along with “the Russians and Wikileaks”) for her election loss, Stern went along with her, even though Comey had done Hillary a service by choosing not to prosecute her for clear violations of the Espionage Act. When she mentioned her emails, Stern didn’t bring up her private server or her destruction of the emails with BleachBit but instead agreed readily with her baffling claim that the emails had been “misinterpret[ed]”; when she criticized Trump’s “trade battles” and tax breaks, said that Trump was in Putin’s “camp,” and accused Trump fans (and not Antifa) of committing acts of violence around the country—and when she even knocked the booming Trump economy—Stern nodded along. He made no mention of Fusion GPS, the Clinton Foundation, her contorted version of the Benghazi episode, her dubious story about coming under fire in Bosnia, or anything else remotely scandalous in her (or her husband’s) past. Both Hillary and Stern took Joe Biden’s side in the Ukraine controversy and agreed that Trump’s famous phone call with the Ukrainian president had amounted to an “abuse of power.”

The entire interview was a case of kowtowing on an epic scale. Howard Stern, who rose to fame, in considerable part, by zapping fraudulent politicians, had now given one of the most sycophantic interviews of all time to a woman regarded by many as the most duplicitous pol of our era. It was a terrible comedown for a guy who’d earned a reputation for fearless honesty.

Read the whole thing.

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: Pre- and post-citizens.

Americans cherish their citizenship. Yet they have all but lost it. The erosion of the citizen is insidiously accelerating in two quite different directions. It seems as if we are reverting to tribal pre-citizenship, in the manner of clan allegiances in the centuries before the rise of the Greek polis and the seventh-century-B.C. invention of the concept of the citizen (politês). Or perhaps the better comparison is to the fifth-century A.D., when northern nomadic ethnic bands crossed the Rhine and Danube and replaced the multiracially encompassing notion of “civis Romanus sum”—“I am a Roman citizen”—with tribal loyalties to fellow Goths, Huns, or Vandals.

Read the whole thing. As Tom Wolfe wrote in his last novel, “A phrase pops into his head from out of nowhere. ‘Everybody… all of them… it’s back to blood! Religion is dying… but everybody still has to believe in something. It would be intolerable — you couldn’t stand it — to finally have to say to yourself, ‘Why keep pretending? I’m nothing but a random atom inside a supercollider known as the universe.’ But believing in by definition means blindly, irrationally, doesn’t it. So, my people, that leaves only our blood, the bloodlines that course through our very bodies, to unite us. ‘La Raza!’ as the Puerto Ricans cry out. ‘The Race!’ cries the whole world. All people, all people everywhere, have but one last thing on their minds — Back to blood!” All people, everywhere, you have no choice but — Back to blood!”

KEVIN WILLIAMSON: De Blasio’s Domino’s outrage sums up why businesses are fleeing NYC.

In New York, the problem is getting home at night. In much of California, the problem is having a home to go to, with artificial restrictions on building new housing causing runaway inflation in housing prices. In a sense, Bay Area real estate is expensive for the same reason as Times Square pizza on New Year’s Eve: Entry into the marketplace is artificially restricted. There are ways around that, from regulatory reform to more sensible tax policies. Instead, progressives such as San Francisco Mayor London Breed, who calls herself “pro-housing,” impose policies that make it harder to be a developer or a landlord, for instance politically motivated restrictions on the allocation of affordable-housing units. That’s one reason why San Francisco has seen only one new unit of affordable housing built for every nine new low-wage and moderate-wage jobs created since 2016.

Partly that is genuine ignorance — they hate capitalism so much that they never bothered to learn how it works and why. Part of it is the need for political scapegoats — for every disappointment in this vale of tears, there is a cackling Scrooge McDuck swan-diving into a pile of gold doubloons, and he is to blame.

Read the whole thing.

 

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: The Dangers of Elite Groupthink.

The Washington Post recently published a surprising indictment of MSNBC host, Stanford graduate and Rhodes scholar Rachel Maddow.

Post media critic Erik Wemple wrote that Maddow deliberately misled her audience by claiming the now-discredited Steele dossier was largely verifiable — even at a time when there was plenty of evidence that it was mostly bogus.

At the very time Maddow was reassuring viewers that Christopher Steele was believable, populist talk radio and the much-criticized Fox News Channel were insisting that most of Steele’s allegations simply could not be true. Maddow was wrong. Her less degreed critics proved to be right.

Read the whole thing.

Related: ‘I lose my will:’ Rachel Maddow reveals battle with depression in new biography.

The past couple of days may have been particularly difficult for her: MSNBC Distraught U.S. Strike Killed Head of Iranian Quds Force.

ANNALS OF OIKOPHOBIA: Media Continues With Awful Hot Takes About Armed Churchgoers in Texas Shooting. Stephen Kruiser writes:

Almost immediately after it was discovered that several armed churchgoers drew their weapons to stop a gunman at a church in Texas last week, the anti-gun mainstream media types have been trying to tell the public that armed, law-abiding citizens are a bad thing.

The New Year’s Day installment of media malpractice hyperbole arrives courtesy of the nauseatingly leftist USA Today:

That’s quite a well-earned ratio that USA Today received for being “terrified” of everyday Texas parishioners. Read the whole thing.

RIP: Gertrude Himmelfarb, the Historian of Moral Change, Dead at 97. David Brooks writes:

Himmelfarb argued that the Victorians who started the Salvation Army, the various aid societies, and the settlement-house movement worked hard to serve the poor in a disciplined, realistic, sacrificial way, not in a self-indulgent way that would make them feel good but do nothing for those in need. This was the crossroads Himmelfarb always admired. She wrote two books on this transformation of ideas and values, The Idea of Poverty and Poverty and Compassion.

In many of her books and essays, Himmelfarb pits two groups or thinkers against each other, to let us see how contrasting moral ecologies live out in real time. The French Enlightenment versus the Scottish Enlightenment. The optimism of Adam Smith against the pessimism of Thomas Malthus.

One of her greatest essays is “From Clapham to Bloomsbury: A Genealogy of Morals.” First, she shows us the early-19th-century Clapham Sect, a group of evangelical Anglicans who ended the slave trade and fought for decades to reform the prison system. They were morally upright, self-abnegating, adherents to respectable middle-class morality, a little priggish and self-righteous. They were lampooned as “The Saints” in their day.

Bloomsbury was a group of writers and social activists who emerged in the early 20th century, which included people such as Virginia Woolf, John Maynard Keynes, and Lytton Strachey. Bloomsbury was in open revolt against the Victorian morality that Clapham represented. Art was their religion. Rebellion their pose. They slept around and looked down on the masses. “We repudiated entirely customary morals, conventional and traditional wisdom,” Keynes wrote. “We recognized no moral obligation on us, no inner sanction, to conform or to obey. Before heaven we claimed to be our own judge in our own case.”

A society that has moved from Clapham to Bloomsbury has undergone a moral revolution. So has one that has moved from Lionel Trilling to Ken Kesey. So has one that has moved from Dwight Eisenhower to Donald Trump.

Read the whole thing; although Brooks fails to mention his own role on the road from Ike to Trump.

Related: Links to Himmelfarb’s articles at Commentary, and their reviews of her books.

GOOD NEWS ON PHARMA: The 2010s were a decade of drug breakthroughs.

For all the flak the pharmaceutical industry has taken for its exorbitant pricing practices, there’s no getting around the fact that it’s been a pretty stunning decade for medical progress.

Multiple new categories of medicines have moved from dreams and lab benches into the market and people’s lives, and investors who came along for the ride often reaped extraordinary profits. . . .

As 2020 approaches, it’s worth highlighting how far we’ve come in the last decade in developing new therapies and approaches to treating disease, even as politicians grapple with how to rein in healthcare costs without breaking an ecosystem that incentivizes the search for new discoveries.

Read the whole thing, which suggests the 2020s will be better. Faster please!

THE CORBYNIZATION OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY CONTINUES APACE: Anti-Semitism Isn’t Blacks Vs. Jews. Saying So Hurts Us All.

Put simply, if you think that solutions to the violent attacks are sowing division, you are conveying to Orthodox Jews that their safety is inconsequential to you. And perhaps even worse, you are conveying that you believe these attacks are emblematic of the communities from which their individual perpetrators hail, or that those communities would not prefer to be places where Jews aren’t attacked. It’s a view that maligns our neighbors in a way that I have not heard anyone in our communities do, and thankfully so; holding a community responsible for the actions of individual wrongdoers is the definition of racism. And while our community is not free of racism (none is), this language of a conflict between Blacks and Jews is nowhere present in the mainstream Orthodox community. There is nobody I know of who talks about these attacks as part of some more significant conflict. Nobody cares what the ethnicity is of the person who is harassing, beating, or shooting them is. All they want is to be safe.

And yet, these bad-faith actors seem focused on making sure people think it is a conflict between two communities. It is they who seem to be focused on creating greater divisions. At a time when there is a need to build bridges, they are setting them all on fire as though they were in a field of straw men. Speaking ostensibly on behalf of minority communities, these people are saying no to the proposed solution, then shrugging at the problem and suggesting nothing else.

Read the whole thing.

THE MOTHER OF ALL CRISES: The Power of Bad: How the Negativity Effect Rules Us and How We Can Rule It. In our new book, published today, the social psychologist Roy Baumeister and I argue that the greatest problem in public life is what we call the Crisis Crisis: the never-ending series of hyped threats that needlessly alarm and anger the public. It’s a consequence of the negativity effect, also called the negativity bias, which is the universal tendency for bad events and emotions to affect us more strongly than good ones. This effect continually skews our thinking and the decisions we make in our personal relationships, education, religion, business, sports, media and politics.

Why does government keep growing? Drawing on Mancur Olson’s Rise and Decline of Nations and Robert Higgs’ Crisis and Leviathan, we show how the negativity effect is exploited by journalists, politicians, academics, lobbyists  and activists — the merchants of bad, as we call these doomsayers —  to scare people into adopting policies that benefit politicians, bureaucrats and special interests while hurting everyone else. Whether you’re absorbing today’s bad news or contemplating the future of humanity, we suggest starting with three assumptions:

  1. The world will always seem to be in crisis.
  2. The crisis is never as bad it sounds.
  3. The solution could easily make things worse.

The negativity effect isn’t going to disappear — evolution has wired it into our brains — and the merchants of bad won’t voluntarily go out of business. They don’t want us to see how much better things keep getting without their help. But they can be resisted, and the book offers some specific proposals for cutting the profits of doom and restoring sanity to public discourse. Read the whole thing (and enjoy a happier new year).

 

ROGER SIMON: Diversity Obsession Partly to Blame For Rise in Anti-Semitism.

The horrible attack on a Jewish shul in Monsey, New York on the seventh night of Hanukkah is not directly connected to the atmosphere on American campuses and, sadly, in certain quarters of the U.S. Congress. But they are of a piece spiritually and psychologically.

Something is drastically wrong. The canary in the coal mine (Jews first, others later) is back. It’s permissible to slur Jews and to beat or stab them (five different violent incidents during this Hanukkah alone in the New York City area). Jewish students on college campuses are hiding their religious affiliation as they cross the green to class.

Why now? What has caused all this?

It’s not the sole reason, but I am going to say something outrageous to some. It is the worship of diversity. Note that word—worship.

Diversity is by itself a good thing. We are a diverse society. As many have said, that’s part of our strength.

What has developed in recent decades, however, is the elevation of diversity above all. The slogan “E pluribus unum” (out of many one) has virtually disappeared from our country, the “unum” pushed to irrelevance.

Read the whole thing.

Earlier: Identity Politics Enables Anti-Semitic Violence. Enough. How much more Jewish blood must be spilled before ending the violence against Jews becomes an end inherently worth pursuing?

REVISITING ROSENSTEIN’S COVER-UP OF CROSSFIRE HURRICANE:

To date, no person has been held accountable for the many false statements made to the FISA court under Rosenstein’s signature. In the absence of consequences, there’s nothing to deter continued lying to courts to spy on Americans and interfere in elections. Rosenstein’s unmolested freedom proves his promises of accountability were as false as the FISA application he signed.

If Democrats think they can control an FBI that has slipped free of its constitutional safeguards, they’re fooling themselves. If nobody makes good on Rosenstein’s promises of accountability, elections will become a quaint ceremonial exercise as the real power of government remains in the hands of the FBI.

Read the whole thing.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Dominic Green: Want to know the secret of ‘Jewish genius?’

There I was, watching my old VHS copy of The Boys from Brazil while idly reading the lab reports on the swabs I took from my gentile neighbor’s kids when he wasn’t looking, and revising the bassoon part of a concerto I’ve been working on, and I saw something alarming trending on Twitter. Not ‘eugenics’, but ‘Bret Stephens’.

‘What’s he done now?’ I asked in six languages, two of them not from the Indo-European language family.

In today’s New York Times, Bret Stephens discusses Norman Lebrecht’s excellent new history of the Jews in modern times. Lebrecht describes the unparalleled contributions of notorious underachievers like Marx, Freud, Heine, Disraeli, Herzl, Trotsky, Kafka, Wittgenstein and Einstein but, inexplicably, he fails to mention the contributions of members of the Green family — a lacuna that I, with my inherited Ashkenazi acumen, can already see him correcting in the paperback edition.

Heh, indeed. Read the whole thing.™

WORST HITLER EVER: The Reverse Blood Libel. “But if he hates Jews, Donald Trump has a funny way of showing it—through acts that strengthen us and strengthen the nation-state of the Jewish people.”

Read the whole thing.

JUST NBC THE GASLIGHTING: In supposed apology to Richard Jewell, Tom Brokaw revises history. “There are some who may feel compelled this week to give Brokaw an ‘attaboy’ for apologizing to a dead man 23 years after the fact. I am not one of those people.”

Read the whole thing.

KYLE SMITH: Sam Mendes’ 1917: A Somber Journey into Hell.

That movie, the Peter Jackson documentary They Shall Not Grow Old, was meticulously, devastatingly real. 1917, by contrast, starts out convincing but comes to seem unforgivably contrived around the halfway mark, and by the end it asks us to suspend disbelief to such a degree that the effect is nearly absurd. I was reminded of Roman Polanski’s The Pianist, whose protagonist developed into a kind of Buster Keaton figure who miraculously bumbled his way through a storm of violence so focused that it seemed as if the Wehrmacht’s sole purpose was to kill this random citizen.

1917 is defined also by its surface contrivance: Sam Mendes has designed the film as a single take (followed, after a brief blackout in the second half, by another single take). Like Birdman, though, as well as the fantastically complicated opening scene of Mendes’s own James Bond film Spectre, 1917is actually composed of many shots ingeniously woven together using digital wizardry to look like a single take. I dislike the gimmick, at least at this length; staying on a single take creates a sense of hanging in midair as we wonder when we’ll finally hit the ground, and it works beautifully for a single scene like the opening of Spectre or Touch of Evil (1958), the Orson Welles film that inspired all subsequent one-take sorcery. Keeping a take going for an entire movie, though, is a mistake. It redirects the attention from the story to the technique. To be slightly rude about it, it makes Sam Mendes, not his characters, the star of the movie.

Read the whole thing, which is spoiler-free. Having just returned from a sold-out showing, I can vouch that it’s an intense ride, but it lacks the emotional catharsis that concludes Stanley Kubrick’s 1957 directorial breakthrough Paths of Glory, still the best fictional movie set in WWI, or Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan, both films that 1917 takes its visual cues and story arc from. But if you’re interested in the topic and/or the simulated single-take directorial style (something Alfred Hitchcock attempted on a much smaller scale, but without today’s digital ability to stitch shots together in his underrated 1948 drawing room murder mystery Rope), it’s definitely worth seeing on the big screen.

HELP! I’M BEING HELD PRISONER…

You’ve probably heard the old joke about the guy who opens a fortune cookie, and the paper says: “Help! I’m being held prisoner in a Chinese fortune cookie factory.”

Well, it actually happened, only it was a greeting card factory.

In Communist China. Read the whole thing.

RICHARD FERNANDEZ: Secrets, Not Constitutional Authority, Are Now the Coin of Power in Politics.

By 2017 it was obvious that the 20th-century institutions were reeling under the impact of the information revolution. The old hierarchies and the authority they had wielded from prestige, authority and celebrity were, if not in a state of collapse, at least badly degraded. The leak of secrets showed how incompetent and mendacious the elites were and the MeToo and Jeffrey Epstein affairs demonstrated how venal.

The last redoubt of establishment legitimacy rested on the claim that it was democratic, protected individual rights against the power of the police; kept the secrets of the ordinary people from any would-be STASI and that the Will of the People as expressed through the ballot box was supreme.

Now, even this last claim has collapsed.

Read the whole thing.

FRANKLIN GRAHAM, EVANGELICALS SLAM CHRISTIANITY TODAY OVER IMPEACHMENT OP-ED:

Bestselling author Eric Metaxas, known for his work on Veggie Tales and his biographies of Deitrich Bonhoeffer and Martin Luther, also condemned the Christianity Today op-ed.

“The problem w/the [Christianity Today] editorial is that CT no longer speaks for most evangelicals as it once did,” Metaxas tweeted. “CT always leaned left, but it came across as mostly a-political, as carefully standing apart from the ‘Christian Right’. But of course Trump now makes that stance untenable.”

Read the whole thing.

ROGER KIMBALL ON THE REAL IMPEACHMENT SCANDAL:

I am so glad that Nancy Pelosi has finally come to her senses and declared — on the floor of the House no less — that impeachment is ‘a hatchet job on the presidency’. Yes, that’s right. The House, said Pelosi, is ‘not judging the president with fairness, but impeaching him with a vengeance’. Nicely phrased! The whole circus, she said, violates ‘fundamental principles that Americans hold dear: privacy, fairness, checks and balances’. Go, Nancy! Not only that, the impeachment process is taking place only because one party is ‘paralyzed with hatred’ of the president, and until they ‘free themselves of this hatred, our country will suffer’. I couldn’t agree more. Indeed, Pelosi was right again that the spectacle of impeachment is ‘about punishment searching for a crime that doesn’t exist’.

SCREECH!! The needle goes scudding across the vinyl disk: wrong impeachment!

That was Nancy Pelosi in 1998 when a Democrat was being impeached, not Pelosi in 2019 when a Republican is in the dock.

Because that’s different, somehow. Read the whole thing.

JON CALDARA: How rich Dems made their money helps explain political values.

The four wealthy individuals who bankrolled much of Colorado’s progressive takeover by investing in political infrastructure over the last 15 years (their plan was well described in the book “The Blueprint”) have something in common, besides being rich leftists who know how other people should live.

They all made their money fast in tech, versus slow in brick-and-mortar.

There are deep pockets on the left and right. The right’s demonized Koch brothers manufactured and sold physical things from roads to carpet to glass. The left’s Tom Steyer and George Soros didn’t make any physical things, but made hedge funds.

With a whole lot of room for exceptions, you’ll find that the left’s rich guys haven’t had to deal with the same level of government intrusion and interference during their working years compared to those who fund the right.

That could help explain the difference in their political values.

Read the whole thing.

MARC THIESSEN: Past few weeks have been the best of Trump’s presidency.

The House of Representatives will soon impeach President Trump. Yet these past few weeks have arguably been the best of Trump’s presidency—not despite impeachment, but in no small part because of it.

Consider the string of successes Trump has racked up in recent days. First came news that the U.S. economy added 266,000 jobs in November, far exceeding economic forecasts. Not only that, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics also revised the August and September jobs reports upward, adding 41,000 more jobs to the Trump economic record. And a new Quinnipiac poll found that 57% of Americans said they are better off financially since Trump took office.

In a move that will further bolster the economy, Trump reached agreement with House Democrats to move forward on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), giving the president a major win. Within days, Trump also reached a “Phase 1” trade deal with China, postponing new tariffs on Chinese goods that were set to kick in and cutting tariffs on some Chinese products he had previously imposed in half. The administration expects a $200 billion boost in exports over two years from the deal. Both deals will certainly bolster the president’s standing with the rural and working-class voters who defected to Trump from the Democrats in 2016.

That’s not all. Trump also reached agreement with Democrats on a spending bill averting a government shutdown. He secured Democratic support on a tax bill that would repeal three Obamacare taxes, including the “Cadillac tax” on high-cost employer-sponsored health insurance—a major win for union workers. And the House approved a $738 billion defense spending bill that would authorize the creation of his Space Force and his parental leave policy for federal workers, while not including restrictions Democrats had threatened on use of defense dollars to build a border wall.

Trump also got good news from across the pond, when Boris Johnson’s Conservatives trounced the Labour Party by effectively following Trump’s 2016 campaign script—appealing to working-class voters with an anti-globalist message, promises to protect entitlements and make “colossal” investments in infrastructure. The Tory victory showed that Trump’s brand of conservative populism is still potent.

Read the whole thing.

REMEMBER IMRAN AWAN? DOJ Confirms He’s Now Part of a ‘Sealed Criminal Matter.’

For how big of a scandal House Democrats’ information technology aide Imran Awan was mired in, he appeared to have dropped off the face of the Earth shortly after his bombshell airport arrest.

Now, there appears to be a good reason behind the secrecy surrounding him.

Read the whole thing.

DON SURBER: What Trump learned from Watergate.

Read the whole thing.

DISPATCHES FROM THE NEWSPEAK DICTIONARY: Pronouns Are No Joking Matter.

The Washington Post publishes an op-ed from a woman — apparently a bona fide vajayjay-haver — griping about her pro-o-o-o-o-nouns, and how people are making fun of pronoun Nazis. Here’s the headline of the Kat Jercich piece, which is about the slowest, fattest pitch over Uncle Chuckie’s home plate that ever was thrown:

Please stop making jokes about gender pronouns when people tell you theirs
They might hurt people more than you realize.

Soon as I read that, I thought, “At some point, this dame is going to say the snickerers are accessories to murder.” And sure enough!:

It’s not appropriate for people who aren’t in danger of being fired, evicted or even murdered for their gender identity to decide that pronouns are a joking matter.

The entire column is a load of sanctimonious left-wing crap.

Read the whole thing.

 

ROD DREHER: Why Boris Won — And How the GOP Might:

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I have no idea why the Republicans are so damned silent on wokeness, including the transgender madness. No doubt about it, the American people have accepted gay marriage and gay rights, broadly. But the Left will not accept this victory in the culture war. They cannot help bouncing the rubble, and driving people farther than they are willing to go, or that they should have to go. It’s the elites — and not just academic elites. Every week I get at least two e-mails from readers sending me examples of transgender wokeness taking over their professions — especially big business. People hate this pronoun crap, but nobody dares to speak out against it, because they are afraid of being doxxed, cancelled, or at least marginalized in the workplace. Surely there is a big common-sense vote to be energized here. Boris Johnson is not a cultural conservative in any meaningful sense that I can see, but he’s not that lunatic Jo Swinson, and he’s not like these militant cultural Jacobins of the left-liberal elites that despise as bigots anyone and everyone who doesn’t affirm their rancid orthodoxies, and who want to persecute all dissenters.

Read the whole thing.

THE CORBYNIZATION OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY CONTINUES APACE: AOC Joins the Left’s Swelling Ranks of Antisemites.

The young bartender-turned-congresscritter retweeted a Labour campaign video, and also added, “The hoarding of wealth by the few is coming at the cost of peoples’ lives. The only way we change is with a massive surge of *new* voters at the polls. UK, Vote!”

To be fair, Labour did import tons of new voters into the UK, mostly from countries with cultures hostile to Jews.

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

HOW DARE YOU! Shame on the Liberals Who Use Greta Thunberg as a Human Shield. This Jim Treacher post is behind the PJ VIP paywall (please join!) but here’s the key point:

I would prefer if Trump didn’t tweet mean things about her, and I’m not going to tell anybody not to scold him for it. Go right ahead. But if all these adults are going to hide behind a child to push their political agenda, she’s going to get some pushback.

In fact, they know she will. They’re counting on it. That’s the whole idea. They love that Trump is yelling at her. He’s playing right into their hands.

It’s the bread and butter play in the left’s playbook, and partly explains why they love their “mascots of the anointed,” as Thomas Sowell dubbed them in The Vision of the Anointed. The media declared Jon Stewart to be the second coming of H.L. Mencken, but if anyone criticized him, the clown nose went back on, and the response was “he’s just a comedian.” To criticize Obama was to risk being called a racist, leaving John McCain in the role of the Washington Generals in 2008. And now to criticize Thunberg is to be told “she’s just a kid.” But why would anyone take science advice from a kid? Or as Steve Hayward of Power Line wrote yesterday:

The media is so self-unaware that it cannot conceive that the whole St. Greta phenomenon represents the nadir of the climate crusade. After all, if a Nobel Prize and Academy Award for Al Gore didn’t do the trick, what makes anyone think a 16-year old Swedish girl will cause everyone to sit up and say, “Well, I guess I better buy a Prius now!”

I’m still awaiting a media story that discloses the massive and organized PR operation behind St. Greta. You don’t really think she emerged spontaneously? Who pays for the travel of her retinue, for her hotel rooms and meals, and organizing the public events and other moveable feasts where she appears? I suspect she and her parents (reportedly leftist artists and actors of one kind or another) are banking some nice coin on this whole scene.

But like a teenage rock band, her freshness date may expire quickly. As Treacher notes, “They’re just exploiting her. The minute she’s no longer useful to them, they’ll drop her like a global warming-heated rock. Ask Cindy Sheehan. Ask Sandra Fluke. Ask the Krassenstein brothers. Ask any other one-time liberal superstar who is now long forgotten. It’s a short ride.”

UPDATE: America’s Paper of Record is spot-on: Democrats Introduce Debate Strategy Of Holding Up Small Child Whenever Their Positions Are Challenged.

J.E. DYER: Meddling, Collusion, And Ukraine Vs. Russia.

The topic here is what we’re talking about when the question of “Ukraine meddling in the 2016 election” comes up. The reality is that there’s not a whole lot there if you emphasize the words “Ukraine meddling.” There is substance, yes. A Ukrainian court has certified that it thinks Ukraine meddled in the U.S. election.

But the real issue is whether Americans leveraged cooperation from Ukraine to behave unethically – and possibly to behave criminally – in the 2016 election. Ukraine’s actions could not have any significant effect, undertaken without the complicity of Americans.

The truth about Russia’s actions, which we need not hold in doubt (although sober analysts have made good-faith arguments for doubting some of the particulars), is that they amounted to comparatively little, and had no impact on the election’s outcome.

But Russia’s demonstrated actions, unlike Ukraine’s, were of such a kind that they might conceivably have had an impact without intentional collusion by Americans. This point has the highly significant corollary that the Russians probably (indeed, presumably) inaugurated an interference campaign for their own purposes and agenda. That’s different from the premise of “Ukrainian interference.”

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: I’d originally credited this to Jeff Dunetz, when it’s actually a J.E. Dyer piece. Sorry!

WHY IS EVERYONE PRETENDING REPORTERS NEVER SLEEP WITH SOURCES?

Creative license is always taken in biographical films. This isn’t breaking news. But because this time the character at the heart of the controversy is a journalist, all stops must be taken to stop Eastwood from telling his story, from his point of view, and journalists must be made to be the real victims of the Jewell saga and the film. It’s a recipe for a guaranteed box office hit for Eastwood, just as Joker was.

I for one would like to believe this plot decision was made on purpose by Eastwood to give the AJC a hint of the medicine they attempted to give Richard Jewell, or that the Washington Post, New York Times and CNN gave Nicholas Sandmann.

The AJC was the only news outlet who refused to apologize for their coverage of Jewell, and instead of settling with him, waited him out until his death in 2007. When the Atlanta-Journal Constitution apologizes to the family of Richard Jewell, perhaps only then should Eastwood offer his own concession.

Read the whole thing.

 

THE PRESS WANTS US TO BELIEVE THE WORST OF OTHERS, BUT ONLY THE BEST ABOUT ITSELF: Why is everyone pretending reporters never sleep with sources? The Twitter reaction to Richard Jewell is completely expected and completely contrived.

The excuse for going after Eastwood this time is the portrayal of Kathy Scruggs, the reporter for the Atlanta-Journal Constitution whose work targeted Jewell for the bombing. In the film, there’s a scene apparently (I say apparently because, much like Joker, a swath of journalists are jumping to conclusions on the content of the film rather than waiting to see it, of course) where the Scruggs character, played by Olivia Wilde, hints at offering sexual favors to an FBI source in return for details regarding Jewell and the case. The current editors of the AJC are even threatening Warner Brothers with a lawsuit citing defamation unless a disclaimer is added to the front title cards of the film: something that already exists, and has already existed in the credits of just about every single biographical film ever made. But that’s not good enough.

This plot device of course has Twitter journalists raging mad about something they describe as a ‘sexist trope’, which ‘doesn’t even happen at all’. Except it has happened, and as recently as two months ago. Jeffrey Young, senior reporter for HuffPost tweeted ‘The lazy, offensive, shitty way screenwriters so often treat female journalists infuriates me. Depicting women using sex to get stories is disgusting and disrespectful. It’s also hacky as hell. I was planning to see this movie but not anymore.’ Melissa Gomez of the Los Angeles Times wrote ‘Hollywood has, for a long time, portrayed female journalists as sleeping with sources to do their job. It’s so deeply wrong, yet they continue to do it. Disappointing that they would apply this tired and sexist trope about Kathy Scruggs, a real reporter.’ Susan Fowler, an opinion editor at the New York Times tweeted ‘The whole “female journalist sleeps with a source for a scoop” trope doesn’t even make any sense tbh like what does Hollywood think journalism is???’ By the end of the night on Monday, ‘Eastwood’ was the top trend in the United States.

Susan Fowler apparently doesn’t read her own newspaper, which just last year reported on the three-year affair between (surprise), New York Times reporter Ali Watkins and James Wolfe, a senior aide to the Senate Intelligence Committee, and a frequent source for her stories. In October of this year, an employee of the United States Defense Intelligence Agency was arrested for leaking classified material to two reporters, one of which he was involved in a romantic relationship with (this was allegedly CNBC reporter Amanda Macias.) It should be noted that both Watkins and Macias are still employed by the Times and CNBC. Not only does it appear the practice of sleeping with sources for information is more than a mere trope, it seems it’s something not punished by newsrooms.

That’s different because shut up.

BYRON YORK: It’s official: The dossier was malarkey.

The reporting did terrible damage to a new president as he took office. And now, the Horowitz report definitively shows that it was all garbage.

The report makes clear the dossier never had even a shred of credibility. Steele had no firsthand knowledge of anything in the document. He got all his information secondhand or thirdhand from sources who themselves heard things secondhand or thirdhand.

Read the whole thing.

HE ISN’T WRONG: Trump on IG Report: ‘This Was an Attempted Overthrow… We Caught ‘em Red-Handed.’ “And a lot of people were in on it and they got caught. They got caught red-handed. And I look forward to the Durham report, which is coming out in the not-too-distant future. He’s got his own information, which is this information plus, plus, plus. It’s an incredible thing that happened and we’re lucky we caught them.”

Also: AG Bill Barr Just Issued a Translation of the DOJ IG Report & It’s a Red-Hot Rebuke of ‘Intrusive’ Spying on Trump.

And this from Michael Goodwin: IG report proves whole investigation was as corrupt as Comey. “Taken together, the findings and statements from the Justice Department are potentially more important even than when Mueller reported he found no evidence Trump colluded with Russia. In effect, we now can say for certain that the search for collusion itself was corrupted from the start and that the numerous examples of misconduct were not honest mistakes.”

Read the whole thing(s).

THE NEW YORK SUN ON PAUL VOLCKER:

The most surprising encounters we had with Volcker were at dinner. One was at the apartment Volcker shared with his second wife, Anke Dening, in Manhattan. Near the door was a display of gear for Volcker’s beloved sport of fly fishing. Inside, the towering central banker (he was 6’, 7”) was dressed in a Japanese kimono, right down to the white socks and sandals.

Another was at our own home, where a table of a dozen guests were arranged around him. The dinner was clocking along amicably enough, when, suddenly, a spat erupted between Volcker and the person seated next to him, our older daughter, aged 15. It flared so fiercely — the topic was baseball — that the rest of us sat and gawked. Then it blew over.

After dinner, we helped our eminent guest on with his coat and gave him a copy of a book of the Sun’s editorials on the gold standard. He put his hand on our shoulder as we walked him to the door. “Just remember,” he said, “you can’t go back.” It was the closest we ever got to a policy prescription from the great man.

In the morning, our 15-year-old descended for breakfast. “Do you know who Paul Volcker is?” she demanded. Yes, we exclaimed, he’s one of the great central bankers of all time. “No, no,” she said, “that’s not who Volcker is.” So we asked who he was. “He was on the baseball blue ribbon commission!” she exclaimed — nailing the fact that one of the reasons Volcker will be so widely missed is that was a man of many parts.

Read the whole thing.

HEH: Joe Biden Will Command Respect from Both Our Enemies and Our Adversaries:

What you’re looking at here is a 77-year-old man who passed up his best shot at winning the presidency because he was afraid of Hillary Clinton. Now he’s desperately struggling to make up for that monumental mistake, while trying to hold onto his rapidly fading mental faculties. Even if you don’t like Donald Trump, you should be rooting for the Dems to nominate this guy. If he’s this hilarious now, how much fun will he be when the pressure really gets cranked up?

I wish I could be a fly on the wall when Barry watches Joe spewing this nonsense. Biden was Obama’s insurance policy for eight years — Who would ever want to assassinate him, if the alternative was this clown? — and now Biden has convinced himself he was the one running the show the whole time. It must be torture to Barry’s ego. Tee-hee!

It’s Jim Treacher, so read the whole thing, which dovetails well with this cringe-worthy moment on the eve of 2008 election, when two veteran television news readers, with access to their respective networks’ newsrooms, along with the wire services and every columnist in America on speed dial, pretend to not know Obama’s worldview, but have no qualms about voting for him:

But then, as Treacher himself wrote:

EVERGREEN: Liberal media spews nonsense on business and taxes.

“How FedEx Cut Its Tax Bill to $0.” So blared a November 17 headline in The New York Times. And headlines are what make impressions, especially when the liberal media echo-chamber reverberates the sound bite. The story below that headline wasn’t much better; spinning some facts and ignoring others to fit its anti-business, progressive narrative and slamming the 2017 Republican tax reform bill signed into law by President Trump. This is how the Times typically inflames rather than informs public opinion.

A few days later, Frederick W. Smith, chairman and CEO of FedEx Corp., set the record straight in the opinion pages of The Wall Street Journal. Needless to say, few progressives read those pages and even fewer are able or willing to comprehend their meaning.

Lots of good stuff from Mike Rosen at the link. Read the whole thing.

RIP: PAUL VOLCKER, THE CARTER-REAGAN FED CHAIRMAN WHO BEAT INFLATION, DIES AT AGE 92. Combined with President Reagan’s tax cuts, Volker’s fight against inflation “‘set the table for the long economic expansions of the 1980s and 1990s,’ former St. Louis Fed President William Poole said in a 2005 tribute.”

UPDATE: At Power Line, Steve Hayward quotes from his Age of Reagan series: “Reagan had his first meeting with Volcker over lunch on his third day in the Oval Office. Reagan opened the lunch with a question that must have nearly knocked Volcker out of his chair: Why do we need a Federal Reserve anyway?” Read the whole thing.

 

SALENA ZITO: He Makes A Village.

Tyler Merritt has taken the saying “It takes a village to raise a child” and turned it a bit sideways. He’s building a village, literally, to allow adults to raise themselves up. His village is a stabilizing rail, or a stepping stone to a better life.

Merritt, a former special operations air mission commander, is trying to help his military brothers and sisters who have found themselves post-military service one paycheck away from financial collapse, as well as those struggling to find their way through modern civilian life, which does not begin and end with a stated purpose in the way military service does.
“Our most recent initiative is our veterans village,” said Merritt, whose post-military life makes him an unlikely entrepreneur and philanthropist as the CEO of Nine Line Apparel and president of Nine Line Foundation.

Merritt is standing outside of the massive apparel store he founded in 2012 that quickly went from a handful of employees, mostly family, to a staff of more than 240, mostly veterans. He’s also built up a deeply loyal cross-country customer base for the company’s patriotic gear.

He is unassuming, charming, and never sits still. On this bright and warm Georgia day, Merritt is pacing back and forth, phone in hand, trying to connect airline executives with families who lost loved ones in a military training accident, getting them to their family members as quickly as possible.

Read the whole thing. But you knew that because it’s by Salena Zito.

GREAT NEWS: The Peloton Wife Is Safe, She’s Leaving Her Husband, And She’s Drunk As Hell.

Imagine a Peloton wife ad multiverse across 10 different brands tracing her path to freedom. In the final ad she’s on trial for his murder because he reacted … badly to their break-up, of course. She’s nervously sipping a White Claw at the defense table when the jury comes in. Verdict: Not guilty, says the foreman, because “ain’t no laws when you’re drinking Claws.”

Dynamite. I’m willing to write the whole series for a modest fee.

The Aviation [Gin] ad is titled “The Gift That Doesn’t Give Back,” by the way, a direct reply to the title of the Peloton ad. At the rate she’s drinking in the clip, I feel like this gift actually might give back before the night’s over.

Heh, indeed. Read the whole thing.™

DISPATCHES FROM GROUND ZERO OF THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: On the Passing of Oberlin Plaintiff David Gibson.

As I reported at the time, David Gibson testified that the school had offered to allow the bakery’s food back in the university cafeteria on two conditions: that Gibson’s drop the shoplifting charges, and agree to report all future instances of theft by students to the university and not the police. Gibson refused. “They didn’t want to move forward until we agreed to special treatment for students shoplifting,” he told the jury. “But I kept telling them that we have to be consistent and call the police no matter who is stealing.” Only later did he realize that the school administrators might be using the controversy to launder their own reputations. “[The school administration] had been accused of being racists by students in the previous year,” he testified, “and I think they used us to deflect from that problem they had. I believe they were using us as a target so that their racial problems with their students would go away.”

In December 2015, Oberlin College’s black student union had published a 14-page, 58-point list of demands, in which they accused the university of “anti-blackness” following four separate race-based controversies in a single year. At the end of May, the New Yorker published a long essay about Oberlin College entitled “The Big Uneasy,” examining unrest at the college, in which one student interviewee complained, “I literally am so tired of learning about Marx, when he did not include race in his discussion of the market!” When Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton on November 8, 2016, the students thought their world was ending. “Part of the inconceivable quality of the election is, I don’t know a Trump voter personally, and I can’t imagine someone voting for Trump,” an Oberlin College senior told the campus newspaper. “I don’t know how to reach across that line. I don’t even know who they are.”

When three African American students attempted to steal three bottles of wine the following day, the protests against the Gibson family’s allegedly racist decision to call the police became a vehicle for election anxiety. David Gibson knew immediately that the timing was going to bring trouble. “They’re going to be trashing us,” he told police an hour after the crime occurred. The row which ensnared the small family business was a proxy for national and college political battles in which it had no part, and over which it had no control.

Read the whole thing.

ANNALS OF LEFTIST AUTOPHAGY: Leftists Attack The ‘1619 Project.’

In the “Idea Laundering” post the other day, I mentioned an excellent interview on the World Socialist Web Site with Princeton historian James McPherson, one of the top Civil War scholars in the nation, in which McPherson tore apart The New York Times‘s ballyhooed “1619 Project.” That project, as regular readers will recall, is a massive effort by the newspaper to “reframe” (its word) the American founding around slavery. In the interview, McPherson basically argued that the project’s claims are woke nonsense. 

Read the whole thing. Meanwhile, Reason’s Cathy Young tweets an explanation for much of the New York Times’ craziness in the last few years: “Interesting fact about Gerald Horne, the historian whose work is most commonly cited as basis for the ‘1619 Project’ (or at least the claim that the ‘real’ goal of the American Revolution was to preserve slavery): he’s an actual, pro-Soviet Communist.”

RIP: Clive James, Writer, TV Host And Cultural Critic, Dies At 80.

His friend and fellow satirist P.J. O’Rourke marvels at James’ way with a phrase, no matter what he was writing.

“He was that rare person who could do any kind of writing,” O’Rourke said. “His memoirs … are wonderful and very un-self-indulgent, unlike the modern version of that genre. He was a good novelist. Brrm! Brrm! is lots of fun. He’s an excellent poet, one of the best living poets in the English language. And of course, he was a critic.”

O’Rourke — who is not a regular TV viewer — even delighted in James’ reviews of that medium.

“His television criticism was so good that I have read all of it, even though I haven’t the likeliest idea what he’s talking about, because I’ve never seen any of the shows,” jokes O’Rourke.

Among the flood of tributes to James, Veep creator and movie director Armando Iannucci tweeted: “I used to practically hug The Observer in spasms of laughter reading Clive James’ TV reviews; ‘The Crystal Bucket’ is one of the funniest books around. And ‘Cultural Amnesia’ is an amazing book for reminding you that thinking can be joyful. His influence is incalculable.”

James didn’t just observe from the sidelines. He spent plenty of time in front of the camera, hosting variety shows and interviewing fellow writers and other artists on Talking In The Library.

Related: Excerpts from Clive James in his own words:

“Among artists without talent Marxism will always be popular, since it enables them to blame society for the fact that nobody wants to hear what they have to say.” The Crystal Bucket, 1982

On Brezhnev – A Short Biography: “Here is a book so dull that a whirling dervish could read himself to sleep with it. If you were to recite even a single page in the open air, birds would fall out of the sky and dogs drop dead.” From the Land of Shadows, 1982

“In The Bob Hope Golf Classic (LWT) the participation of President Gerald Ford was more than enough to remind you that the nuclear button was at one stage at the disposal of a man who might have either pressed it by mistake or else pressed it deliberately in order to obtain room service.” Glued to the Box

“I still haven’t forgiven CS Lewis for going on all those long walks with JRR Tolkien and failing to strangle him, thus to save us from hundreds of pages dripping with the wizardly wisdom of Gandalf and from the kind of movie in which Orlando Bloom defiantly flexes his delicate jaw at thousands of computer-generated orcs. In fact it would have been ever better if CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien could have strangled each other, so that we could also have been saved from the Chronicles of Narnia.” BBC Radio 4: A Point of View

On a South Bank Show interview with Harold Pinter: “It was exactly like getting blood from a stone, except that stones do not smoke. Pinter smoked all the time. You could tell that the interview was edited down from hours of film because in every shot Pinter had a fresh Balkan Sobranie in his hand. In the tight head-shots there was so much smoke pouring up from the bottom of the screen that you began wondering if his trousers were on fire.” The Crystal Bucket

Heh, indeed. Read the whole thing.™

MACKUBIN OWENS: PRUDENCE AND PRESIDENTIAL PARDONS.

President Trump recently issued pardons to three U.S. servicemen accused of crimes during wartime: U.S. Army First Lieutenant Clint Lorance, convicted in August 2013 on two counts of second-degree murder for ordering soldiers in his platoon to open fire at three men on a motorcycle in southern Afghanistan in July 2012; U.S. Army Major Matthew Golsteyn, a Special Forces officer who pleaded not guilty to the charge of killing an unarmed Taliban bomb maker; and Navy Special Warfare Operator First Class Edward Gallagher, who, although cleared of the murder of an insurgent, was demoted for posing with an enemy corpse.

Of course, as in all things having to do with Trump, his actions have elicited a great deal of pushback. His critics have argued that by issuing these pardons, he condones the commission of “heinous war crimes” by Americans; that his pardons constituted rogue actions external to the justice system; that he was undermining “good order and discipline in the military; and that the pardons damaged U.S. standing abroad, especially among allies. But as my old friend Charlie Dunlap, a retired Air Force Major General and staff judge advocate has argued, most of these claims are not supported by the facts.

In the cases of the individuals who Trump pardoned—as is usually the case in such instances—the facts are more complicated than first reported. For one thing, none of the individuals were charged as “war crimes” or “atrocities” but with standard criminal offenses, such as murder. As Dunlop observes, this relieves the prosecution from the burden of having to prove the additional elements needed to legally turn such alleged wrongdoing into “war” crimes.

Nonetheless, all we hear is “Trump pardoned war criminals,” because the press is largely garbage. But do read the whole thing.

Plus, from Dunlap: “In a democracy, elected civilian leaders ought to be exercising oversight over the activities of the armed forces, including the justice system that provides accountability for those forces. Among other things, when properly done civilian oversight can serve as a bulwark against unfairness in the ranks. It doesn’t hurt for military leaders to be reminded from time to time that their civilian boss is watching.”

Here’s the entire Dunlap post.

TRUMP’S PROGRESSIVE ALLIES: “[T]here is a whole group of key voters, particularly in critical states, who are more than willing to ditch Trump as long as that doesn’t mean giving liberals the power to completely mess with their lives in a radical way. Seeing a major college football game almost destroyed because of this kind of liberal nonsense and overt hypocrisy is the exact type of story which makes those voters very nervous about handing everything over to a bunch of lunatics. As I have said many times before, Trump’s political rocket-ship is fueled by the extremely negative reaction Middle America has to political correctness. What the kids at Yale did was just add a bit more gas to his tank (which is ironic given their protest of fossil fuels).”

It gets “Progressively” crazier from there — read the whole thing.

SPENGLER: A National Nightmare: Andrew McCarthy Exposes the Plot Against the President. “McCarthy believes that the spooks went after Trump to protect their cozy post-World War II order. I think the reasons go much deeper: Trump threatened to turn over the rock and expose the creepy-crawlies underneath to the harsh light of day. A strict accounting of the intelligence community’s actions over the past two decades would leave heads rolling and pensions canceled. The peasants were marching on Dr Frankenstein’s castle, and their leader had to be put down.”

Read the whole thing.

SALENA ZITO AND BRAD TODD: The Great Revolt enters a new phase: How the populist uprising of 2016 will reverberate in 2020.

In a country increasingly engaged in national politics and divided, the next 12 months may feel like 12 years. Voters in both trenches are eager to vote, convinced not only of victory but also of vindication. The shocking result in 2016 wasn’t a black swan, an irregular election deviating from normalcy, but instead the indicator of the realignment we describe in The Great Revolt: Inside the Populist Coalition, now available in a new a paperback edition in time for the 2020 election season.

The story of America’s evolving political topography is one of tectonic plates, slowly grinding against each other until a break notably alters the landscape with seismic consequences — a sudden lurch long in development. The election of President Trump cemented a realignment of the two political parties rooted in cultural and economic change years in the making. Although he has been the epicenter of all politics since his announcement of candidacy in 2015, Trump is the product of this realignment more than its cause, a fact that becomes clear as you travel the back roads to the places that made him the most unlikely president of our era.

Thirty-year-old dairy farmer Ben Klinkner doesn’t consider himself a member of either political part. “I am a Christian conservative,” he says matter-of-factly.

Sitting at conference table at the Westby Co-op Credit Union, the sixth-generation family farmer has a master’s degree in meat science, Klinkner explains when he left to attend college at the University of Wisconsin River Falls and then North Dakota State University in Fargo for his master’s he vowed he was never going to milk another cow again.

“And I’ve been doing just that every day for the past six years.”

“I chose my life because, not for the money obviously, but because I get to see my family every day. That’s what it’s about. I got to see my parents every day growing up. And my kids get to see that too,” said Klinkner, the father of three with another one on the way.

On Trump, Klinkner is pragmatic, “I am very happy with his policies, I just wish he’d put that Twitter down,” he said of the president’s unorthodox style of communicating. This cuts against the national media’s narrative that farmers will dump the president because of the trade uncertainty.

And yes, Klinkner will vote for him again.

Read the whole thing. But Trump would be crazy to “put Twitter down” in this media environment.

IT ISN’T ABOUT SAVING THE PLANET; IT’S ABOUT GAINING POLITICAL POWER: Why Everything They Say About Climate Change Is Wrong.

First, no credible scientific body has ever said climate change threatens the collapse of civilization much less the extinction of the human species. “‘Our children are going to die in the next 10 to 20 years.’ What’s the scientific basis for these claims?” BBC’s Andrew Neil asked a visibly uncomfortable XR spokesperson last month.

“These claims have been disputed, admittedly,” she said. “There are some scientists who are agreeing and some who are saying it’s not true. But the overall issue is that these deaths are going to happen.”

“But most scientists don’t agree with this,” said Neil. “I looked through IPCC reports and see no reference to billions of people going to die, or children in 20 years. How would they die?”

“Mass migration around the world already taking place due to prolonged drought in countries, particularly in South Asia. There are wildfires in Indonesia, the Amazon rainforest, Siberia, the Arctic,” she said.

But in saying so, the XR spokesperson had grossly misrepresented the science. “There is robust evidence of disasters displacing people worldwide,” notes IPCC, “but limited evidence that climate change or sea-level rise is the direct cause”

What about “mass migration”? “The majority of resultant population movements tend to occur within the borders of affected countries,” says IPCC.

It’s not like climate doesn’t matter. It’s that climate change is outweighed by other factors.

Read the whole thing.

WOMXN FOR WARREN: “This points to a huge problem for Warren and the various elites invested in her. They’re in a bubble. If you’re surrounded by Latinx and Womxn people who unironically use terms like Latinx or Womxn, you might get convinced that this is the way normal Hispanic and black people talk and think. I’m not saying that blacks and Hispanics are politically conservative. We know that, as a conventional or statistical matter, most aren’t. But their liberalism is the traditional liberalism of the Democratic Party circa 1985 or 2005: More generous entitlements, more public works programs, perhaps more set-asides for minorities in government contracts. In other words they’re FDR, Truman, Mondale, or Obama Democrats. Some may even be Jesse Jackson Democrats. They’re not Noam Chomsky Democrats.  If Warren thinks she’s going to win over black women in South Carolina by talking about intersectionality, she’s in for a rude surprise.”

Read the whole thing.

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: Watch The Intellectuals.

I’m not interested in hearing Ann Coulter speak, but I am very, very much interested in fighting the mob culture that seeks to shut down speakers like Ann Coulter, in part by howling curses at, and attempting to humiliate, Americans who are interested in what she has to say.

If you think this is going to stay in Berkeley, you’re mistaken. This mob action might not spread to places outside of the coasts, but here’s what’s going to happen: those young people who join the mobs, they are going to graduate and move into the institutions of American life. They are going to carry their militant illiberalism, including their contempt for free speech and open discourse, into those institutions, and are going to do their damnedest to institutionalize them. One thing I have learned from the past few months spent studying Soviet-bloc communism: watch the intellectual class. It is a very big mistake to think that what they say and do only matters in the shadow of the ivory tower.

Read the whole thing.