Search Results

I REMEMBER WHEN MONEY IN POLITICS WAS SUPPOSED TO BE BAD: Andrew Gillum gets another $650,000 from billionaire donors Soros, Steyer. A couple of weeks old but it was news to me.

I’M SO OLD, I REMEMBER WHEN GOOGLE’S MOTTO WAS “DON’T BE EVIL:” Google Built China A Prototype Search Engine That Allows Government To Spy On Citizens’ Search Queries.

I wonder if anyone at Google ever asks, “Are we the baddies?”

REMEMBER, WHEN PEOPLE GET TIRED OF SUBSIDIZING THIS, WE’LL BE TOLD IT’S BECAUSE OF “ANTI-INTELLECTUALISM:” How a Social Justice Mob Fired a Tenured Professor.

REMINDER: Don’t Be Fooled, There Was Nothing ‘Financial’ About the 2008 Crisis.

Lehman’s bankruptcy didn’t cause a “crisis” as much as the Bush administration’s foolish decision to bail out Bear Stearns months before created the perception in the marketplace that Lehman would be saved too. As such, investors weren’t prepared for the correct decision to let Lehman go. Put simply, Lehman was only earth-shaking insofar as prior government intervention turned what was healthy into a surprise. And having erred mightily in bailing out Bear, the Bush administration chose to make a bad situation much worse.

Indeed, in conjunction with the SEC it banned short-selling on 900 different financial stocks. Talk about pouring gasoline onto the fire. Seemingly missed by Administration officials is that short sellers are ultimately buyers. When short sellers are able to express their pessimism in the marketplace, a huge reserve of buying power is created when we remember that shorts can only take profits insofar as they buy back the shares sold short. Yet when the markets needed them most as both price givers and liquidity providers, the Bushies banned them.

After that, bailouts are not free. Governments don’t mis-allocate the money of others only to walk away. They offer up the money of others only to demand a more muscular role in how the saved operate. Ok, but the 20th century was a monument to the failure of central planning. Is it any wonder that future-seeing investors looked negatively on a return of excessive government intervention in commerce?

What can’t be stressed enough about what happened in 2008 is that for economies to grow and markets to rise, it’s necessary that the mediocre and lousy constantly be replaced by the good and brilliant.

No. More. Bailouts.

DAVID MARCUS: I’m A New Yorker. Here’s How I Teach My Son About 9/11.

As my son grew a little older, the questions became more complicated. Why did the terrorists hate us so much? Did you know anyone who died? Was everyone really sad? I find myself wondering whether I should share the emotional impact 9/11 had on the only city he’s ever lived in, and on America as a whole. Is it wise or even possible to express that level of trauma to a child?

Images are burned into the minds of those in New York City on 9/11 and the weeks and months after. Entire walls in subway stations filled with hundreds of photocopied photographs placed by loved ones desperately seeking information. I remember one face in particular. It was a young Asian man wearing a Phillies cap. That’s my favorite team. I never met him, but I can still see his face.

Over time, it became clear hope was lost of finding them, but the photographs remained. They stayed up in many cases for weeks. They took on a new purpose. The city had collectively decided they were works of art, monuments to our grief. As the city slowly went back to something like normal, it did so under the victims’ gaze.

These are the kinds of stories that I tell my son, but I also tell happier stories.

Read the whole thing.

SO NOW IT’S THE 17TH ANNIVERSARY OF 9/11. Back then, InstaPundit was shiny and new new. Now it’s not, and some people have been warning of “blogger burnout.” But I’m still here. On prior 9/11 anniversaries, I’ve given shooting lessons to a Marine, I’ve taken the day off from blogging, and I’ve even gone to a Tea Party with Andrew Breitbart.

This year, as in most past years, it’ll be blogging as usual. And here’s a link to my original 9/11 coverage — just scroll on up. At this late date, I don’t have anything new to say on 9/11. But these predictions held up pretty well. Which is too bad.

The picture above is by my cousin-in-law Brad Rubenstein, taken from his apartment that day. You might also want to read this piece by James Lileks.

And here’s a passage from Lee Harris’s Civilization And Its Enemies.

Forgetfulness occurs when those who have been long inured to civilized order can no longer remember a time in which they had to wonder whether their crops would grow to maturity without being stolen or their children sold into slavery by a victorious foe.

They forget that in time of danger, in the face of the Enemy, they must trust and confide in each other, or perish.

They forget, in short, that there has ever been a category of human experience called the Enemy. And that, before 9/11, was what had happened to us. The very concept of the Enemy had been banished from our moral and political vocabulary. An enemy was just a friend we hadn’t done enough for — yet. Or perhaps there had been a misunderstanding, or an oversight on our part — something that we could correct. And this means that that our first task is that we must try to grasp what the concept of the Enemy really means.

The Enemy is someone who is willing to die in order to kill you. And while it is true that the Enemy always hates us for a reason — it is his reason, and not ours.

I’ve mentioned it before, but it bears repeating today.

One thing I guess I didn’t believe 17 years ago is that America would elect such a feckless President in 2008, and stand idly by while he flushed our global position, and security, down a left-wing toilet. But we did, and we’ll be paying the price for a long time.

God bless America. We need it.

WORTH REMEMBERING ON 9/11: Obama’s legacy was self-inflicted defeat everywhere we faced Islamist terror. Plus, some history, worth repeating again:

Obama whines he just didn’t ‘have the tools’ to act on Syria.

Related: Obama seems eager to massage his legacy as it’s being written. We, therefore, are obliged to get the record right.

Well, here’s some history for you:

Rachel Maddow Tries to Rewrite History of Obama ‘Ending the War’ in Iraq.

Flashback: No Doubt About It — We’re Back in a Ground War in Iraq.

Without much fanfare, Obama has dramatically reversed his Iraq policy — sending thousands of troops back in the country after he declared the war over, engaging in ground combat despite initially promising that his strategy “will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil.” Well, they’re on foreign soil, and they’re fighting.

It would have been easier — and would have cost far fewer lives — if we had just stayed. But Obama had to have a campaign issue.

And I suppose I should repeat my Iraq War history lesson: Things were going so well as late as 2010 that the Obama Administration was bragging about Iraq as one of its big foreign policy successes.

In the interest of historical accuracy, I think I’ll repeat this post again:

BOB WOODWARD: Bush Didn’t Lie About WMD, And Obama Sure Screwed Up Iraq In 2011.

[Y]ou certainly can make a persuasive argument it was a mistake. But there is a time that line going along that Bush and the other people lied about this. I spent 18 months looking at how Bush decided to invade Iraq. And lots of mistakes, but it was Bush telling George Tenet, the CIA director, don’t let anyone stretch the case on WMD. And he was the one who was skeptical. And if you try to summarize why we went into Iraq, it was momentum. The war plan kept getting better and easier, and finally at the end, people were saying, hey, look, it will only take a week or two. And early on it looked like it was going to take a year or 18 months. And so Bush pulled the trigger. A mistake certainly can be argued, and there is an abundance of evidence. But there was no lying in this that I could find.

Plus:

Woodward was also asked if it was a mistake to withdraw in 2011. Wallace points out that Obama has said that he tried to negotiate a status of forces agreement but did not succeed, but “A lot of people think he really didn’t want to keep any troops there.” Woodward agrees that Obama didn’t want to keep troops there and elaborates:

Look, Obama does not like war. But as you look back on this, the argument from the military was, let’s keep 10,000, 15,000 troops there as an insurance policy. And we all know insurance policies make sense. We have 30,000 troops or more in South Korea still 65 years or so after the war. When you are a superpower, you have to buy these insurance policies. And he didn’t in this case. I don’t think you can say everything is because of that decision, but clearly a factor.

We had some woeful laughs about the insurance policies metaphor. Everyone knows they make sense, but it’s still hard to get people to buy them. They want to think things might just work out, so why pay for the insurance? It’s the old “young invincibles” problem that underlies Obamcare.

Obama blew it in Iraq, which is in chaos, and in Syria, which is in chaos, and in Libya, which is in chaos. A little history:


As late as 2010, things were going so well in Iraq that Obama and Biden were bragging. Now, after Obama’s politically-motivated pullout and disengagement, the whole thing’s fallen apart. This is near-criminal neglect and incompetence, and an awful lot of people will pay a steep price for the Obama Administration’s fecklessness.

Related: National Journal: The World Will Blame Obama If Iraq Falls.

Related: What Kind Of Iraq Did Obama Inherit?

Plus, I’m just going to keep running this video of what the Democrats, including Harry Reid and Hillary Clinton, were saying on Iraq before the invasion:

Because I expect a lot of revisionist history over the next few months.

Plus: 2008 Flashback: Obama Says Preventing Genocide Not A Reason To Stay In Iraq. He was warned. He didn’t care.

And who can forget this?

Yes, I keep repeating this stuff. Because it bears repeating. In Iraq, Obama took a war that we had won at a considerable expense in lives and treasure, and threw it away for the callowest of political reasons. In Syria and Libya, he involved us in wars of choice without Congressional authorization, and proceeded to hand victories to the Islamists. Obama’s policy here has been a debacle of the first order, and the press wants to talk about Bush as a way of protecting him. Whenever you see anyone in the media bringing up 2003, you will know that they are serving as palace guard, not as press.

Related: Obama’s Betrayal Of The Iraqis.

Plus: Maybe that Iraq withdrawal was a bad thing in hindsight. Obama’s actions, if not his words, suggest that even he may think so.

NIKE STOCK PLUNGES AFTER TAPPING KAEPERNICK AS ‘JUST DO IT’ CAMPAIGN POSTER BOY.

But is that merely a temporary blip that was already calculated as an acceptable loss by the giant corporation? Jim Geraghty explores “The Audacity of Nike:”

You almost have to admire the audacity of Nike; for decades they’ve cemented their position as The Man by marketing an image of fighting The Man. Don’t let anyone tell you that they’re a group of daring, iconoclast rebels. They’re a massive publicly traded corporation, the world’s largest manufacturer of athletic shoes, sporting equipment, and apparel, and their chairman is worth about $22 billion. They’re getting sued for “pay discrimination and limited opportunities for women to win promotions” and failing to address sexual-harassment complaints. They’ve settled class-action racial-discrimination lawsuits for millions of dollars. They operate a political-action committee that gives to both parties (although more to Democrats) and are quite active in Oregon state politics.

They are the kind of big, powerful corporation with a long history of documented exploitation of overseas labor that is usually the villain in leftist narratives. Staunch progressives who proudly wear the Nike swoosh are like impassioned environmentalists wearing Exxon Valdez t-shirts.

And now, for the cost of a few million — remember Nike had nearly $10 billion in revenue last quarter — the company bought the loyalty of the woke Social Justice Warrior crowd. Sure, some folks on the right will announce they’re boycotting, but nobody collects and analyzes marketing research data like Nike. They’ve no doubt run the numbers on this and concluded that the controversy was worth it. In fact, the controversy is the whole point of the marketing campaign. (It sure as heck isn’t Kaepernick’s performance on the field!) The aim is to get every Kaepernick-hater in the country publicly raging about it — the president, conservative-talk radio, sports-talk radio — so that everyone who agrees with Kaepernick feels almost obligated to go out and buy the Kaepernick sneakers, shirt, hat, etcetera.

To paraphrase Jonah Goldberg on Twitter, The Man Can’t Bust Our Sneakers!

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: College deems students’ 9/11 ‘Never Forget’ posters a bias incident for highlighting Islamic terrorism.

A group of conservative students at Ripon College have been told their 9/11 “Never Forget” posters violate the school’s bias policy, citing the fact that its imagery is exclusively focused on Islamic terrorism.

At a meeting Tuesday between members of the Young America’s Foundation and the campus bias response team, a school official said the posters focus “relentlessly on one religious organization, one religious group, one religious identity–in associating that one religious identity with terrorist attacks which go back far before 9/11 and after 9/11–creates for some students here an environment which they feel like they are not able to learn,” according to an audio recording of the meeting obtained by YAF.

A school official said the posters create an “environment” where “students from a Muslim background would feel singled out” or “harassed,” according to the recording.

“There is nothing that this poster, in particular, adds to the conversation about 9/11, or about the politics of terrorism, or about national security or responses to it that couldn’t be done easily and more constructively without it,” one administrator reportedly said.

Remember, if you’re upset by this, it’s because you’re an “anti-intellectual.”

YOUR DAILY TREACHER: Louis C.K. Tries His Hand Again.

Nobody owes Louis C.K. anything. He had a successful career because a lot of people wanted to pay to see his work. If they don’t want to give him their money anymore, if they don’t want to be associated with him in any way, too bad for him. That’s their business.

But there’s another side to that coin: If some people still do want to give him their money, that’s their business too. If they don’t like what he did but still want to see his new material, or if they don’t care at all about what he did, or even if they think what he did was hilarious, that’s up to them. Their wallets, their choice.

You’re pro-choice, aren’t you?

Besides, America tends to forgive all of our famous perverts sooner or later. Hell, remember this scumbag? It took him about 20 years, but he almost got to move back into his old house!

Read the whole thing.

HEH: How to Write the Perfect Glossy Profile of Beto O’Rourke.

He’s like a Kennedy!

This one is very important. O’Rourke sort of looks like a Kennedy, and he’s young-ish, and he has Correct Thoughts, thus he is “Kennedyesque.” In the #MeToo Era, the left’s fetishization of a notorious womanizer puzzles to a degree, but narratives gonna narrative.

Town and Country: “With a disdain for highly paid consultants, a willingness to travel to unexpected places, and an inspiring message for an extraordinarily divided electorate, it’s hard to look at O’Rourke and not think of Bobby Kennedy in 1968.”

BuzzFeed: “‘There’s a reason people compare him to a Kennedy,’ Sam Hatton, who’s running a scrappy campaign for the Texas House District 71, told me. ‘And it’s not just those Kennedy teeth.'”

Yahoo: “Rep. Joe Kennedy, the Massachusetts Democrat and grandson of Bobby Kennedy who happens to be a close friend, has joked that O’Rourke is the ‘best looking Kennedy in Washington.'”

Washington Post: “Democrats might look at O’Rourke—a small-business owner with hipster credentials, a Gen Xer who speaks fluent Spanish and looks more like a Kennedy than the Kennedys do—and see a candidate of thrilling national potential, marred only by where he happens to live.”

TIME: “Elderly voters some-times tell him that he reminds them of John F. Kennedy.”

Texas Monthly: “He looks like a Kennedy. (Massachusetts congressman Joe Kennedy III, Bobby’s grandson, jokes that O’Rourke is ‘known as being the best-looking Kennedy in Washington.’)”

Politico: “‘He reminds me of Robert Kennedy, but more so,’ said one of them, Dianne Martin, a 71-year-old South African immigrant who met Kennedy as a schoolgirl on his 1966 trip to the country and predicts O’Rourke will be president someday. ‘I can’t tell you how much I love this man.'”

Rolling Stone: “‘I’m old enough to remember, and he reminds me of Bobby Kennedy,’ says a woman in a blue flower-print dress. ‘You can look at him and tell he means what he says.'”

Vanity Fair: “As Austin-based political strategist Brendan Steinhauser put it, it doesn’t hurt that O’Rourke ‘looks like a damn Kennedy.'”

Lots of great tips here, which apparently the media is all up on top of already.

LIZ SHELD’S MORNING BRIEF: The ChiComs Stole Hillary’s Emails and Much, Much More. “So, while the fake news media potatoes have been meowing about RUSSIA, RUSSIA COLLUSION, TRUMP TOWER RUSSIAN MEETING, the Chinese were reading all of the Secretary of State’s emails.”

I’m old enough to remember when their were legal consequences for that kind of criminal negligence.

THIS WILL END WELL: South Africa begins seizing white-owned farms.

Over a decade ago, Nick Kristof reported that Zimbabweans were nostalgic for the old days of Rhodesia:

The hungry children and the families dying of AIDS here are gut-wrenching, but somehow what I find even more depressing is this: Many, many ordinary black Zimbabweans wish that they could get back the white racist government that oppressed them in the 1970’s.

“If we had the chance to go back to white rule, we’d do it,” said Solomon Dube, a peasant whose child was crying with hunger when I arrived in his village. “Life was easier then, and at least you could get food and a job.”

Mr. Dube acknowledged that the white regime of Ian Smith was awful. But now he worries that his 3-year-old son will die of starvation, and he would rather put up with any indignity than witness that.

An elderly peasant in another village, Makupila Muzamba, said that hunger today is worse than ever before in his seven decades or so, and said: “I want the white man’s government to come back. Even if whites were oppressing us, we could get jobs and things were cheap compared to today.”

His wife, Mugombo Mudenda, remembered that as a younger woman she used to eat meat, drink tea, use sugar and buy soap. But now she cannot even afford corn gruel. “I miss the days of white rule,” she said.

Nearly every peasant I’ve spoken to in Zimbabwe echoed those thoughts.

You’d think that Zimbabwe would be a cautionary example for South Africa, but it seems to be more of a how-to guide. And hey, the political insiders got rich.

I’M SO OLD, I REMEMBER WHEN HER DAD WAS HITLER: CNN Gives Reagan Daughter Patti Davis Forum to Liken Trump to Hitler.

NO MATTER THE REASON, IT’S A GOOD THING: NATO’s East Is Rearming, But It’s Because of Putin, Not Trump.

The jump in acquisitions behind the former Iron Curtain of aircraft, ships and armored vehicles began when Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine, well before Trump’s 2016 election victory, according to analysts including Tomas Valasek, director of Carnegie Europe in Brussels. While the median defense expenditure of NATO members is 1.36 percent of gross domestic product, below the alliance’s requirement of 2 percent, eastern members comprise seven of the 13 members that are paying above that level.

“Countries on NATO’s eastern border do not need Donald Trump to boost defense spending,” Valasek said. “They decided this long before he came to power. The spending boost was because of a president, but it was Vladimir Putin, not the U.S. President.”

Constant overflights by Russian aircraft into NATO airspace, cyberattacks on government and military installations, wargames on the borders of the Baltic states and accusations that Russia was behind a failed coup in newest member Montenegro have put NATO’s eastern quadrant on alert for what it says is an increasingly expansionist Russia. Of the 15 members exceeding the bloc’s guideline that 20 percent of total defense spending should go to equipment, six are from eastern Europe.

I’m old enough to remember when Donald Rumsfeld was mocked for saying the eastern NATO countries of “new Europe” were taking defense more seriously than the traditional western NATO allies.

GOOD IDEA: The Air Force Wants Helicopters to Help Defend Nuclear Missiles. “The helos would carry rapid reaction security troops.”

The United States has 400 Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles on alert across the western United States. Sixty feet long and weighing more than 37 tons, each Minuteman III carries a 300 kiloton thermonuclear warhead and has a range of more than 8,000 miles, enough to strike any target in the Northern Hemisphere. The missiles sit in reinforced concrete and steel silos in Wyoming (Warren Air Force Base), Montana (Malmstrom Air Force Base, and North Dakota (Minot Air Force Base.) Each silo is unmanned, with up to ten silos controlled by a nearby manned Launch Control Center.

Security is generally excellent but the spread-out nature of the missile fields means they are isolated. The fact that they control nuclear weapons makes them potential targets to anyone from anti-nuclear protesters to special forces troops and saboteurs. To deal with such situations, the Air Force has special security teams trained to fly in by helicopter and secure a threatened missile site.

The Achilles Heel of the security teams are their helicopters—old, slow UH-1N Hueys. They’re the last Hueys in the Pentagon’s inventory, and the Air Force would like to replace them.

Indeed.

I remember the climax of an old Tom Clancy novel that depended in part on a US black team, inserted into China and taking out their ICBMs on the ground, by damaging the silo doors. Surely something similar has occurred to people more dangerous than a technothriller novelist.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Colleges May Reject You Based On Whom You Follow On Social Media.

Remember, when taxpayers tire of subsidizing this industry, we’ll be told it’s because of close-minded anti-intellectualism.

I’M SO OLD, I CAN REMEMBER THE LEFT’S NEW CIVILITY PLEDGE: Cops Post Mugshots Of Antifa Rioters, Liberals Freak Out.

MARINE VETERAN DAVE BROOKS CALLS OUT MEDIA FOR COMPARING THEMSELVES TO SOLDIERS:

“Let’s start with the obvious point. The vast majority of journalists didn’t sign up to protect our nation and values,” Brooks said.

The op-ed, written by Notre Dame professor Joseph Holt and titled ‘The Press Isn’t The Enemy, It’s The Protector,” tried to compare members of the media with soldiers in the military.

“This professor wasn’t even talking about journalists who do put themselves in harm’s way. He was talking about White House reporters who go to the press briefings and instead of asking questions, they pull out a soapbox and deliver sermons until Sarah Sanders shuts them down,” Brooks said.

It’s absurd, of course, for journalists to compare themselves to soldiers (or firefighters), but perhaps this is progress of a sort. I’m so old, I remember when elite journalists thought themselves so far above American soldiers, they’d sell them out simply to get a good story on the air.

(Via Ace of Spades.)

WINNING: Trump’s Ambassador To Germany Scores Another Victory Against Iran.

Grenell has scored a series of victories in recent days by successfully lobbying against a $400 million payment from the German central bank to the Islamic Republic and convincing car company Daimler to cancel expansion plans in the country.

“The Trump administration intends to fully enforce the sanctions reimposed against Iran, and those who fail to wind down activities with Iran risk severe consequences,” the White House warned in a Monday release.

Grenell was particularly instrumental in convincing Daimler to cancel its expansion and business with Iran, having met with the CEO of the company on several occasions, a U.S. official familiar with the process tells The Daily Caller.

I’m old enough to remember when leaving the Iran Deal would isolate us on the world stage and cause our trading partners to side with Tehran.

REMEMBER, THE LEFT’S GAME PLAN IS ALWAYS TO SILENCE ITS OPPONENTS, NOT TO OUT-ARGUE THEM: “Blogs shattered the Old Media monopoly during the 2004 election. Social media became an instrument to restore the power of the guild.”

CHRISTIAN TOTO: Comedy Central Inc. Calls Trump Admin Racist. “The company’s latest Tweet is Resistance on steroids, with a dollop of free speech denial.”

I’m so old, I remember when Comedy Central was about providing comedy.

MICHAEL BARONE: Liberals against freedom of conscience.

Why is it considered “liberal” to compel others to say or fund things they don’t believe?

That’s a question raised by the Supreme Court’s decisions in three cases this year. And it’s a puzzling development for those of us old enough to remember when liberals championed free speech — even when it involved advocacy of sedition or sodomy — and conservatives wanted government to restrain or limit it.

The three cases dealt with quite different issues. In National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra, a 5-4 majority of the court overturned a California statute that required anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers to inform clients where they can obtain free or inexpensive abortions — something the people operating these centers regard as homicide.

The same 5-4 majority in a second case, Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, reversed a 41-year-old precedent by ruling that public employees don’t have to pay unions fees covering the cost of collective bargaining. The court, echoing a position taken by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s, reasoned that collective bargaining with a public employer is inevitably a political matter and that forcing employees to finance it is compelling them to subsidize political speech with which they disagree.

In the third case, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the court avoided a direct decision on whether a baker, whose Christian beliefs oppose same-sex marriage, could refuse to custom design a wedding cake for a gay couple, despite a state law barring discrimination against gays. Seven justices ruled that the commission showed an impermissible animus against religion, but the four liberal justices endorsed a separate opinion indicating they’d otherwise rule against the baker.

Using naked force against one’s enemies, to their humiliation, is a core appeal of leftism.

HISTORY: My Great-Grandfather, the Nigerian Slave-Trader.

Down the hill, near the river, in an area now overrun by bush, is the grave of my most celebrated ancestor: my great-grandfather Nwaubani Ogogo Oriaku. Nwaubani Ogogo was a slave trader who gained power and wealth by selling other Africans across the Atlantic. “He was a renowned trader,” my father told me proudly. “He dealt in palm produce and human beings.”

Long before Europeans arrived, Igbos enslaved other Igbos as punishment for crimes, for the payment of debts, and as prisoners of war. The practice differed from slavery in the Americas: slaves were permitted to move freely in their communities and to own property, but they were also sometimes sacrificed in religious ceremonies or buried alive with their masters to serve them in the next life. When the transatlantic trade began, in the fifteenth century, the demand for slaves spiked. Igbo traders began kidnapping people from distant villages. Sometimes a family would sell off a disgraced relative, a practice that Ijoma Okoro, a professor of Igbo history at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, likens to the shipping of British convicts to the penal colonies in Australia: “People would say, ‘Let them go. I don’t want to see them again.’ ” Between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries, nearly one and a half million Igbo slaves were sent across the Middle Passage. . . .

Nwaubani Ogogo was so esteemed that, when he died, a leopard was killed, and six slaves were buried alive with him. My family inherited his canvas shoes, which he wore at a time when few Nigerians owned footwear, and the chains of his slaves, which were so heavy that, as a child, my father could hardly lift them. Throughout my upbringing, my relatives gleefully recounted Nwaubani Ogogo’s exploits. When I was about eight, my father took me to see the row of ugba trees where Nwaubani Ogogo kept his slaves chained up. In the nineteen-sixties, a family friend who taught history at a university in the U.K. saw Nwaubani Ogogo’s name mentioned in a textbook about the slave trade. Even my cousins who lived abroad learned that we had made it into the history books.

Interesting reading. I remember that Zora Neale Hurston’s Barracoon couldn’t find a publisher because it focused too much on the African role in the slave trade. Now Africans are talking about it themselves.

VIDEO: SOCIALIST “IT GIRL” STARS IN NEW BLOOPER REEL. “Good luck with that moderate Dems. You’re having another McGovern moment. I’m old enough to remember how the last one turned out.”

DON’T MESS WITH TEXAS. IT’S A GLOBAL OIL SUPERPOWER: Texas to pass Iraq and Iran as world’s No. 3 oil powerhouse.

I’m so old, I remember a president who said we couldn’t drill our way to lower energy prices.

GOOD LUCK WITH THAT: A.G. Underwood And Gov. Cuomo Announce Lawsuit To Protect New York Taxpayers From Drastic Cut In State And Local Tax Deduction. “The lawsuit argues that the new SALT cap was enacted to target New York and similarly situated states, that it interferes with states’ rights to make their own fiscal decisions, and that it will disproportionately harm taxpayers in these states.”

I’m so old, I remember when paying your fair share was patriotic.

More to the point, the relevant law reads: “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.” And the courts have ruled consistently that the 16th Amendment’s broad powers are, well, really broad.

But if Underwood and Cuomo want to spearhead a movement to repeal the 16th, I’d be cool with that.

ANGELO CODEVILLA: Diplomacy 101 vs. Politics Writ Small.

The high professional quality of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin’s performance at their Monday press conference in Helsinki contrasts sharply with the obloquy by which the bipartisan U.S. ruling class showcases its willful incompetence.

Though I voted for Trump, I’ve never been a fan of his and I am not one now. But, having taught diplomacy for many years, I would choose the Trump-Putin press conference as an exemplar of how these things should be done. Both spoke with the frankness and specificity of serious business. This performance rates an A+.

Well. A performance depends on its intended audience. If the intended audience was the U.S. political class, then Trump gets an F. So who was Trump’s (and Putin’s) intended audience. Audiences?

Meanwhile, some lefties are warning about the anti-Trump hysteria: Steve Vladeck writes: Americans have forgotten what ‘treason’ actually means — and how it can be abused: We are willfully turning a blind eye to the sordid history of treason that led to its unique treatment in the U.S. Constitution. If you cheapen the definition of treason, you had better be ready to be called traitors, and perhaps treated as such.

Likewise, Jay Michaelson in The Daily Beast: Stop Saying Trump Committed ‘Treason.’ You’re Playing Into His Hands.

Treason is clearly defined in the Constitution, which states, in Article III, Section 3: “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.”

This definition does not apply to Trump. He is not levying war against the United States, and to be an “enemy” requires that a state of war exists between the United States and the foreign nation in question.

That does not exist in the case of Russia. Congress has not declared war, and Russia’s alleged cyberattacks, while they may constitute acts of war in the abstract, have not been regarded as such by the United States. (Last year, the European Union announced it would begin regarding cyberattacks as acts of war.)

Even when Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were convicted of spying for the Soviet Union, they weren’t charged with treason, because the Cold War was undeclared, and not a formal “war.” Nor were other Russian spies such as Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen.

In fact, the only indictment of treason since World War II was of American-born al Qaeda supporter Adam Gadahn. Unlike Russia, al Qaeda is a formal “enemy” of the United States, because Congress authorized war against it. And in fitting with war, Gadahn was killed in a U.S. airstrike in 2015.

Perhaps the domestic political class was Trump’s intended audience, and he intended them to go batshit crazy. In that case, A+.

Meanwhile, Roger Kimball writes: What Critics Missed About the Trump-Putin Summit.

As becomes more and more clear as the first Trump Administration evolves, this president is someone who is willing, nay eager, to challenge the bureaucratic status quo, on domestic issues as well as in foreign policy.

Trump inherited a world order on the international front that was constructed in the immediate aftermath of World War II and has subsequently amassed a thick, barnacle-like carapace of bureaucratic procedures. Perhaps those procedures and the institutions that deploy them continue to serve American interests. But what if they don’t?

As I’ve said, the best way to understand the Trump presidency is as the renegotiation of the post-World War II institutional structure. Naturally, the barnacles don’t like that. Maybe they’re right, maybe they’re wrong, but the intensity of their screaming indicates their emotional (and livelihood) investment, not who’s right.

Meanwhile, if the argument is that Trump is a Putin stooge, the arguers have to deal with the fact that Trump is clearly harder on Russia than Obama was, or than Hillary, by all appearances, would have been. Even NeverTrumper Eric Erickson writes: Remember, Trump’s Policies Against Russia Have Been Tougher Than Obama’s.

We’ve been killing Russian mercenaries in Syria. We have expanded and enhanced NATO’s footprint in Eastern Europe over Russian objections. We have sold military weaponry to Ukraine. We have been indicting Russians for interfering in our elections. We have imposed sanctions on Russian oligarchs. We have imposed sanctions on Russia itself. We have actively been aiding Britain and other governments that have seen a Russian presence with targeted assassinations. “We” being the United States under Donald Trump. (See also this thread by James Kirchick)

The media and left would have you believe Donald Trump is captive to Russia. Lately, they’ve been pushing the idea that he may be some sort of sleeper cell Manchurian candidate who Putin owns and controls.

A fellow law prof (of the lefty variety) was even speculating the other day on social media that Melania was Trump’s KGB control agent.

As Walter Russell Mead wrote last year:

If Trump were the Manchurian candidate that people keep wanting to believe that he is, here are some of the things he’d be doing:

Limiting fracking as much as he possibly could
Blocking oil and gas pipelines
Opening negotiations for major nuclear arms reductions
Cutting U.S. military spending
Trying to tamp down tensions with Russia’s ally Iran

That Trump is planning to do precisely the opposite of these things may or may not be good policy for the United States, but anybody who thinks this is a Russia appeasement policy has been drinking way too much joy juice.

Obama actually did all of these things, and none of the liberal media now up in arms about Trump ever called Obama a Russian puppet; instead, they preferred to see a brave, farsighted and courageous statesman.

So I don’t know if Trump knows what he’s doing. (As proof that his remarks were dumb, he’s already walked them back.) American presidents have historically done badly in their first meetings with Russian leaders, from Kennedy at Vienna to George W. staring into Putin’s soul. And as a general rule, Presidents don’t criticize their own intelligence agencies while at meetings with foreign adversaries. But then, as a general rule, U.S. intelligence agencies aren’t supposed to be involved in domestic politics up to their elbows, as has clearly been the case here. And don’t get me started on John Brennan’s disgraceful comments, which Rand Paul correctly calls “completely unhinged.” Brennan, like his colleagues Comey and Clapper, has made clear the rot at the top of important intelligence agencies, and people like Peter Strzok suggest that the rot extends some ways down from the head. So maybe the general rules don’t apply any more, and Trump is more a symptom than a cause of that.

So maybe his approach to Putin is disastrous, maybe it’s smart. But the most important thing Trump can do is get a better class of people in charge of the institutions where the rot is worst. I don’t know if he can do that at all.

PAST PERFORMANCE IS NO GUARANTEE OF FUTURE RESULTS. Hillary begins speech: ‘I’m so tired, I can barely stand.’

I’m so old, I can remember when Hillary was still in no ways tired.

LIBERAL MEDIA SEES A RUSSIAN CONSPIRACY IN EVERY TRUMP POLICY WITH WHICH THEY DISAGREE.

I’m so old, I remember when the left believed that conservatives saw Russians under every bed.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Feminist scholar slams hot-wing-eating show for ‘inequitable gender hierarchies.’ Remember, when taxpayers tire of funding this sort of thing, we’ll be told it’s because of “anti-intellectualism.”

BECAUSE IT’S NO FUN GETTING THERE WITHOUT GIVING THE GOVERNMENT MORE POWER: U.S. CO2 Levels Drop Again — So Why Aren’t Green Groups Rejoicing?

The new report, based on U.S. data, shows clearly the U.S. continuing downward trend.

“The U.S. emitted 15.6 metric tons of CO2 per person in 1950,” wrote the Daily Caller. “After rising for decades, it’s declined in recent years to 15.8 metric tons per person in 2017, the lowest measured levels in 67 years.”

That’s right. 67 years. Green groups and leftist climate extremists should be exulting. The U.S. has found a way to produce more GDP — making all of us better off — with less energy.

Meanwhile, Europe has imposed massive economy-deadening regulations on its economies in order to reduce CO2 output. How has that worked?

Last year, European output of CO2 rose 1.5%, while U.S. output fell 0.5%. For the record, the disaster predicted when President Trump left the Paris climate agreement and rejected draconian EPA restrictions on power plants hasn’t materialized. On the contrary, the U.S. model has been shown to be superior.

This isn’t the first time we’ve reported the ongoing decline in U.S. CO2. And if current trends hold, it won’t be the last. And, to be sure, it is a long-term trend. . . .

Question: Over the same period, how did the rest of the world do? Emissions rose by 21% to 6.04 billion metric tons over the 12 years, mostly due to booming economic growth in India and China, where coal-fired energy output continues to expand.

The truth, and it’s proven by the hard data, is that CO2 made in the USA will not choke the world to death or cause it to massively overheat. And you can thank capitalism for that.

Well, they’re not going to do that. The thing to remember is, environmentalism is the excuse for the policies they champion, not the reason.

WELL, THIS HARSHES THE NARRATIVE: House Democrat: ‘China declared trade war,’ not Trump.

President Trump isn’t to blame for the outbreak of a trade war with China, a senior House Democrat argued Wednesday.

“We’re now told that this is Trump’s trade war,” Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., said during a Foreign Affairs subcommittee hearing. “No, China declared trade war on the United States, 18 years ago.”

Sherman traced the economic clash back to 2000, when lawmakers formalized China’s privileged economic relationship by voting in favor of “permanent normal trade relations” with the Communist power. That legislation codified what previously had been known as “most-favored nation” status in trade with the U.S. And Sherman, who voted against the bill at the time, warned colleagues not to flip-flop on the policy out of hostility to Trump.

“Before Democrats get carried away with the desire to repudiate our position, remember that 65 percent of Democrats voted ‘no’ on MFN [most favored nation status] for China,” he said. “We should not abandon that position just because some Republicans and the White House have embraced it.”

I dunno, that seems to be the way things are done nowadays.

AS VENEZUELA CIRCLES THE DRAIN, remember why that is. “Under capitalism, the rich grow powerful. Under socialism, the powerful grow rich — and everyone else grows poor.”

KURT SCHLICHTER IS ASKING THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS: Should We Invade Mexico?

I’m so old, I remember when the question du jour was whether or not to invade Canada.

I’m pretty sure the latter is the equivalent of going into Wisconsin.

EZRA LEVANT: “Male feminist Justin Trudeau is just as handsy as Bill Clinton was.”

This Creston groping incident would sink another politician. In fact, Trudeau himself has fired a number of Liberal MPs from his caucus for less.

The Canadian Media Party ignored the story.

But slowly, as the foreign press ate the Canadian Media Party’s lunch on this, a few Canadian reporters summoned the courage to put a question to their precious leader. But it was just stranger and stranger.

The UK Guardian has the headline, “Trudeau: I apologised to reporter behind groping claim. Canadian PM ‘very confident’ he did not act inappropriately at music festival in 2000.” Say what you will about Trudeau, but Prime Minister Zoolander sure can tap dance:

Trudeau addressed the allegation briefly on Monday, describing the day of the event as a “good day” and one in which he did not recall any “negative interactions”.

After calls for an independent investigation into the claim and opposition criticism of his initial response, Trudeau addressed the issue at length on Thursday.

“I’ve been reflecting very carefully on what I remember from that incident almost 20 years ago,” he told reporters. “I do not feel that I acted inappropriately in any way. But I respect the fact that someone else might have experienced that differently.”

When asked about why he had apologised to the woman after the alleged incident, Trudeau said: “If I apologised later, it would be because I sensed that she was not entirely comfortable with the interaction that we had.”

Pressed further, he acknowledged he had atoned for his actions at the time. “I apologised in the moment,” he said, without giving details.

Trudeau said he had not attempted to contact the woman, nor had anyone from his team. “We don’t think that would be appropriate at all.”

He said the issues surrounding sexual assault and other behaviours had been something he had been actively engaged in since his early 20s. He characterised the allegation against him as part of an “awakening” currently taking place in society.

“I don’t want to speak for her, I don’t want to presume how she feels now,” Trudeau said. “I’m responsible for my side of the interaction, which certainly – as I said – I don’t feel was in anyway untoward.”

He continued: “But at the same time, this lesson that we are learning – and I’ll be blunt about it – often a man experiences an interaction as being benign, or not inappropriate, and a woman, particularly in a professional context can experience it differently. And we have to respect that, and reflect on it.”

As Rex Murphy of Canada’s National Post writes, in an article found via Small Dead Animals titled, “Trudeau’s ‘awakening’ on groping allegations is (ahem) a bit of a reach,” “And as for the incident being ‘an awakening we’re having as a society,’ that is delusionary nonsense, a string of ‘tone’ words, the vague, anxious music of virtue-signalling hummed by someone in a tight political spot. The thought is inescapable that whoever is devising the ‘communications strategy’ on this incident has a grudge against the prime minister, and is running a private experiment to see how many strange and illogical ramblings he can put in his mouth.”

When does he vow to produce more feminist-themed motion pictures and double-down on his fight against Trump and the NRA?

(Incidentally do not miss the photo of young Zoolander Trudeau, complete with exotic facial topiary and stylin’ shades from the 2000 Creston festival that accompanies Murphy’s article.)

‘A CRIMINAL ORGANIZATION MASQUERADING AS A POLITICAL PARTY’ is how Michael Walsh, writing in the guise of his leftwing alter-ego, David Kahane, has described the Democratic party on occasion. And the New York Times, its house organ, concurs! In an article yesterday titled “Democrats: Do Not Surrender the Judiciary,” the Gray Lady’s editorial board has a modest plan for their party:

With Republicans controlling the Senate and the judicial filibuster dead, the Democrats’ odds of denying President Trump a second Supreme Court appointment are slim. Barring some unforeseen development, the president will lock in a 5-to-4 conservative majority, shifting the court solidly to the right for a generation.

This is all the more reason for Democrats and progressives to take a page from “The Godfather” and go to the mattresses on this issue.

“I’m confused on if 1. Anyone on The NY Times Ed Board has seen The Godfather or if 2. They have and are suggesting starting a murderous mob war to prevent a SCOTUS pick,” Stephen Miller asks. “Because THIS is what happens when you go to the mattresses,” Twitchy adds:

I’m old enough to remember when the left wanted gun-related metaphors to be considered the equivalent of the N-word; now they’re ready to launch mob wars and put horses’ heads into beds. I eagerly await Paul Krugman’s condemnation of his own newspaper’s eliminationist rhetoric.

MAX BOOT JOINS GEORGE WILL IN SAYING THAT DEMOCRATS MUST WIN IN ORDER TO PURIFY THE GOP, OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT:

Personally, I’ve thrown up my hands in despair at the debased state of the GOP. I don’t want to be identified with the party of the child-snatchers. ..

…a vote for the GOP in November is also a vote for egregious obstruction of justice, rampant conflicts of interest, the demonization of minorities, the debasement of political discourse, the alienation of America’s allies, the end of free trade and the appeasement of dictators.

That is why I join Will and other principled conservatives, both current and former Republicans, in rooting for a Democratic takeover of both houses in November. Like postwar Germany and Japan, the Republican Party must be destroyed before it can be rebuilt.

I’m so old, I can remember when conservatives still supported legal immigration, shrinking the government, voted for Republicans, and recoiled at Nazi comparisons.

PAST PERFORMANCE IS NO GUARANTEE OF FUTURE RESULTS:

● Shot:

The NYPD used a $3 million counterterrorism plane to shuttle Mayor Bill de Blasio back and forth from his Canada vacation to the Big Apple for an event Thursday, The Post has learned.

Hizzoner, who is in Quebec on a weeklong respite, briefly flew back to the Bronx for a memorial for slain Detective Miosotis Familia.

“NYPD is transporting him in their plane,” de Blasio spokesman Eric Phillips told The Post.

“Their plane” is a Cessna 208 Caravan that cost roughly $3 million and was picked up by the department in 2017, sources said.

The high-tech aircraft is outfitted with special sensors that can detect at a distance radioactive material used to make “dirty bombs.”

Police sources questioned the use of a special plane for mayoral transportation.

“It is very unusual to go on an international flight to go pick up the mayor,” one source said.

De Blasio used a $3M counterterrorism plane to zip home from vacation, the New York Post, Thursday.

● Chaser:

A week after a brutal snowstorm froze New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio delivered a one-two punch Wednesday in the name of climate change, announcing he will seek billions in damages from five major oil-and-gas companies while moving to divest from fossil fuels.

“It’s time for them to start paying for the damage they have done,” Mr. de Blasio said at a press conference at the Manhattan Youth Center. “It’s time for Big Oil to take responsibility for the devastation they have wrought.”

The two-front attack was promptly pilloried by industry groups as a cynical political stunt, even as it put New York City at the forefront of the environmental movement’s campaign to recruit local governments as allies in the climate change fight.

Flanked by municipal leaders and top climate activists, the Democratic mayor said his goal is to divest the $189 billion public-pension funds from fossil fuels by 2022, which he said would make New York the first major U.S. city to do so.

Mr. de Blasio also announced that the city has filed a lawsuit against five top energy producers, blaming the companies for greenhouse-gas emissions that he said have produced disasters such as Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

“I remember those days after Sandy in the Lower East Side. I remember how desperate it was. I remember how much fear and confusion there was,” said Mr. de Blasio. “And this was a tragedy that was wrought by the actions of the fossil-fuel companies. Let’s be clear: That’s where it came from.”

New York City mayor seeks billions from oil companies, blames them for climate change, the Washington Times, January 10.

● Hangover: NYC will pay you big bucks for ratting out idling trucks, buses.

—The New York Post, yesterday.

If he actually believed global warming is that existential a crisis, shouldn’t at the very least De Blasio fly commercial, as well as keeping the amount of his personal transportation down to a bare minimum? I don’t want to hear another goddamn word about Glenn Reynolds’ carbon footprint ever again.

OH, TEH GRAUNIAD NEVER CHANGE: The Guardian fan-girls over yet another Clinton – by Amanda S. Green.

AND BY THE WAY, AMANDA HAS A NEW BOOK OUT: Fire from Ashes.

At war with an old enemy, betrayed by a supposed ally, Fuercon is a system on the brink of disaster. All that stands between it and defeat are its Space Navy and Marines – and the fact the betrayer does not yet know its secret plans have been discovered. But will that be enough to turn the tide of war?

Honor and duty.

Honor and duty have guided Colonel Ashlyn Shaw’s life for as long as she can remember. Honor kept her sane when she was betrayed by those she had fought beside. Duty gave her reason to trust again once the betrayal came to light and her name, as well as the names of her fellow Devil Dogs, was cleared. Now she and the Marines under her command are once again asked to risk their lives to protect Fuercon from its enemies.

Family and the Corps.

They are why she fights. She knows what will happen to them should Fuercon fall to the Callusians. Their lives are worth any sacrifice she must make to help keep their homeworld safe.

Betrayal.

The not-so-secret driving force of Ashlyn’s life. Four years ago, someone betrayed her and her command. That person now works to betray Fuercon. Ashlyn is determined to discover who – and why – and bring them to justice.

The storm clouds of war gather and time is running out. Will Ashlyn and the Devil Dogs be able to turn back the enemy and unmask the betrayer before all is lost?

REMEMBER WHEN THE FACT THAT MORE WOMEN WERE GOING TO COLLEGE AND GRADUATE SCHOOL WAS PROOF THAT MEN ARE LOSERS? NOW: Student loan debt just hit $1.5 trillion. Women hold most of it. I predict that the proposed solutions will involve transferring money from men to pay it off.

If only someone had warned them.

SALENA ZITO: Let’s raise a pint to putting our political differences aside.

Since the 2016 election, Americans are more politically divided than ever. The conversation has become so polarized and turned up to a decibel level so high, the dial has broken. An August 2017 survey by the American Psychological Association reported that 63 percent of Americans said they feel stressed about the future of our nation — more than they feel stressed about money (62 percent) or work (61 percent). Amazingly, every generation said they feel that “this is the lowest point in our nation’s history that they can remember,” with 59 percent of millennials, 61 percent of Gen Xers, 57 percent of Boomers and 56 percent of older adults agreeing with that sentiment.

“It used to be you could have a civil conversation about politics, but since the presidential election, politics has been beaten over our heads in everything we do — from entertainment to sports to the things you buy,” says Oppman, from Hermitage, Pa. “Everyone from employers to corporations has picked a side and it’s just everywhere. It’s just nice to enjoy people as people, not as someone who holds a particular political position.”

Well, unless politics is your religion, and you feel commanded to persecute heretics.

PAST PERFORMANCE IS NO GUARANTEE OF FUTURE RESULTS:

● Shot:

Arnold Schwarzenegger heavily criticized President Donald Trump’s plan to rescue struggling coal plants, likening the move to saving antiquated products like floppy disks or Beanie Babies.

Famous movie star-turned-politician-turned environmental activist Arnold Schwarzenegger lampooned Trump in a Facebook video released Thursday. In the three-and-a-half minute video, he said the White House’s proposal to bailout coal and nuclear energy plants at grave risk of closure to be the wrong approach. The former GOP governor of California wants the administration to focus on developing the renewable industry instead.

“So President Trump, I know you really want to be an action hero, right?” Schwarzenegger said as he spoke inches away from a bobblehead made in Trump’s likeness. “So take it from the Terminator, you’re only supposed to go back in time to protect future generations. But your administration attempts to go back in time to rescue the coal industry, which is actually a threat to future generations.”

“It is foolish to bring back laughable, outdated technology to suit your political agenda,” he continued, with clips of famous movie scenes inserted in the video. “I mean, what are you going to bring back next? Floppy disks? Fax machines? Beanie Babies? Beepers? Or Blockbuster? Think about it.”

—“Arnold Schwarzenegger throws coal miners under the bus to mock Trump on the environment,” headline, Biz Pac Review, yesterday.

● Chaser:

Everything about America seemed so big to me, so open, so possible.

I finally arrived here in 1968. What a special day it was. I remember I arrived here with empty pockets but full of dreams, full of determination, full of desire.

The presidential campaign was in full swing. I remember watching the Nixon-Humphrey presidential race on TV. A friend of mine who spoke German and English translated for me. I heard Humphrey saying things that sounded like socialism, which I had just left.

But then I heard Nixon speak. Then I heard Nixon speak. He was talking about free enterprise, getting the government off your back, lowering the taxes and strengthening the military.

Listening to Nixon speak sounded more like a breath of fresh air.

I said to my friend, I said, “What party is he?”

My friend said, “He’s a Republican.”

I said, “Then I am a Republican.”

And I have been a Republican ever since. And trust me — and trust me — in my wife’s family, that’s no small achievement.

But I am proud to be with the party of Abraham Lincoln, the party of Teddy Roosevelt, the party of Ronald Reagan, and the party of George W. Bush.

—Excerpt from then Gov. Schwarzenegger’s speech at the 2004 Republican Convention.

I’m so old, I remember when Schwarzenegger’s critics accused him of not being a very good actor.

MORE SELF-CRITICISM THAN YOU GET FROM MOST JOURNALISTS: Some of the pictures of border kids that haunt me most are from 2014. Here’s why.

What Free described on Twitter was an opportunity that few people get: A chance to personally confront the president of the United States and question him about his immigration policies. Free wrote that the answers he received from the so-called leader of the free world “shook me to my core.”

The immigration lawyer had been to two large detention centers in Texas where U.S. officials were holding hundreds of migrant families from Central America, often for months at a time. Free said some of the conditions at these makeshift detention camps were appalling.

“I remember hearing the constant, violent coughing and sickness of small children, and the worry of their mothers who stood in the sun outside the clinic all day only to be told their kids should ‘drink water,’” Free tweeted. “I remember nearly doubling over when I saw the line of strollers.”

When Free had a chance encounter with the president at a political event, he warned him that the detention centers would be “a stain on his legacy.” He said the president wanted to know if Free was an immigration lawyer — implying that everyday citizens weren’t worried about what goes on at the border — and then said, according to Free: “I’ll tell you what we can’t have, it’s these parents sending their kids here on a dangerous journey and putting their lives at risk.” The message that Free took away was that the president saw family detention as a deterrent to keep more refugees from coming.

This happened in 2015. The president with the looming stain on his legacy was Barack Obama. . . .

Let’s be honest: Do you think it’s outrageous when an attorney for the U.S. Justice Department argues that kids as little as 3-years-old are capable of defending themselves in American immigration courts. I know I do. But that happened — with few people paying attention — in 2016, when the attorney general was Loretta Lynch and Obama was POTUS.

Then there was the Associated Press scoop that went viral last week about migrant kids as young as 14 who say they were beaten while handcuffed, locked up in solitary confinement, and left naked in concrete cells at a juvenile detention center in Virginia — which happened in 2015 and 2016, long before Donald J. Trump became our 45th and current president.

Right now, the protest movement that, arguably, pressured Trump into ending family separations — for now — is turning its focus to the cruelty of family detention, which could also keep kids in a prison-type setting for months, albeit with their parents. So it’s worth noting that the Obama administration was in court as recently as 2016 fighting for exactly that, the right to detain families indefinitely.

Yeah, but it’s different when The Lightworker does it because shut up.

ACLU SECRETLY DEMOTES FREE SPEECH:

The left bailed on free speech a while back. Everyone who has been paying attention knows this.

Less widely known is that the ACLU seems to be bailing too. So argues Wendy Kaminer, a former board member, in the Wall Street Journal.

Kaminer reports on new ACLU guidelines governing case selection and “Conflicts Between Competing Values or Priorities.” According to Kaminer, the guidelines are contained in a secret, internal document that wasn’t to be seen even by ACLU members. It was distributed to select ACLU officials and board members, who were instructed not to share it.

As portrayed by Kaminer, the guidelines suggest that, for today’s ACLU, free speech is just another “competing value or priority” to be balanced against others. Per the guidelines, in selecting speech cases to defend, the ACLU will now balance the “impact of the proposed speech and the impact of its suppression.” Factors like the potential effect of the speech on “marginalized communities” and even on “the ACLU’s credibility” could militate against taking a case.

Fundraising and communications officials helped formulate the new guidelines, according to Kaniner’s sources. These officials understand that free speech values do not appeal to the ACLU’s increasingly partisan leftist constituency, especially after the 2017 rally in Charlottesville.

Back in 2003, the late Steven Den Beste compared the ACLU with Amnesty International, after the latter forgot its original mission (remember those “to freedom!” ads that ran on MTV in the 1980s?) over how its members (read: fundraisers) viewed the Iraq War:

It’s not going too far to say that many of Amnesty International’s members have approximately as strongly negative of feelings now about America and George Bush as the ACLU’s members had about the Nazis when the ACLU defended them in Skokie.

The ACLU made the principled decision and weathered the downturn in contributions. When condemnation of Iraq didn’t make AI look as if it was aligning with America, Amnesty International was willing to try to shine a spotlight on the abuses there. But now AI has suddenly gone silent. The abuses against the citizens of Iraq have not stopped; indeed they’ve gotten worse. In addition to ongoing violent repression of Iraq’s civilian population, various Iraqi military and para-military units have been directly violating the Geneva Convention by, for instance, abusing the white flag of truce, and by using protected humanitarian facilities to hold military equipment, and by using “human shields” in combat, and by directly firing at refugees, and in numerous other ways.

And what we’re seeing is that AI seems unwilling to make more than oblique mention of these things, while at the same time explicitly condemning the US for what are at best minor transgressions by comparison. Why is it more important to strongly focus attention on “censorship” while ignoring mass slaughter of refugees?

In retrospect, Conquest’s second law of politics dictates that it was only a matter of time before the ACLU would similarly lose the thread.

I’M SO OLD, I CAN REMEMBER WHEN THE CAMP OF THE SAINTS WAS JUST A NOVEL: ‘It’s A Human Right’ — Mexican Presidential Candidate Calls For Mass Exodus To America.

QUESTION ASKED: Why Does a Nation of 320 Million Need Millions of More Immigrants?

I’m so old, I remember when the left was still obsessed with zero population growth.

I’M SO OLD, I CAN REMEMBER WHEN BILLIONAIRES SPENDING TO INFLUENCE ELECTIONS WERE A THREAT TO DEMOCRACY: Michael Bloomberg Will Spend $80 Million on the Midterms. His Goal: Flip the House for the Democrats.

ROGER SIMON: Disneyland Pyongyang? Can Trump Co-Opt Kim?

This speaks to what Trump is attempting.  A creature of popular culture himself, he knows its allure and how to utilize it.  Whether he will succeed is anybody’s guess, but it is a different way of dealing in international diplomacy and more than worth trying. Perhaps he should bring along a bag of Big Macs and some fries to the negotiation.

Okay, maybe not, but the underpinnings of all this are not new.  Those of us old enough to remember recall the subversive nature of American culture during Soviet times,  clandestine jazz concerts in Moscow boîtes, hidden screenings of certain movies, samizdat publication of forbidden novels, etc. Everybody wanted it, even, apparently, General Secretary Andropov.

Read the whole thing. Maybe Trump should simply invite Kim Jong-un to visit the Safeway in Houston.

BOBBY KENNEDY, FIFTY YEARS ON:

A lot of the gauzy image of RFK owes to his horrible killing and a lot of romantic revisionism by liberals, just as they did with JFK and the contrived “Camelot” legend after JFK’s killing in 1963. Perhaps the worst thing that could have happened to Robert Kennedy’s reputation is if he had not been killed. First of all, it is unlikely he’d have won the Democratic nomination in 1968.  On the morning of the California primary 50 years ago today, Hubert Humphrey remarked to an aide: “I want Bobby to win big. Number one, there are too many party leaders opposed to him for him to have any real chance of winning the nomination. Number two, since Oregon [where Kennedy had lost to McCarthy], he can’t use the argument that he went right through the primaries.” Bobby didn’t win big; his margin over McCarthy was only 5 percent—short of the landslide he needed. Incidentally, Kennedy played the racial demagogue with McCarthy in their one TV debate, with the totally false charge that “You say you want to move 10,000 black people to Orange County. . .” So much for the “racial healer.”

* * * * * * * *

The more durable strain of romantic myth is that King and Kennedy’s killings spelled the end of hope, the end of the dream, that America could redeem itself through politics.  “With King and Kennedy dead,” New Left historian Todd Gitlin wrote, “a promise of redemption not only passed out of American politics, it passed out of ourselves,” and Carl Oglesby of the SDS said “When these two heroes were killed, the movement was silenced.  The whole procedural foundation of our politics was shattered.”  This is nonsense, an exercise in selective memory and convenient revisionism: prior to their death the Left had little use for King, and no use for Kennedy. Remember that after King’s killing Stokely Carmichael said, “Bobby Kennedy pulled that trigger, just as well as anybody else.”   Kennedy especially was a threat to the New Left precisely because he appealed to the same youth constituency the New Left needed to survive and prosper. Kennedy’s position on Vietnam was to the right of McCarthy (and was not that far different from the “Vietnamization” policy that Nixon later embraced).  Tom Hayden always made great show about attending RFK’s funeral, holding his Cuban army cap in hand, tears streaming down his face.  Yet only a few days before Kennedy was killed Hayden had referred to Kennedy as “a little fascist.”

I’m not sure how much room Hayden had to talk on that last subject, but as RFK told Kansas State U in March of 1968, quoting from early “Progressive” William Allen White, “If our colleges and universities do not breed men who riot, who rebel, who attack life with all their youthful vision and vigor then there is something wrong with our colleges. The more riots that come on college campuses, the better the world for tomorrow.”

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

I’M OLD ENOUGH TO REMEMBER WHEN MAKING FUN OF OUR PRESIDENT’S DAUGHTER WOULD RUIN YOUR LIFE.

The morning after the uneventful pardoning, my news feed began blowing up with stories about a GOP hill staffer named Elizabeth Lauten, who worked for a backbencher congressman. She decided to criticize the Obama daughters on her Facebook page. Lauten attacked their fashion choices, writing in part, “Dear Sasha and Malia, I get you’re both in those awful teen years, but you’re a part of the First Family, try showing a little class. Rise to the occasion. Act like being in the White House matters to you. Dress like you deserve respect, not a spot at a bar.”

Her post made the media world go apoplectic. It began a 72 hour outrage cycle. Lauten was called racist, bigoted and insensitive. The cultural zeitgeist would not be satisfied unless it received due punishment for the crime. Lauten was of course fired, even though she apologized the same day.

Her political career was ruined forever.

As I wrote at the time, “In a city where image is everything, this is about the worst thing that can happen to a person. To this day, Lauten has found it impossible to get re-hired in the public sector. The media got its scalp and the precedent was set: Do not attack a President’s children.”

Since then, the cultural paradigm has shifted.

Judging by CNN’s Brian Stelter, I’m not sure what the problem is:

Has it come this? I’m sorry, I thought this was America — are we not allowed to say “feckless” anymore? The “scooplet” is also a nice touch, since Stelter is being fed information by an affiliated network so that he can aid  in their PR cleanup effort.

I’M SO OLD, I CAN REMEMBER HOLLYWOOD’S #METOO ERA: Hollywood Women Invalidate Themselves in Supporting Samantha Bee.

Today celebrities — actresses — are coming forward to essentially declare that some women just have it coming. After more than half a year pleading with us to fix the problems that women are facing we now learn that our cultural elite believe certain women deserve to be degraded. Staggering to consider, after Hollywood and the media have been posturing the need to eliminate this very poison.

It was in 2015, when Hillary Clinton was launching her Presidential run, that a list of banned words was issued that should not be used when writing about the female candidate. Innocuous terms like “ambitious”, and “inevitable” were said to be forbidden for carrying sexist overtones. In just three years we now see the media defending vulgar epithets as acceptable in describing a prominent female in politics.

But this is our current climate. The need to apply one of only two labels to any story means these contradictions will be ever present. A day after the press was telling us to stop being crude they excuse Samantha Bee. While the entertainment industry demands women be treated better they applaud treating a woman in this fashion. The party that claims to support women, and claims conservative wage a war-on-women, now praises degrading a woman and mother in this fashion.

As Charles C.W. Cooke writes, “Samantha Bee’s Defenders Play Calvinball with the Language:”

Attempts to appeal to the speaker’s humanity — “that’s not the Ann I know!” — would fall flat. And not just in the case of an Ann Coulter or a Sean Hannity, but for anyone on the “wrong” side. If the speaker were tough to paint as a sexist, the word would be used instead as an example of the “latent” sexism of American culture — a sexism so potent that it pulls even ostensibly good people into its clasps. Breathless comparisons to The Handmaid’s Tale would become de rigeur. And in would come the headshakers: “There’s just so much more work to be done,” they would sigh. “That the word came to mind in the first place shows that we’ve failed.”

But when Samantha Bee does it? It’s just a “word choice.” Hell, she might as well as have said “asparagus.”

When you’re “in the family,” you have the full protection of the soldato.

ALL BETTER NOW? Samantha Bee apologizes to Ivanka Trump: ‘I crossed a line.’

I would like to sincerely apologize to Ivanka Trump and to my viewers for using an expletive on my show to describe her last night. It was inappropriate and inexcusable. I crossed a line, and I deeply regret it.

It was “inappropriate and inexcusable” and entirely scripted and prerecorded, and TBS’s standards & practices division (aka, the network censors) allowed the show to air, presumably after previewing it. As Sean Davis tweets, “If the Turner non-reaction so far is any guide, Roseanne’s big mistake was putting her comments on Twitter instead of in her show’s script. The fact that a whole network reviewed, approved, promoted, and aired Bee’s scripted slur is the best protection Bee could ever buy,” adding that “The Roseanne and Samantha Bee scandals aren’t comparable. Roseanne wrote something on Twitter and her show was immediately cancelled. In the case of Samantha Bee, an entire network’s legal and editorial team knew exactly what Bee would say, approved it, and broadcast it.”

So it’s very likely this check-the-box apology will be enough for her to keep her job amidst the destructive malevolence that is Time-Warner-CNN-HBO. And her own promise to the New York Times at the beginning of 2017 that “We’re facing a new reality after the election. These next four years are going to require a broad coalition of straight-up decency.”

Interesting word that. Back in January, while leftists were freaking out over Trump’s “shithole” comments, Glenn wrote, “I’m amused when people who’ve spent 50 years declaring the very concept of decency repressive and outdated suddenly start with the ‘have you no decency?’ shtick. When Joseph Welch used that phrase, it was pretty much Peak Decency, or as we’re now told, a horrible regressive time of racism, homophobia, transphobia and xenophobia.”

Update: Samantha Bee Apologized for Giving Her Audience What It Demands.

Consider this: The YouTube channel for “Full Frontal” posted just that final 50-second segment containing her Ivanka rant as its own video Wednesday night. It’s now deleted, but the show clearly thought it was a winner until the backlash began.

Of course, Bee will be right back at it next week, just with less salty language.

As for the backlash to her remarks, I suspect media figures were extra-sensitive to getting busted for the dreaded double standard attack, given the swift blowback to Roseanne Barr’s racist tweet about Valerie Jarrett.

Bee should remember comedy is all about timing.

And getting paid: Autotrader.com “suspended” their sponsorship of Bee’s show; likely the network feared a repeat of social media panicking Laura Ingraham’s sponsors.

More: State Farm has also suspended its sponsorship of Bee’s show, according to showbiz site The Wrap. 

I’M SO OLD, I CAN REMEMBER WHEN THE LEFT STILL BELIEVED IN POSTMODERNISM:

Found via Small Dead Animals, where a commenter writes, “Heh….cool, now do a biology one on gender. For that one I’ll make popcorn.”

Heh, indeed.™

Update: “No irony lost: academics who have built careers pedalling post-modern theory now lamenting the advent of a ‘post-truth’ society.”

NOTHING TO SEE HERE, MOVE ALONG: Sweden distributes ‘be prepared for war’ leaflet to all 4.8m homes.

The Swedish government has begun sending all 4.8m of the country’s households a public information leaflet telling the population, for the first time in more than half a century, what to do in the event of a war.

Om krisen eller kriget kommer (If crisis or war comes) explains how people can secure basic needs such as food, water and heat, what warning signals mean, where to find bomb shelters and how to contribute to Sweden’s “total defence”.

The 20-page pamphlet, illustrated with pictures of sirens, warplanes and families fleeing their homes, also prepares the population for dangers such as cyber and terror attacks and climate change, and includes a page on identifying fake news.

One of these things is not like the others. Plus: “The leaflet advises people to think about how to cope if there was no heating, food became difficult to buy, prepare and store, there was no water in the taps or toilet, and cash machines, mobile phones and the internet stopped working.”

Remember when it was only paranoid preppers who worried about such things?

PRIVACY: I Tried to Watch a Video of a Puppy and Accidentally Sent Every Photo I’ve Ever Taken to Google.

I recently went to a concert, had a few beers, and woke up with a hangover and a notification that my phone had successfully uploaded 15,000 images and videos to Google Photos. Here’s what happened.

When Google Photos was announced in 2015, I downloaded it. I had no intention of giving every photo I’ve ever taken to Google — which categorizes them, runs them through image recognition and facial recognition algorithms, makes weird algorithmic slideshows out of them, and adds them to its massive photo database —but I wanted to try it out in any case. I quickly realized it was not for me, but I did not delete the app.

Instead, I just told iOS not to give Google Photos access to my photos, which means the app sat dormant on my phone for years. I could have and should have deleted the app. Most people probably would have.

ANYWAYS, a few weeks ago, I was at a concert and, between sets, suddenly remembered that my friend had just adopted a puppy.

I texted him asking to see a picture. He responded with a video that he uploaded to Google Photos. Because I had Google Photos installed on my phone, it tried to open in the app. You cannot use Google Photos on iOS — even to view photos that have been shared with you — without granting the app access to all the photos on your phone. Because I was drunk, and because I wanted to see the puppy, I changed my app permissions.

Plus:

I was careless and kind of dumb, but it’s not always easy to remember every specific setting I’ve ever selected for every app I’ve downloaded. And I think that’s one of the concerning things about “opt-in” privacy protection. They’re not really opt-in if you’re not sure what you’re opting into.

It’s clear that the author first had to give permission to Google Photos, but it’s also clear that Google uses its “free” apps to worm its way into its users’ lives in every imaginable way.

I REMEMBER NEW YORK CITY BEFORE IT BECAME A CESSPIT OF ELIMINATIONIST ANTI-SEMITISM: NYC Public School Holds Moment Of Silence For Hamas.

MARK PULLIAM ON TEXAS: The Snowflakes Take Charge at UT Law School: Political Correctness Trumps Pedagogy in Constitutional Law I.

Case in point: At UT law school, Professor Richard Alpert gave his 1L Constitutional Law I students a final exam consisting of half multiple-choice questions and half an essay responding to a prompt. The prompt asked students to assume they were advising the Governor of Kansas regarding the legality of segregated schools, prior to Brown v. Board of Education in 1954. Students were asked to write a memo, no more than 1,000 words, raising the best legal arguments. Given the sensitivity of matters relating to race, it is unlikely that a white professor would have used such a prompt for an essay exam. Professor Alpert, however, is African-American.

After the exam was over, leftist students began to whine. One student, a white SJW, wrote an email to the class objecting that the question left him “shocked and disgusted.” The student encouraged his classmates to complain to the law school’s administration, asserting that “No one should have been forced to write an essay defending segregation.” Another white student defended Professor Alpert’s essay question as a legitimate pedagogical exercise.

A student of color admonished her classmates, asking that they “remember the amount of privilege that each of us sit in as we work towards solutions to mitigate or, possibly, remedy these concerns.” Continuing, this student scolded the initial objector with these words: “If you are not a person of color and you felt triggered by the exam question, I would encourage you to actually talk to a person of color in the class because, to be frank, the question did not address your experience. And because it is not your experience, it is not you [sic] place to take charge of the dialogue without consulting the individuals who are actually impacted.” Nevertheless, the student of color indicated that the Thurgood Marshall Legal Society, a student organization at UT affiliated with the National Black Law Students Association, “has been made aware of this exam question.”

The UT administration quickly assumed the fetal position. Within days, Professor Alpert sent an apology to the class, reproduced in full below.

This isn’t going to make Texas grads more appealing on the job market.

I’M SO OLD, I CAN REMEMBER WHEN EVEN SUGGESTING THAT THEY MIGHT BE SPYING ON TRUMP WAS CRAZED CONSPIRACY-THEORY STUFF: Talk of unproven FBI ‘plant’ in Trump campaign circulates among Republicans.

TERRY TEACHOUT’S PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS AN UNPERSON:

I won’t lose any sleep over the twin descents of Messrs. Cosby and Levine into the dark pit of disgrace. But there’s a difference—a huge one—between shunning such men and rewriting the history of which they are a prominent part. Not only was Mr. Cosby the first black man to star in a weekly dramatic TV series, “I Spy,” but “The Cosby Show,” for which he is now best remembered, was universally praised for portraying a middle-class black family in a way that appealed to viewers of all races. As for Mr. Levine, he was one of the half-dozen greatest opera conductors of the postwar era. Yet the Kennedy Center and Met Opera Radio seem to be trying to pretend that neither man ever existed.

Few of us like to admit it, but most human beings are impossibly complicated, none more so than artists. You can simultaneously be a great comedian and a sexual predator, a great musician and a pedophile. To argue otherwise is to falsify history, and to falsify history is to dynamite the foundations of reality.

I used the word “unperson” earlier in this piece. It was coined by George Orwell in “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” his 1948 dystopian fantasy about a totalitarian society similar to the Soviet Union whose ruler, Big Brother, rewrites history every day to expunge his enemies from the record books. To this end, his Ministry of Truth prints new editions of books and newspapers from which the names of politically incorrect “unpersons” have been scissored out, even as the offenders themselves have been jailed and brainwashed. As a character explains, “If the Party could thrust its hand into the past and say of this or that event, it never happened—that, surely, was more terrifying than mere torture and death?”

Perhaps it doesn’t matter all that much that the Kennedy Center has hosed Mr. Cosby’s name off its increasingly trivial roll of pop-culture sycophancy. But Met Opera Radio did something far more consequential when it chucked Mr. Levine’s historic recordings into the memory hole, an act of suppression that bears a distant but nonetheless definite resemblance to book-burning. By doing so, it effectively declared that great musicians must also be good men—a position that can be defended only by the tone-deaf.

In addition to the real-life acts allegedly committed by Cosby and the Met conductor James Levine, there’s that massive amount of badthink on display throughout even the most left-leaning old television shows and movies, which the modern left insists be judged by the current standards of #MeToo.

The Great Purge of 20th Century Mass Culture will be astonishing to watch, a much more insidious version of the way the arrival of the Beatles to America completely pushed swing music, America’s pop music from the 1920s through the early 1960s, into the dustbin of history. With no past to draw upon, what happens next to pop culture won’t be pretty, as Mark Steyn warned in a piece titled “The Totalitarianism of the Now,” written in August of last year, when the left was transitioning from toppling statues to toppling real-life men in pop culture and the fine arts:

I’ve said many times that, when a people lose their future, they also lose their past: There will be no West End theatre in an Islamized London – no Oscar Wilde, no Bernard Shaw, no Noël Coward, and eventually no Shakespeare. There will be no Berlin Philharmonic in an Islamized Germany — no Brahms, Beethoven, Bruckner. There will be no classic rock on the radio dial in an Hispanic Florida — so no Motorhead, no Def Leppard, no Blue Oyster Cult. Such are the vicissitudes of demographic transformation.

But perhaps it won’t matter anyway. Our age not only disdains its inheritance, but actively reviles it, and wishes to destroy it. It is a totalitarian impulse. Nescire autem quid antequam natus sis acciderit id est semper esse puerum: To be ignorant of what happened before you were born is to remain forever a child. To despise what happened before you were born is to remain forever a juvenile delinquent in the thuggish gang of the present tense.

“There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running around with lit matches,” Ray Bradbury wrote in the 50th anniversary edition of Fahrenheit 451.

TRUMP’s INITIAL RESPONSE TO NORTH KOREA’S SUMMIT THREAT AND LIBYA GIMMICK: It amounts to a non-committal shrug until he sees what Kim Jong Un actually does:

President Donald Trump on Wednesday offered a non-committal response to North Korean threats to cancel his planned summit with Kim Jong Un, saying he hadn’t received any information that would put the talks in jeopardy.

“We haven’t been notified at all, we’ll have to see,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office, where he was meeting his Uzbek counterpart. “We haven’t seen anything, we haven’t heard anything. We will see what happens.”

But pressed whether he would still insist upon North Korea’s denuclearization as a condition for the talks, Trump nodded yes.

South Korean officials have reacted with similar cool.

Since early March, when North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un told South Korean officials he would discuss denuclearizing his regime without pre-conditions, everyone has known at some point Little Rocket Man and his Pyongyang gang would wiggle and yelp –and possibly stall the process– with the goal of politically dividing Seoul and Washington.

Yesterday Kim Kye Gwan, North Korean First Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, wiggled and yelped as he “sharply criticized American officials – especially national security adviser John Bolton – for suggesting that Libya could be a template for denuclearizing North Korea.” Kim added that North Korea’s nuclear program is far more advanced than Libya’s nascent program.

That’s true. However, the vice minister’s complaint ignores several facts, which is a good indication it’s an agitation-propaganda ploy to try to get the Trump Administration to accept something less that complete denuclearization.

Vice Minister Kim attacked Bolton for telling the press that the technical process of denuclearizing North Korea will be very similar that used in Libya — access to sites, verification, removal and disposal of nuclear weapons material and manufacturing capabilities. Bolton also said the deal the Bush Administration struck with Libya is a “template” for the agreement Japan, South Korea and the U.S. seek with the North Korean dictatorship. Bolton expressed an informed opinion. North Korea went ballistic — so to speak.

The Vice Minister’s Complaint could be read as a freudian slip revealing paranoid Pyongyang’s deepest fear: an internal North Korean rebellion. We know Kim Jong Un fears rebellion and coup. He had his half-brother murdered after hearing rumors North Korean expats had asked Kim Jong Nam to help reform the Kim regime. Rebellion and coup connect to Libya. Remember, Libyan rebels killed Libya’s denuclearized dictator Muammar Gaddafi. If Gaddafi had possessed deliverable nukes he might have stopped foreign states from aiding the rebels, but maybe not. A dictator fighting off an internal rebellion is a distracted man. Threatening to nuke powerful states while battling a domestic coup gives the powerful states a great reason to launch an all out attack to eliminate those weapons.

North Korea is guilty of poor timing. The wiggle and yelp routine started too soon. Pyongyang should have waited a couple of more weeks before exhibiting totalitarian pique and threatening to scuttle the Trump-Kim talks.

Now the big question — who’ll be the first person to call the the talks The U.S. Dotard-Little Rocket Man Summit?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GREAT MOMENTS IN GASLIGHTING. In “Kanye West and the Question of Freedom,” Andrew Sullivan writes:

I remember a different time — and it wasn’t so long ago. A friend reminded me of this bloggy exchange Ta-Nehisi and I had in 2009, on the very subject of identity politics and its claims. We clearly disagreed, deeply. But there was a civility about it, an actual generosity of spirit, that transcended the boundaries of race and background. We both come from extremely different places, countries, life experiences, loyalties. But a conversation in the same pages was still possible, writer to writer, human to human, as part of the same American idea. It was a debate in which I think we both listened to each other, in which I changed my mind a bit, and where neither of us denied each other’s good faith or human worth.

It’s only a decade ago, but it feels like aeons now. The Atlantic was crammed with ideological opposites then, jostling together in the same office, and our engagement with each other and our readerships was a crackling and productive one. There was much more of that back then, before Twitter swallowed blogging, before identity politics became completely nonnegotiable, before we degenerated into these tribal swarms of snark and loathing. I think of it now as a distant island, appearing now and then, as the waves go up and down. The riptide of tribalism can capture us all in the end, until we drown in it.

Indeed. Flashback to September of 2008, when the Atlantic ran a cover story headlined “Why War is His Answer – Inside the Mind of John McCain” by future Obama administration stenographer Jeffrey Goldberg and employed photographer Jill Greenberg who admitted:

When The Atlantic called Jill Greenberg, a committed Democrat, to shoot a portrait of John McCain for its October cover, she rubbed her hands with glee…..

After getting that shot, Greenberg asked McCain to “please come over here” for one more set-up before the 15-minute shoot was over. There, she had a beauty dish with a modeling light set up. “That’s what he thought he was being lit by,” Greenberg says. “But that wasn’t firing.”

What was firing was a strobe positioned below him, which cast the horror movie shadows across his face and on the wall right behind him. “He had no idea he was being lit from below,” Greenberg says. And his handlers didn’t seem to notice it either. “I guess they’re not very sophisticated,” she adds.

Beyond the deliberately harshly lit cover photo, Greenberg would use one of her outtakes to Photoshop lipstick, fangs, and blood dripping from McCain’s mouth with the caption “I Am a Bloodthirsty Warmonger” above the altered shot.

Concurrently, Sullivan himself was busy, as PJM alumnnist Bryan Preston wrote, hounding Sarah Palin “to prove that her son, Trig, is in fact her son. There was and is no evidence that Trig Palin is not Sarah Palin’s son, but that never deterred our Utero-5-0 investigating agent, Andrew Sullivan. He pestered her for her medical records, speculated irresponsibly that Bristol Palin is actually Trig’s mother, and generally exposed himself as an ignorant buffoon on the subjects of women, child birth, life, the universe, and everything. (Useful summary and takedown here, written by Justin Elliott.)”

As Jonathan Last of the Weekly Standard noted at the time, “The Atlantic Becomes a Laughingstock,” with a prophetic warning:

I find the prospect of The Atlantic devolving into some version of Free Republic or Daily Kos to be immensely worrisome. Hopefully David Bradley will do something to put his house in order. Soon.

In retrospect, that was a nice little mile marker on the road to Trump. Too bad the Atlantic didn’t heed Last’s warning; the Daily Kos is very much what the Atlantic devolved into, as witnessed by their distaff columnists’ hissy fit over Goldberg’s hiring of Kevin Williamson.

I REMEMBER WHEN PEOPLE THOUGHT MORE EDUCATION WOULD LEAD TO MORE TOLERANCE FOR DIFFERENT VIEWS: It Is Educated Voters Who Are Making Politics More Polarized. “In this view, the strength of a voter’s identity as a Democrat or Republican drives political engagement more than personal gain. Better educated voters more readily form ‘identity centric’ political commitments to their party of choice, which goes a long way toward explaining the strength of liberal convictions among more affluent Democrats.”

That reminds me of this on the behavior of college-educated voters from The Great Revolt:

In counties with far more than the national average of 29.8 percent of adults with bachelor’s degrees, Trump fared poorly. Of America’s one hundred most educated counties, he carried only nineteen — Romney had carried twenty-six in defeat and outpolled Trump in almost all of them by significant margins. Simply put, Americans who live their lives among a group of friends and neighbors with varied educational backgrounds preferred Trump more than Clinton or Romney, while college-educated Americans who live exclusively among other degree holders were less likely to support Trump, even if they were otherwise Republican.

Trump’s performance among college-educated voters who live in counties below the national average in education levels was right on the republican par — particularly in midsize and smaller counties in the Great Lakes swing states that determined the outcome of the election.

These voters did not face the kind of social pressure to oppose the lewd and coarse Trump that their college-educated peers did in the suburbs.

The enforced conformity of Democratic constituencies, from college-educated voters to black voters, is really amazing, and it’s something that I’d be looking for ways to break down if I were a GOP strategist.

IF THE RIGHT WANTED TO UNDERMINE THE SOCIAL AND INTELLECTUAL AUTHORITY OF ACADEMIA, IT COULDN’T DO BETTER THAN ACADEMIA HAS DONE FOR ITSELF:

Last month, during a conference for scholars who study international affairs, Simona Sharoni, a professor of women’s and gender studies at Merrimack College, asked a crowded hotel elevator what floor everyone needed. Richard Ned Lebow, a professor of political theory at King’s College London, replied, “Ladies’ lingerie” (or, as Sharoni remembers it, “Women’s lingerie.”) Several people laughed. Was that sexual harassment?

Academics have been debating the question among themselves since last month, when Sharoni filed a formal complaint about the incident, triggering an investigation by the International Studies Association. The ISA would later conclude that Lebow must apologize in writing by May 15.

So far, he has refused.

He should refuse, and the filing of such a complaint is itself a form of sexual harassment, and an indicator that Prof. Sharoni is not fit to attend public events.

And as I say, you could write a strong argument for patriarchy using only the things feminists say about the fragility of women.

AMERICA’S COOLEST COLD WAR WEAPON: One late, dark and rainy night in New York –circa 1981 to 1983– on some obscure cable channel on Manhattan’s then obscure (and now long gone) cable system, I perchance heard an interview with Dizzy Gillespie in which the bop jazz great talked about playing a gig in eastern Europe on one of those “State Department” tours. The interview was in black and white video. The tv was a color tv — perhaps this is a clue to the date of the interview. Anyway, Mr. Gillespie told the interviewer the police in this eastern European despotism brought dogs into the venue to confront the crowd while his band was on stage. That struck him as, you know, awkward, and, well, awful. This is my interpretation — the cops and dogs struck him as cold and chilling and cruelly inappropriate. As I remember the interview, prior to his comment about the cops and dogs, Mr. Gillespie remarked on how much eastern European audiences enjoyed American jazz and how that delighted him. Perhaps I incorrectly recollect the specifics, but somewhere out there the video exists. I got to hear Dizzy play live twice and he was electric.

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL EDITORIALIZES: Rod Rosenstein Protests:

His choice of the word “extorted” is illuminating. Mr. Rosenstein is right to say Justice and FBI aren’t obliged to “just open our doors to allow Congress to come and rummage through the files.”

But that isn’t happening here. In the cases at hand, Congress is acting through its committees as a separate and co-equal branch of government—the branch that funds Justice and has the right and obligation to exercise oversight. Congress is making specific requests regarding specific questions and documents.

As for the articles of impeachment, these too are expressions of Congress’s power. The practical worth of contempt and impeachment actions is less about removing an official from power than leverage to encourage cooperation. We had a demonstration of how this works in January, when Mr. Rosenstein and the new FBI director, Christopher Wray, tried to make an end run around the House Intelligence Committee’s subpoenas for information about the Steele dossier on Donald Trump. Only when Speaker Paul Ryan said Congress would hold them in contempt if they didn’t comply did they turn over the documents.

Mr. Rosenstein’s irritation might be warranted if the documents produced so far demonstrated that Congress’s demands were frivolous or imperiled national security. But remember how Justice warned the Intelligence Committee that making public its report on FISA warrants would be “extraordinarily reckless”? Instead, it provided the public with welcome (but still incomplete) insight about what went down in the 2016 election.

Or take the recently released memos written by then-FBI director James Comey to “memorialize” his private conversations with Donald Trump. We can see why Mr. Comey might not want it known that he assured Mr. Trump he didn’t leak or “do weasel things.” Now that everyone’s seen the memos, it’s clear nothing in them justifies the stonewalling before they were turned over to Congress. . . .

Justice can legitimately withhold information from Congress that might jeopardize specific criminal cases. But that doesn’t seem relevant here. We don’t want to see Mr. Rosenstein fired or impeached, but he and the FBI need to recognize Congress’s constitutional authority.

The Justice Department and FBI stink to high heaven, and Congress is justified in investigating them.

WIRED MAGAZINE EDITOR EQUATES TRUMP TO A ‘STEPFATHER WHO WAS GOING TO RAPE US:’

On the final day of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the editor of one of the country’s leading magazines felt it appropriate to compare President Donald Trump’s inauguration to incestuous rape.

In a tweet posted Monday afternoon, Virginia Heffernan, a contributing editor for Wired, referred to former President Barack Obama as “our true father” and equated Trump to “a stepfather who was going to rape us”:

Heffernan tweeted, “When Obama left the White House in a helicopter that horrible day, I had the impression our true father was leaving & the nation was stuck with a stepfather who was going to rape us. Now I increasingly believe that the media is the mother who won’t stand up for us & defy him.”

What is it with Wired staffers and presidential-induced melodrama? Back in November of 2008, it was then-Wired contributor Spencer Ackerman who infamously wrote on the Journolist, immediately after Obama won, “Let’s just throw [PJM columnist Michael] Ledeen against a wall. Or, pace Dr. Alterman, throw him through a plate glass window. I’ll bet a little spot of violence would shut him right the fuck up, as with most bullies.”

I’m so old, I can remember, prior to its acquisition in 1998 by Condé Nast, that Wired’s editors were made of sterner stuff, back when the magazine was founded by a libertarian. Speaking of whom, Louis Rossetto takes a much more reasoned view of Trump than today’s Wired editors, telling Reason’s Nick Gillespie:

For most of my life, my tendency has been to try to diminish the power of the state. Part of that is literal power, and part of it is the power that’s in your head. The president has become this figure of immense authority that you’re obliged to respect, who has the ability to project that power all over the planet.

Trump is a refreshing reminder that the guy in the White House is another human being. The power of the state is way too exalted. Bringing that power back to human scale is an important part of what needs to be done to correct the insanity that’s been going on, where you have these large institutions that control all aspects of our lives. Leaching respect out of the state is kind of a good thing.

Not the least of which, a child-like worldview that makes you equate the president to your father or step-father, and the media to his wife.

“MY CULTURE IS NOT YOUR GODDAMN PROM DRESS:” White girl in Chinese prom dress triggers SJW Twitter.

And from right around this time in 2016, Video Game Director David Jaffe Plays The KKK Card As He Ruins Superhero Prom Picture:

Most of what I wrote back then applies to this year’s lefty freakout over prom-going teenagers, with just minor touchups.

As John Nolte wrote at Big Hollywood in 2015 when the Onion’s otherwise often enjoyable AV Club Website attacked a Michigan restaurateur for symbolically “banning” Hollywood’s Michael Moore and Seth Rogan when the two smeared the late Chris Kyle after Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper proved to be a surprise box office smash:

And how does the AV Club respond to this symbolic but righteous protest? By using no fewer than 7 paragraphs to relentlessly mock the Little Guy and his business.

[Restaurant owner Tommy] Brann has come up with the equally deadly revenge of denying him “decent, better than average, but nothing to rave about” fare delivered through “terrible service” amid “dated and kinda dirty” decor, of the sort that Americans must consume daily to live. Rogen and Moore are hereby condemned to slowly starve to death in the Brann’s parking lot, yearning fruitlessly for Brann’s Classic Onion Straw Loaf, the lights of the sign that illuminates their fatal mistake growing dim in their eyes.

Is anyone else old enough to remember when speaking truth to and defying power was the in-thing?

When the American Left reveals who they are really for and against, it is chilling.

Know your place and shut your mouth, little man.

And now you too, girls in Asian-style dresses, as well as teenage boys with geeky but harmless superhero T-shirts and the prom dates who love them. As Fred Siegel wrote in his 2014 history of the American left, The Revolt Against the Masses, “The best short credo of liberalism came from the pen of the once canonical left-wing literary historian Vernon Parrington in the late 1920s.‘Rid society of the dictatorship of the middle class.’”

And if that means smearing high school kids as crypto-racists as part of the PC cleanup, hey, at least you can feel proud knowing you fought the good fight by Speaking Truth to Prom.

UPDATE: “The entire corpus of Identity-politics ideology is just a new way to bully,” Jordan Peterson tweets, with “the additional twist of simultaneously claiming higher moral ground.”

Found via John Sexton at Hot Air, who notes the whiplash factor of this train wreck: “Haven’t we seen the entire media recently defend the honor of the Parkland teens on the grounds that, Hey, they’re just kids? It’s amazing how fast the left goes from ‘don’t attack these poor kids’ to a mean girl army ready to destroy someone the same age over their choice of prom dress. Even more incredible, you can bet they all feel proud of themselves for this shameful behavior.”

Of course — it reminds them that they’re the anointed, as Thomas Sowell would say.

KANYE WEST IS FORCING LIBERALS TO CHECK THEIR ARTISTIC PRIVILEGE: “It’s not just that the assumption that all your favorite artists are reflect your own values makes you entitled and intolerant. It’s that it dulls your critical faculties. The idea of objective criticism is non-starter when you assume that any art that doesn’t result in personal affirmation is somehow bad. And to the extent that art must be challenged in the instances where it does inject dangerous values into the cultural bloodstream, that’s hard to do when you think it might otherwise be advancing political goals that you agree with.”

I’m so old, I can remember when politics was secondary in the entertainment industry to actually entertaining audiences.

PAST PERFORMANCE IS NO GUARANTEE OF FUTURE RESULTS. MSNBC: Get It? Trump Is Like the Mob Boss in The Godfather:

Trump is like mobster Don Corleone in The Godfather because he kinda quoted a line from the classic gangster movie. Twice (so far) on Thursday, MSNBC played a clip of Marlon Brando saying, “I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse.” This was to introduce discussions of the President.

Why? Because Trump said of the possibility of re-entering TPP: “Unless they offer us a deal that we cannot refuse, I would not go back into TPP.” Not quite the line, but close enough for MSNBC hosts apparently. Co-host Willie Geist opened Morning Joe with both the clip from the film and Trump. He marveled, “Going right to The Godfather this morning.”

And of course, CNN, with no memory of their past excesses, in February, saw Trump as “a mafia boss gone mad!” But why is that a problem to them? I’m old enough to remember back when a president posing as a gangster was seen as being cool, hip and desirable by the MSM, including this 2010 headline at CNN by Rev. Wright acolyte Roland Martin: “Time for Obama to go ‘gangsta’ on GOP.”

Choose the form of your destructor

I’M SO OLD, I CAN REMEMBER WHEN THE LEFT POSED AS HATING BLACKLISTS: Conservative Street Artist Sabo Banned from Twitter Permanently.

Related: Twitter Censors Mainstream Conservatism.

BYRON YORK: On James Comey and what the FBI thought about Michael Flynn.

In his ABC interview, fired FBI Director James Comey was asked about reports that he told Congress, in March 2017, that the FBI agents who interviewed Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn did not think Flynn had lied to them — even though Flynn, several months later, pleaded guilty to one count of lying to the FBI.

Did Comey tell lawmakers that? Here is the exchange between Comey and ABC’s George Stephanopoulos:

STEPHANOPOULOS: There’s been some reporting that — at —at — at one point you told the Congress that the agents who interviewed Mike Flynn didn’t believe that he had lied.

COMEY: Yeah, I saw that. And that — I don’t know where that’s coming from. That — unless I’m — I — I — said something that people misunderstood, I don’t remember even intending to say that. So my recollection is I never said that to anybody.

Comey’s statement directly contradicts this report, by me, from Feb. 12.

He’s not trustworthy.

A REAL LIBERTARIAN MOMENT:  HAPPY 75th BIRTHDAY TO UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO LAW PROFESSOR RICHARD A. EPSTEIN*:

I am not the only person I know who affectionately refers to Richard as “the smartest person in the world,” and … well … we’re really not joking.  There may be more lively minds out there somewhere.  But I haven’t found them.

My alma mater, the University of Chicago Law School, will be celebrating Richard and his many accomplishments this weekend, and I hope to be on hand to help. I wrote this little recollection for the book the Law School is preparing for him:

It was late September, 1978—my first day of law school.  Sure, I was a little scared.  But mostly I was feeling confident … maybe even a little full of myself.  I was a law student at the University of Chicago for goodness sake.  What could be better?

I was going to defend the Constitution …

I was going to let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream …

And I had a gorgeous leather briefcase to prove it.

The only problem on that sunny Hyde Park morning was that I hadn’t really worked out the details on all that justice stuff.   But I would.  I knew I would. The combination of the University of Chicago and that briefcase really seemed unbeatable.

Then came Richard Epstein, speaking rapidly and in perfectly formed paragraphs. His subject was the grand old case of Pierson v. Post.   He took great delight in showing that I couldn’t even settle on the just solution to a dispute over a dead fox (with or without my wonderful briefcase).  As for defending the Constitution, that would need to be put on hold … maybe even indefinitely.

That morning was the last time I remember feeling confident about anything.

Incidentally, I still have the briefcase. It’s the only remnant of my pre-Epstein self.

*Yes, I know that Richard’s primary affiliation these days is with New York University.  But as a University of Chicago alumna I refuse to acknowledge it.

HMM: Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg backs out of ABC News interview after she is told George Stephanopoulos will not be asking the questions.

To be clear, that’s “former” Democratic operative George Stephanopoulos.

And I’m so old, I can remember when Sandberg was hired to be Facebook’s “grownup.”

YEAH, PRETTY MUCH:

What really happened is that women at The Atlantic complained that Kevin’s abortion views upset them. And since making women feel bad about their life choices is a mortal sin, he had to go.

Remember, at The Atlantic, women can’t even handle men’s shirts. More on that here.

ANOTHER PRO-SANCTUARY CITY CLAIM BITES THE DUST: Ask a defender of sanctuary cities to defend the policy and their first argument invariably is immigrants fearing deportation won’t help local crime fighters who cooperate with the feds. We hear it so often, it’s become a truism, part of the governing assumptions underlying of the debate about illegal immigration.

But guess what? There’s as much credible, concrete evidence for this sanctuary claim as there is for the proposition that Nancy Pelosi’s secret pleasure is watching Beta tapes (remember those?) of old Ronald Reagan speeches. LifeZette ace Brendan Kirby has the details on a new report out today from the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).

This group is an advocate of tough immigration enforcement, to be sure, but, as FAIR’s Matthew O’Brien told Kirby, “Illegal immigrants aren’t afraid of ICE. I mean, come on, we have DACA kids chaining themselves to the Capitol, refusing to leave.”

SUCKING IN THE SEVENTIES: The Book That Incited a Worldwide Fear of Overpopulation.

On February 1970, Ehrlich’s work finally paid off: He was invited onto NBC’s “Tonight Show.” Johnny Carson, the comedian-host, was leery of serious guests like university professors because he feared they would be pompous, dull and opaque. Ehrlich proved to be affable, witty and blunt. Thousands of letters poured in after his appearance, astonishing the network. The Population Bomb shot up the best-seller lists. Carson invited Ehrlich back in April, just before the first Earth Day. For more than an hour he spoke about population and ecology, about birth control and sterilization, to an audience of tens of millions. After that, Ehr­lich returned to the show many times.

* * * * * * * *

“Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born,” he promised in a 1969 magazine article. “Sometime in the next 15 years, the end will come,” Ehrlich told CBS News a year later. “And by ‘the end’ I mean an utter breakdown of the capacity of the planet to support humanity.”

Such statements contributed to a wave of population alarm then sweeping the world. The International Planned Parenthood Federation, the Population Council, the World Bank, the United Nations Population Fund, the Hugh Moore-backed Association for Voluntary Sterilization and other organizations promoted and funded programs to reduce fertility in poor places. “The results were horrific,” says Betsy Hartmann, author of Reproductive Rights and Wrongs, a classic 1987 exposé of the anti-population crusade. Some population-control programs pressured women to use only certain officially mandated contraceptives. In Egypt, Tunisia, Pakistan, South Korea and Taiwan, health workers’ salaries were, in a system that invited abuse, dictated by the number of IUDs they inserted into women. In the Philippines, birth-control pills were literally pitched out of helicopters hovering over remote villages. Millions of people were sterilized, often coercively, sometimes illegally, frequently in unsafe conditions, in Mexico, Bolivia, Peru, Indonesia and Bangladesh.

In the 1970s and ’80s, India, led by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and her son Sanjay, embraced policies that in many states required sterilization for men and women to obtain water, electricity, ration cards, medical care and pay raises. Teachers could expel students from school if their parents weren’t sterilized. More than eight million men and women were sterilized in 1975 alone. (“At long last,” World Bank head Robert McNamara remarked, “India is moving to effectively address its population problem.”) For its part, China adopted a “one-child” policy that led to huge numbers—possibly 100 million—of coerced abortions, often in poor conditions contributing to infection, sterility and even death. Millions of forced sterilizations occurred.

Curiously, the name Norman Borlaug doesn’t show up until the comments section. In any case, if you’re old enough to remember the 1970s’ non-stop doomfest, Ehrlich and his media enablers are some of the people you can “thank.”

(Classical reference in headline.)

WHOM THE GODS DESTROY THEY FIRST MAKE NIXONIAN: When does reporting become breaking and entering?

You probably recall this story from February, though it didn’t seem to have much of a lifespan in the mainstream press. New York Magazine reporter Olivia Nuzzi was found to have gone into the home of Corey Lewandowski when he wasn’t there and taken a picture as part of a story she was working on. There may be a lawsuit or criminal trial coming out of that as a result, but the details remain unclear. It should seem obvious to one and all that Nuzzi did something wrong, but precisely how wrong was it?

That’s the question Joan Vennochi at the Boston Globe is tackling this week, and to my great surprise, she appears to find some sort of gray area. Sure, it was a crime. But was it a crime crime (to adapt a phrase from Whoopi Goldberg about rape)? She’s even able to find some experts to back up the idea that there might be a different, more flexible standard of justice for special people like reporters.

I’m old enough to remember when a “third-rate burglary” was the stuff of impeachment, if it benefitted a Republican. In contrast, “Liberals need to stop trying to get us to call them ‘progressives’ or whatever word it is this week,” Kathy Shaidle once wrote. “They should just get brutally honest with themselves and with the rest of us and rename themselves the ‘It’s Different When We Do It’ Party.”

As Glenn noted last month, “Trump’s superpower is his ability, just by existing, to bring out the deep and pervasive rot in America’s institutions and the people who run them.”

YOU WANT TO BE A SHITHOLE COUNTRY? THIS IS HOW: More Racist Rhetoric From South Africa: Whites ‘Must Leave Everything;’ ‘Not calling for the slaughter of white people‚ at least for now.’

This sort of sentiment dominated Zimbabwe for decades as it went from breadbasket to, well, shithole. Over a decade ago, Nick Kristof reported that Zimbabweans were nostalgic for the old days of Rhodesia:

The hungry children and the families dying of AIDS here are gut-wrenching, but somehow what I find even more depressing is this: Many, many ordinary black Zimbabweans wish that they could get back the white racist government that oppressed them in the 1970’s.

“If we had the chance to go back to white rule, we’d do it,” said Solomon Dube, a peasant whose child was crying with hunger when I arrived in his village. “Life was easier then, and at least you could get food and a job.”

Mr. Dube acknowledged that the white regime of Ian Smith was awful. But now he worries that his 3-year-old son will die of starvation, and he would rather put up with any indignity than witness that.

An elderly peasant in another village, Makupila Muzamba, said that hunger today is worse than ever before in his seven decades or so, and said: “I want the white man’s government to come back. Even if whites were oppressing us, we could get jobs and things were cheap compared to today.”

His wife, Mugombo Mudenda, remembered that as a younger woman she used to eat meat, drink tea, use sugar and buy soap. But now she cannot even afford corn gruel. “I miss the days of white rule,” she said.

Nearly every peasant I’ve spoken to in Zimbabwe echoed those thoughts.

You’d think that Zimbabwe would be a cautionary example for South Africa, but it seems to be more of a how-to guide. And hey, the political insiders got rich.

IT’S NICE TO BE WANTED: Demand for American Sperm Is Skyrocketing in Brazil; Explosive growth spurred by more wealthy single women and lesbian couples turning to U.S. donors.

With “jewel-tone eyes,” blond hair and a “smattering of light freckles,” Othello looks nothing like most Brazilians, the majority of whom are black or mixed-race. Yet the “Caucasian” American cashier, described in those terms by the Seattle Sperm Bank and known as Donor 9601, is one of the sperm providers most often requested by wealthy Brazilian women importing the DNA of young U.S. men at unprecedented rates.

Over the past seven years, human semen imports from the U.S. to Brazil have surged some 3,000% as more rich single women and lesbian couples select donors whose online profiles suggest they will yield light-complexioned and preferably blue-eyed children.

Everyone wants a “pretty kid” and for many parents in Brazil, where prejudice often runs deep, that means “the white biotype—light-colored eyes and skin,” said Susy Pommer, a 28-year-old data analyst from São Paulo who decided to get pregnant last year after a breast-cancer scare left her eager to raise a child right away with her partner, Priscilla.

The preference for white donors reflects the persistent racism in a country where social class and skin color correlate with glaring accuracy. More than 50% of Brazilians are black or mixed-race, a legacy of Brazil having imported more than 10 times as many African slaves than the U.S.; it was the last Western country to ban slavery, in 1888. The descendants of white colonizers and immigrants—many of whom were lured to Brazil in the late 19th and early 20th centuries when the ruling elite explicitly sought to “whiten” the population—control most of the country’s political power and wealth.

In such a racially divided society, having fair-skinned offspring is often viewed as a way to provide a child with better prospects, from a higher salary to fairer treatment by the police.

I can remember when Brazil was held up as a post-racial ideal, though to be fair, that was by American lefties who knew nothing about it.

SPENGLER: Uber’s Death Car and the Cracks in Liberal Culture.

Industry experts know that driverless cars are more hype than reality. As I noted earlier this week in Asia Times: “The Information, a consulting organization that showcases industry specialists, recently held a conference call on self-driving where one expert warned: ‘You have to remember that self-driving does not work, at least in… a highly functional, driverless robotaxi sense. It does not work. And there are many folks clamoring for architectures to get there. Again, think back to flight. Do you ever watch those YouTube videos where the guy pumping the umbrella and the dude with a big corkscrew and the person with the bird wings? I would think of it more that way. It is left to be seen which one of those architectures gets you to a useful outcome.'”

That is cold comfort to the family of Ms. Herzberg, whose death we can watch in a real-life horror movie. It is probable that improved sensors and communications might be able to prevent this sort of accident in the future; the sort of situations which AI never will master are things like lane changes in traffic in which one driver has to communicate intention to other drivers in order to avoid collisions.

But that is now beside the point. The cultural damage done by the Utopian vision of brain-as-a-machine is enormous, and the skepticism with which the public now must view Artificial Intelligence is a healthy corrective.

Read the whole thing.

ELIZABETH WARREN’S RESEARCH HARDEST HIT: Study: Medical bankruptcies may not be as common as thought.

Medical bills can push patients over the financial cliff, but a new study says this may not happen as often as previous research suggests.

Hospitalizations cause only about 4 percent of personal bankruptcies among non-elderly U.S. adults, according to an analysis published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

This contrasts with previous research by former Harvard professor and current U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and others that pointed to medical reasons as the trigger for more than 60 percent of U.S. bankruptcies.

Background on Elizabeth Warren’s shady research here. Remember that her conclusions were among the major arguments for ObamaCare.

Related: ” I don’t know which is worse: the notion that Elizabeth Warren understood what she was doing, or the notion that she didn’t.”

I should note that Gail Heriot exposed Warren’s research as bogus back in 2006, but the Post continued to hold her up. Had the more-or-less fraudulent nature of her work gotten national attention then, would Warren be a Senator today? Would ObamaCare have passed?

THIS ALL SEEMS TO HAVE STARTED AFTER TRUMP’S TRIP TO SAUDI ARABIA, WHERE THE PRESS COMMENTARY WAS MOSTLY FOCUSED ON MAKING FUN OF THE “ORB” PICTURE: The Saudis Take On Radical Islam: The crown prince charts a course toward moderation, which prevailed before the 1979 attack on Mecca.

The year 1979 was a watershed for the Middle East. Iranian revolutionaries overthrew the shah, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, and Sunni Islamic extremists tried to take over the Grand Mosque of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, Islam’s holiest shrine. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman hadn’t been born, but he is fighting the ghosts of 1979 as he dramatically reforms the kingdom.

The attempted takeover of Mecca was a defining event in my country, mainly because of what happened next. Saudi rulers, fearing Iran’s revolutionary example, decided to give more space to the Salafi clerical establishment in hope of countering the radicals. Traditional Salafi preachers are neither violent nor political, but they hold a rigid view of Islam. Their legal rulings and attempts to police morals made the kingdom increasingly intolerant, setting back the gradual opening up that had occurred in the 1960s and ’70s.

In Saudi schools, education was largely in the hands of foreign nationals, many with Muslim Brotherhood backgrounds. In the 1960s and ’70s, Saudi Arabia was more concerned with Gamal Abdel Nasser’s Arab nationalism than with Islamist radicalism. Thus the Muslim Brotherhood wasn’t much of a worry. But the combination of the brotherhood’s political outlook and the rigid Salafi doctrine injected a virus into the Saudi education system. That virus allowed Osama bin Laden to recruit 15 Saudis to take part in that terrible deed on Sept. 11, 2001. We Saudis failed those young men, and that failure had global implications.

The Salafi clerics and Muslim Brotherhood imports also worked in concert as they were given unsupervised access to private donations to fund mosques and madrasas from Karachi to Cairo, where they generally favored the most conservative preachers.

The policy makers’ idea was simple: Give the political Islamists and their Salafi affiliates room to influence educational, judicial and religious affairs, and we will continue to control foreign policy, the economy, and defense. Saudi rulers were handling the hardware, while radicals rewrote the nation’s software. Saudi society, and the Muslim world, is still reeling from the effects.

I can attest that when the Saudi money hit northern Nigeria, the Islam there went from a rather mellow Sufi variety to, well, Boko Haram. Even if all that happens is the Saudis stop funding and promoting radical Islam worldwide, that will be huge. Remember, after the Soviet Union folded, all sorts of “grassroots, authentic” terrorist movements dried up along with the Soviet funding. Something similar could happen here.

STEPHEN L. CARTER: Farewell to Toys ‘R’ Us, and an Era of Play.

For a while, Toys ‘R’ Us prospered. Still, the handwriting was on the wall. The chain continued to dominate the toy industry for another decade and a half, but then began to slip. In 1990, 25 percent of all toys sold in the U.S. were purchased at Toys ‘R’ Us. A decade later, as the figure slipped well below 20 percent, Walmart Inc. surged ahead. The stores themselves were aging, and the company took a $495 million charge against earnings to spruce them up. 2 Worried about the rise of EToys (does anyone remember EToys?) and American Girl (sold at the time exclusively through the mail), Toys ‘R’ Us moved expensively and not very successfully into online and direct marketing. Meanwhile, high-volume, low-margin retailers like Walmart and Kmart were discounting toys to get consumers into the stores, then offering them a full-service experience that Toys ‘R’ Us couldn’t match.

In 2006, the chain was taken private, but the new owners were never able to reinvigorate its sales, or, for that matter, to get it out from under $5 billion in debt. In September, the company entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and now, after a disastrous holiday season, the owners are giving up. Seeking a cause for its demise, Toys ‘R’ Us has cast the blame upon its competitors — particularly Amazon.com Inc. and Walmart — which is a little like saying I’d have won the golf tournament if not for all those guys with the lower scores.

But the chain’s biggest foe was neither nimbler retailers nor that heavy debt load. It was the undermining of the very concept of the toy. . . .

Well, toys that talk and blink a chain could still stock, albeit at a fearsome discount to compete with online retailers. But when a toy as a tangible thing to be manipulated yielded to a toy as a digital presence with which a child interacted via a multipurpose device, the idea of a toy store was in its death throes. As we learned from the demise of video and record chains, that which is downloadable needs no physical presence to be sold. And nowadays even very young children prefer the touchable screen to the touchable toy. Apart from a niche here and there, toy stores no longer serve any discernible function.

Sad.

STANDARDS: “But breaching the privacy of an intimate relationship seemed worth doing to gynecologist Jen Gunter (writing in the NYT), because it was the male who (from her perspective) lacked interest in having sex. . . . This one individual deserves to have his personal story told in the NYT because in general people have a stereotype that the man is the one who wants sex all the time and it’s women with the lack-of-interest limitation. That’s such an awful basis for betrayal. . . . In the old days, that was called gossiping, and it was considered wrong. Then came consciousness-raising sessions and, later, telling your stories about all the sexual things. . . . Imagine a man telling a similar tale about a woman: I scheduled a night for sex and I got in bed naked, but she didn’t give me sex. What would people say? Who the hell does this guy think he is?! At best! I could imagine him getting denounced in full-on #MeToo mode.”

Remember: A man wants more sex than his wife? Men are awful! A man wants less sex than his wife? Men are awful!

Plus, from the comments: “I have asked myself, in this metoo moment, what is the analogous tendency in women to man’s lust which, when allowed to run to excess, becomes harmful and indecent? My answer was gossip.”

I’M SO OLD, I CAN REMEMBER WHEN THE LEFT WAS AGAINST BULLYING: Parkland Survivors Attack Dana Loesch’s Children.

AN AMAZING THREAD ON the students who attacked Christina Hoff Sommers’ speech at Lewis & Clark Law. I remember when the National Lawyers Guild was all-in for free speech. Of course, back then it was free speech for commies.

On the protesters, Ann Althouse comments: “Notice that they’re at their best when they create an atmosphere of unreason. When some people try to reason with them and invite them into a middle position of engaging in debate — which really isn’t fair to the speaker — they look baffled and — like so many law students in so many law school classrooms throughout the ages — woefully unprepared.”

I’M SO OLD I CAN REMEMBER WHEN DEMOCRATS CARED ABOUT MINORITY RIGHTS: Colorado Governor ‘Can Count on One Hand’ Teachers Who’ve Wanted to be Armed.

WHY IS SILICON VALLEY CRUELLY EXPLOITING PEOPLE? ‘Success’ on YouTube Still Means a Life of Poverty: You can have a million views a month and still not be able to make rent. But: “One in 3 British children age 6 to 17 told pollsters last year that they wanted to become a full-time YouTuber. That’s three times as many as those who wanted to become a doctor or a nurse.”

Related: ‘I wanted to be an Instagram star… but I ended up a financial wreck’: Woman, 26, reveals how her debts spiraled as she paid for luxury holidays, the best clothes and amazing restaurants on her quest to be a social media star.. Remember, these platforms are designed to be addictive. There should probably be lawsuits and Congressional investigations. For the children!

HMM: Senate Key Race alert: Texas is no longer Solid Republican.

Beto O’Rourke versus Ted Cruz:

The Democratic underdog from El Paso outraised the first-term Republican senator and former presidential candidate by $1.5 million — $2.3 million to $800,000 — from the beginning of 2018 through mid-February. That impressive fundraising haul comes after O’Rourke also outpaced Cruz in the closing quarter of 2017, $2.4 million to $1.8 million.

Cruz still holds a clear advantage in the race. When it comes to cash on hand, Cruz leads O’Rourke by a little more than $1 million.

The Republican also has recent Texas electoral history on his side. Democrats haven’t won a statewide election there since Bob Bullock’s re-election as lieutenant governor in 1994. The last Democrat elected to the US Senate from Texas? Lloyd Bentsen in 1988.

O’Rourke is hoping to end the Democratic skid by running a different kind of campaign, embracing his punk rock roots. He’s been traveling from one event to another in a car with aides, listening to Spotify and sharing it all with the world via Facebook and Twitter. O’Rourke has already visited 223 of the state’s 254 counties, including some deep red turf.

Remember Wendy Davis and her “iconic” tennis shoes — and her huge loss to Greg Abbott anyway? O’Rourke seems to be running a hip campaign, but I’m not sure there’s as much to this story as CNN’s headline implies.

A LOST IN SPACE REBOOT: “Set 30 years in the future, colonization in space is now a reality, and the Robinson family is among those tested and selected to make a new life for themselves in a better world. But when the new colonists find themselves abruptly torn off course en route to their new home they must forge new alliances and work together to survive in a dangerous alien environment, light-years from their original destination. Stranded along with the Robinsons are two outsiders who find themselves thrown together by circumstance and a mutual knack for deception. The unsettlingly charismatic Dr. Smith (Posey) is a master manipulator with an inscrutable end game. And the roguish, but inadvertently charming Don West (Ignacio Serricchio) is a highly-skilled, blue-collar contractor, who had no intention of joining the colony, let alone crash landing on a lost planet.”

Some time ago, I watched the first season of the old TV series on DVD and found it held up better than I expected: “I watched the reruns as a kid, but what I’d forgotten was the dark, Forbidden Planet ambiance of the early episodes. I’d also forgotten the meta-plot from the first episode, where the Robinson family is just the vanguard of 10 million American families heading to Alpha Centauri as part of an effort to remedy overpopulation. The shows are better than I remembered, and there are some interesting bits — such as the one in episode 3 where Dr. Robinson (Guy Williams) thanks Divine Providence for their survival, after the fashion of old-time explorers. Surely this was the last possible cultural moment for something like that on network TV.”

The second and third seasons, of course, turned into something more like space comedy.

BULLIED NFL LINEMAN POSTS SHOTGUN PHOTO, FORCES HIGH SCHOOL TO CLOSE:

Former Dolphins offensive lineman Jonathan Martin posted a chilling Instagram story that forced a high school to close.

On Thursday, Martin caught the attention of school officials with a story that featured a photo of a shotgun and the names of former Dolphins teammates Richie Incognito and Mike Pouncey as well as the Los Angeles-area high school, Harvard-Westlake, that Martin attended. The 28-year-old was taken into custody on Friday, ABC reported.

“When you’re a bully victim and a coward, your options are suicide or revenge,” Martin cryptically posted.

Martin became the victimized face of NFL bullying in 2013 when he charged teammates, namely fellow offensive lineman Incognito, with harsh treatment in the locker room.

The post comes a week after 17 students were killed by a gunman at Florida’s Stoneman Douglas High School.

I’m so old, I can remember when NFL players didn’t think of themselves as bullied victims or proselytizing “woke” SJWs.

HAITI SUSPENDS OXFAM OPERATIONS PENDING SEX SCANDAL PROBE:

Haiti on Thursday suspended the operations of British charity Oxfam pending the outcome of its investigation into allegations that its staff sexually exploited Haitians after a devastating 2010 earthquake.

The country’s ministry of planning and foreign aid said Oxfam GB had made a “serious error” by failing to inform Haitian authorities of the actions by their staff at the time they occurred.

“These reprehensible acts, alleged crimes, acknowledged by the perpetrators as well as the NGO, are a serious violation of the dignity of the Haitian people,” a government statement said.

It said the charity was suspended for two months pending an internal Haitian investigation into the matter.

At NRO last week, Kyle Smith explored how “The End Justifies the Obscene:”

When a devastating earthquake struck Haiti in 2010, Oxfam workers remembered Rahm Emanuel’s maxim that, in the progressive dictionary, one definition of crisis is “party time.” I’m paraphrasing.

But I’m quoting directly when I note that Oxfam execs set up brothels in Port-au-Prince that they called “pink apartments.” They took advantage of the economic dislocation and desperation (1.5 million homeless in a land of 10 million) to surround themselves with prostitutes, some perhaps under the age of consent, according to a recent exposé in the British paper the Times. Recalls an observer: “They were throwing big parties with prostitutes. These girls were wearing Oxfam T-shirts, running around half-naked, it was a like a full-on Caligula orgy. It was unbelievable. It was crazy. At one party there were at least five girls and two of them had Oxfam white T-shirts on. These men used to talk about holding ‘young meat barbecues.’”

Drivers in Haiti who wished to earn cash driving Oxfam employees around were told that their contracts were contingent on whether they could help with the, er, meat supply. “If you want your contract to be extended,” they were told, according to the Times, “we need girls and you need to pick them up.”

* * * * * * * *

How did we get to a point where relentlessly idealistic and progressive feminist women cover for men who turn girls from some of the poorest corners of the world into their sexual functionaries? Oxfam reminds us that a core feature of the Left is its happy-face Machiavellianism: The overall mission is so vital, so meaningful, so just, that the end justifies the obscene.

Harvey Weinstein and the Clinton family could not be reached for comment.

I’M SO OLD, I CAN REMEMBER FAR ENOUGH BACK TO WHEN NBC WAS STILL SANE:

Note the tag line below the photo. Funny, how Tom Brokaw, Chris Matthews, Chuck Todd, Brian Williams or Al Sharpton aren’t quitting their gigs at NBC to fight the patriarchy.

Update: Deploy the mighty space phallus!”

SALENA ZITO: FAITH IS NO LONGER A VIRTUE IN AMERICA.

Last week Joy Behar, co-host of the ABC show “The View,” did something that has become an escalating trend in our popular culture over the past 10 years — she mocked religiosity.

In a segment about Vice President Mike Pence and his belief that he hears the voice of God, Behar quipped: “It’s one thing to talk to Jesus. It’s another thing when Jesus talks to you. That’s called mental illness, if I’m not correct . . . hearing voices.”

The audience of “The View” clapped and laughed along with her.

But outside the entertainment bubble, in places like Cumberland, people were horrified.

Behar’s sneer and the “clapter” it received from the studio audience is a nice in-kind contribution to the Trump 2020 campaign.

But I’m so old, I can remember a budding Democratic candidate for the senate back in 2004 saying, “The pundits, the pundits like to slice and dice our country into red states and blue States: red states for Republicans, blue States for Democrats. But I’ve got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the blue states, and we don’t like federal agents poking around our libraries in the red states. We coach little league in the blue states and, yes, we’ve got some gay friends in the red states.”

What was his name again? I’m sure it will come to me eventually.

GREAT AGAIN: US sells oil to the Middle East as surging domestic production puts America on pace to rival Russia and Saudi as world’s top energy producer.

In 2013, the US shipped just over 100,000 barrels a day.

This past November, American firms exported 1.53 million barrels a day.

The US now exports up to 1.7 million barrels per day of crude, and this year will have the capacity to export 3.8 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas.

Terminals conceived for importing liquefied natural gas have now been overhauled to allow exports.
Surging shale production is poised to push US oil output to more than 10 million barrels per day – toppling a record set in 1970 and crossing a threshold few could have imagined even a decade ago.

And this new record, expected within days, likely won’t last long.

I’m so old, I can remember when Barack Obama told us we couldn’t “drill our way out of” our energy problems.

HEATHER MAC DONALD ON #MEDIOCRITYTOO: The coming mania for inclusion will erode standards of merit and excellence.

I’m old enough to remember when gender was considered by the left to be merely a bourgeois social construct. And to know that our standards of merit and excellence have been eroding for quite some time. When William Goldman said “Every Oscar night you look back and realize that last year was the worst year in the history of Hollywood,” he had no idea how bad things could get in all of the arts.