August 19, 2017

STEPHEN L. CARTER: Too Much Power Lies in Tech Companies’ Hands: A libertarian case for caution after the Daily Stormer is booted off the public internet.

The libertarian part of me ought to be fine with all of this. Apart from the most exceptional circumstances, such as invidious discrimination, a business should be free to contract with whom it pleases. And I will shed no tears for the Daily Stormer, which fully earned its expulsion from rational discourse. One might protest, correctly, that there is a lot of evil in the world, but history teaches that Nazis and white supremacists are a special case. When their views vanish, we will all be better off for it.

Yet I find myself troubled. For one thing, as tech columnist Will Oremus pointed out in Slate, the same companies currently being told that they should not serve all comers made essentially the opposite argument in their campaign during the previous administration to defeat the Stop Online Piracy Act. Having now decided that they can indeed pick and choose customers, the tech companies will be ill-placed to reverse field should Congress once more try to crack down on them for hosting sites that make unlicensed use of intellectual property.

It’s worrisome, moreover, that so many activists are cheering the demise of the Daily Stormer not on the narrow ground that white supremacy is a special case but on the more general ground that groups promoting “hatred” should have no place on the web. Given the contemporary left’s broad and wondrously flexible definition of the word “hate,” the implications of that particular slogan (calling it an argument would be too charitable) are unsettling. The triumphal tumult on social media naturally leads one to wonder which groups that progressives deem wrong on the issues might be the subject of the next banning campaign.

This leads to my largest concern. Libertarians tend to worry about concentrations of power in the hands of the state. There is no consensus about the danger of concentrations of power in private hands. But when the private hands in question control access to the principal media of communication in the world, one has to hesitate when they decide that not everyone should be granted entree. For the power they are exercising is almost state-like.

Yes, and their political connections to the state, or at least the Deep State, are immense.

BREAKING THE INTERNET: Alt-Tech Bad Boy Cody Wilson Explains Hatreon, an Alternative to Online Censorship.

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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Squeezing the nukes out of North Korea. My latest Observer essay.


With ISIL no longer a major threat Iraq has surprised Iran (and many others outside the Arab world) by rebuilding relations with Sunni Arab neighbors and telling Iran to back off with any plans it had to dominate Iraqi politics. Senior Shia Arab religious and political leaders have been leaning this way for a long time and Iran thought the war against ISIL was an opportunity to weaken the traditional Shia Arab distrust of Iran. That did not work.
Since 2005, when accurate opinion polls and generally free elections were once again available it became obvious that both in Sunni Arab areas (where there used to be a lot of support for al Qaeda) and Shia areas (where there used to be a lot of support for the kind of religious dictatorship found in Shia Iran) that Iran was seen as the enemy.

A good read.

TIME TO RENAME YALE, instead of honoring racist, slave-trading Yale University founder.

Speaking as the very first “Yalie of the Week,” so named by the Yale Alumni Magazine back in 2008, I think it’s time. Now, about John Harvard. . . .


CHARLES C.W. COOKE: That NYT Oped Is Right: Trump and Sessions need more censorship powers to preserve public safety! “The United States federal government is now run at every level by Republicans. So, indeed, are the lion’s share of the governors’ mansions, statehouses, and localities. If the ACLU really knuckles down, it can ensure that these figures — and not pernicious ‘neutral’ principle — determine the edges and contours of America’s civil society.”

A TRUMP VOTER SPEAKS: It’s Not Trump They Hate—It’s Us!

IF ALL YOU KNEW CAME FROM THIS LAME PIECE BY NOAH FELDMAN, you’d think that “Whose streets? Our streets!” was a Nazi slogan instead of a longstanding lefty chant, and you’d have no idea that there has been violent lefty street thuggery from Antifa since before the election.

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ILYA SOMIN: A cosmopolitan case against world government.

RACISM IN WHITOPIA: In cities that vote blue, no immunity from racism. “Progressive to its core, Portland is also America’s whitest big city – in part the troubling legacy of Oregon’s founding goal in the 19th century of creating a white utopia through exclusionary laws. Here in a city of hops and hipsters, where Republicans have been all but banished, Ms. Smith’s properties have been vandalized with racist graffiti – a particularly sore point since they are one of the only black families left in what was once the core of black Portland, around the corner from where Duke Ellington used to hang out. . . . And as white Portlanders have grown richer, the median black income has fallen – to less than $30,000 per year. The city’s criminal justice system sends black kids to juvenile detention at four to five times the rate of white kids, for the same misdeeds.”

Plus: “It isn’t Richard Spencer calling the cops on me for farming while Black. It’s nervous White women in yoga pants with ‘I’m with Her’ and ‘Coexist’ stickers on their German SUVs.”


The Trump administration has ended Operation Choke Point, the anti-fraud initiative started under the Obama administration that many Republicans argued was used to target gun retailers and other businesses that Democrats found objectionable.

Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd told GOP representatives in a Wednesday letter that the long-running program had ended, bringing a conclusion to a chapter in the Obama years that long provoked and angered conservatives who saw Choke Point as an extra-legal crackdown on politically disfavored groups.

“All of the department’s bank investigations conducted as part of Operation Chokepoint are now over, the initiative is no longer in effect, and it will not be undertaken again,” Boyd wrote in the letter.

The letter was addressed to Jeb Hensarling and Bob Goodlatte, the chairmen of the Financial Services and Judiciary Committees, respectively. Their staffs confirmed they received the letter.

The Republicans had written last week to Attorney General Jeff Sessions for confirmation that the program was over so that businesses that might be targeted could breathe easy.

Now Hensarling, Goodlatte et al. should pass a statute that will prevent the next Democratic administration from doing the same thing.


August 18, 2017

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STEPHEN L. CARTER: Things would be better if the press focused on Trump’s policies instead of his tweets. “Journalists should by all means cover what the president and his appointees actually do, particularly at the level of regulation. But the nonstop coverage of his every silly or venal remark leaves little room for conversation about what his administration is doing — and yet it is those acts, not his words, that will have a lasting effect on the nation. So let’s stop wasting energy deconstructing his tweets and start the important democratic work of debating his policies.”

Well, I tried to tell them this back in January, but they don’t have sufficient self-control.

2001 FLASHBACK: “SmarterTimes is reporting two interesting facts: the New York Times is the only major American paper on the Web not blocked by the Chinese government. It’s also soft-pedaling treatment of China, and especially Jiang Zemin. Coincidence?”

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FASTER, PLEASE: New treatment approved for deadly blood cancer.


SMASH ALL THE THINGS! New Orleans’ Joan of Arc Statue Vandalized With ‘Take It Down.’

Wait, which side did she fight for in the Civil War?


In recent years, there has been increasing concern about the effects of artificial intelligence and robots on humans. Some people have worried that humans will be marginalized to the point of being put out of work. Why hire a human when a much cheaper robot can do the job without being distracted? Of course, we can never be sure about the future. But a look at technological revolutions in the past should make us more optimistic than pessimistic about the fate of human labor in the age of AI.

In the past, the introduction of more and more machinery made people more and more productive. And since real incomes—wages and salaries—are closely tied to productivity, machinery caused people’s real incomes to increase. The same will be true of robots, whether we define robots narrowly as human-looking machines that move purposely on a factory floor or more broadly as machines that involve artificial intelligence. The fear of robots is similar to the fear of automation that was common only a few decades ago—and just as bogus.

In 1930, British economist John Maynard Keynes, reflecting on the progress of technology, predicted that his generation’s grandchildren would have a 15-hour workweek. Assuming that a generation is 30 years, we should have had that 15-hour workweek in 1990. Did we? Not even close. Twenty-seven years after 1990, we still don’t. But why don’t we? Where did Keynes go wrong?

It wasn’t in his assumption about increasing productivity. Rather, Keynes was probably assuming that people would work enough to get the same standard of living they had in 1930. If that was his assumption, then he was quite accurate in predicting our productivity per hour. In the four score and seven years since Keynes made his prediction, our productivity has doubled and doubled again. We could easily have what we had then if we worked 15-hour weeks now.

Read the whole thing. But how far forward can we project the trends of the past?

RACISTS SHOULDN’T DO DNA: I Celebrated Black History Month… By Finding Out I Was White. “I found out I was White. Not just 13% White, my husband’s percentage when he too completed the ancestry composition report. Not just 25% White, since the average amount of DNA in an African American’s genome traced back to West Africa is about 75%. I was damn near 1/3 White. That’s significant. . . . It can remain a theory for the rest of my family, but as someone who has become a Black millennial marketing expert… this s*** matters. It’s as if I’ve obscured the one thing which has guided me since I was nine years old… my heritage. Even back then I believed in Black power, creating drawings in art class titled “A Strong Black Nation”, featuring black construction paper hands reaching for the sky. Along with being a millennial and being a woman, being Black enlivens me. I’m personally and professionally compelled to clarify misconceptions and elevate all three of my squads. As inappropriate (but honest) as it sounds, I’d discovered I had the so-called ‘superior’ race running through my veins, and never before had I felt so inferior. Then, in a startling and unexpected twist, shame surfaced.”

Related: White nationalists are flocking to genetic ancestry tests. Some don’t like what they find.

TYLER O’NEIL: If the Monuments Must Go, Don’t Forget These.


Well, at least until the left airbrushes it all down the memory hole.

BUT OF COURSE: Worse than Nazis? Gun Owners. “Don’t look [to] the ACLU for help if you plan to exercise both your First and Second Amendment rights.”

Never mind the fact that the Nazis were notorious gun-grabbers.


The reporter of the piece was Sam Levine. His funniest paragraphs was this: “Bannon also gave a bizarre interview this week to The American Prospect, a progressive publication, calling white supremacists a “collection of clowns” and contradicted Trump’s military threats to North Korea.” The HuffPost thinks it’s bizarre to mock white supremacists?

Linguistically, the HuffPost was in sync with white-supremacist anti-Semite David Duke, who tweeted in the same time frame, implying Jared & Ivanka were the end of Bannon: “(((They))) are no longer behind the curtain – in your face, Goy!”

As Harry Khachatrian of the Daily Wire tweets, “When you try going on HuffPost-dot-com and it redirects you to DailyStormer.” Seth Mandel of the New York Post and Commentary adds, “HuffPo decides to reinforce the conspiracy theory that the Joos are running things and are picking off their enemies one by one.”

Why are Democrat-monopoly institutions such cesspits of racism and conspiracy theories?

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JUST-IN-TIME DELIVERY: Finally! The ISS Crew Just Received Real Ice Cream Thanks to SpaceX. “According to Kloeris, astronauts will get to snack on 30 individual cups of Blue Bell ice cream and some Snickers ice cream bars.”

FASTER? PLEASE! Propelled by an electrical current and traveling at speeds up to Mach 7.5, the US Navy’s Hyper Velocity Projectile can shoot out of a rail gun to destroy enemy ships, vehicles.

The Office of Naval Research is now bringing the electromagnetic rail gun out of the laboratory and into field demonstrations at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division’s new rail gun Rep-Rate Test Site at Terminal Range.

“Initial rep-rate fires (repetition rate of fires) of multi-shot salvos already have been successfully conducted at low muzzle energy. The next test sequence calls for safely increasing launch energy, firing rates and salvo size,” a statement from ONR says.

Railgun rep-rate testing will be at 20 megajoules by the end of the summer and at 32 megajoules by next year. To put this in perspective; one megajoule is the equivalent of a one-ton vehicle moving at 160 miles per hour, ONR information states.

That’s enough energy to give even a small projectile enough kinetic energy to ruin anyone’s whole day.

TOP SHELF: Want A $400K Grant To Watch Gay People Drink?

21ST CENTURY HEADLINES: Self-Driving Wheelchairs Debut in Hospitals and Airports.

PAULA BOLYARD: Tech Companies Begin Blacklisting Alt-Right Sites, Purging Them from the Internet.

If this is the new norm, what’s the excuse for permitting continued access for hate and/or racist groups like La Raza, Black Lives Matter, or Antifa?

COMMON SENSE, MID-WESTERN STYLE, FROM THE ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH: “Daryle Lamont Jenkins, a member of the anti-fascist movement, told National Public Radio on Thursday that violent confrontation is justifiable when police won’t stop white supremacists from marching. In other words, he believes in illegal vigilante action when police refuse to violate marchers’ constitutional rights.” That’s the bases loaded-triple. Here’s the home run:

Imagine how quickly our country would descend into anarchy if vigilante action ever did become justifiable. The minute it becomes acceptable to break the law to silence one group, all others become vulnerable to attack by anyone who disagrees with them […]Ahead of Trump’s inauguration, extreme left-wing groups began using the slogan “Punch a Nazi” as they advocated violent intervention to halt demonstrations by far-right groups. One self-declared anti-fascist punched white supremacist Richard Spencer, a Trump supporter, in the face on Inauguration Day while he was being interviewed on a Washington, D.C., street. It was not OK then, nor will it ever be.

“A law that can be directed against speech found offensive to some portion of the public can be turned against minority and dissenting views to the detriment of all. The First Amendment does not entrust that power to the government’s benevolence. Instead, our reliance must be on the substantial safeguards of free and open discussion in a democratic society.” — Justice Anthony Kennedy, in Matal v. Tam, 582 U.S. ___ (2017).


WHY IS SILICON VALLEY SO RACIST? AI Programs Are Learning to Exclude Some African-American Voices.

Related: Why Microsoft Accidentally Unleashed a Neo-Nazi Sexbot.

REPORT: Steve Bannon Out At White House.

UPDATE: Report: Bannon resigned two weeks ago.

ROD DREHER: Trump Is More In Touch Than You Think.

• A strong majority (62 percent) of Americans favor leaving the Confederate statues standing as historical markers

• Overwhelming numbers of Republicans (86 percent) favor this, as do 61 percent of Independents

• The only group with a majority favoring removal (57 percent) are “Strong Democrats” — as opposed to “Soft Democrats,” who slightly favor keeping them (52 percent)

• When defined by political ideology, only Liberal/Very Liberal people muster a majority for taking statues down (57 percent). Among self-described Moderates, 67 percent favor leaving the statues standing. A whopping 81 percent of Conservative/Very Conservative people favor the statues staying in place

• Unsurprisingly, the Northeast is the region of the country most in favor of removing the statues — but even there, a majority (53 percent) backs leaving the statues standing

• Here’s a stunner: 44 percent of African-Americans polled believe in keeping the statues standing. Of Latinos, 65 percent believe the statues should remain

• Comfortable majorities — no less than 60 percent — in each age cohort support the statues
This is barely an issue with white Evangelicals, 85 percent of whom back the statues. Only nine percent favor removal, with the rest unsure

• On Trump’s response to Charlottesville, 52 percent believe it hasn’t been strong enough
Of that number, 52 percent of Independents believe Trump has fallen short; only 30 percent are satisfied

In recent years the American left has been at its most intolerant and its most shrill on losing issues. (Here’s a great example of that from this very morning.) And in recent months, even after what should have been a powerful learning moment last November, they have doubled down on self-defeat.

SCOTT ADAMS: How To Know You’re In A Mass-Hysteria Bubble.


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JIM TREACHER: Let’s Destroy All The Statues Of Dead White Guys, Including Abraham Lincoln.

Congratulations, America. You wanted mob rule because you’re angry about not getting President Grandma like you were promised? Now you’ve got it. Enjoy.

NBC Chicago:

An Abraham Lincoln was damaged and burned in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood late Wednesday, Ald. Ray Lopez said… The statue, a bust of Lincoln, was erected by Phil Bloomquist on Aug. 31, 1926.

It seems very strange to destroy a statue of Abraham Lincoln because you’re angry about Confederate monuments. But then, I didn’t go to Chicago schools.

Dead white guys deserve whatever they get, because reasons.

PEAK IDIOCRACY: Having solved all of Manhattan’s infrastructure issues this summer, “Confederate flag ‘looking’ tiles to be removed from subway.”

“LAY IT ON THE LINE”: Judge in tea party case orders IRS to disclose employee names, reasons.

Judge Reggie B. Walton also said the IRS must explain the reasons for the delays for 38 groups that are part of a lawsuit in the District of Columbia, where they are still looking for a full accounting of their treatment.

Judge Walton approved another round of limited discovery in the case and laid out six questions that the IRS must answer, including the employees’ names, why the groups were targeted and how the IRS has tried to prevent a repeat.

At a hearing earlier this week, Judge Walton said it was time to get everything on the table.

“Lay it on the line. Put it out there,” he told attorneys for the IRS, who are continuing to fight some tea party groups’ demands for full disclosure.

Meanwhile, tainted IRS chief John Koskinen is still on the job.

JAMES LILEKS: What an Exhausting Week.

Beyond the endlessly craptacular news cycle, James’ week has been the very definition of emotionally exhausting — his dog Scout (who in 2014 was the successor to Jasper, the co-star of many a Bleat during its first decade and a half), went missing at the beginning of last week, and still hasn’t been found, as Lileks explains in his latest post.

FLASHBACK: Finland Growing Restive Over Muslim ‘Migrants.’

Plus, Hot Mic has updates as they come in. You can start here.

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ROGER SIMON: Charlottesville, Barcelona and the Left’s Nostalgia for Nazism.

Read the whole thing.

BRUCE BAWER: Let’s Not Talk about Islam.

But let’s do talk about people who refuse to talk about Islam.

FASTER, PLEASE: Navy Hybrid Path to 355-Ship Fleet Could Only Take 10 to 15 Years.

The Navy could reach a 355-ship fleet by 2030 if it both extended the service life of most of its current ships and built more than two dozen new ships beyond current shipbuilding plans, two admirals said this week.

Neither approach is sufficient on its own – service life extension programs (SLEPs) help get the Navy there faster, and accelerating shipbuilding is needed to then keep the fleet at that larger size. But, speaking at the American Society of Naval Engineers’ annual Fleet Maintenance and Modernization Symposium, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) commander Vice Adm. Tom Moore and NAVSEA Deputy Commander for Surface Warfare (SEA 21)/Commander of Navy Regional Maintenance Centers Rear Adm. Jim Downey said the Navy is embracing a hybrid approach that would get the service to a 355-ship fleet in 10 to 15 years, compared to a 30-year timeline with new construction alone.

Thirty years is too long.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Wasserman Schultz’ Former IT Staffer Imran Awan Indicted On Four Counts. “The indictment also includes his wife Hina Alvi.”

HMMM: What if the DNC Russian “hack” was really a leak after all? A new report raises questions media and Democrats would rather ignore.

Yet another far left Website is exploring this topic; Salon is echoing the Nation’s article last week.

RICHARD HASEN: Speech in America is fast, cheap and out of control.

He says that like it’s a bad thing.

In the old days, just a handful of TV networks controlled the airwaves, and newspapers served as gatekeepers for news and opinion content. A big debate back in the 1980s and earlier was how to enable free expression for those who did not own or work for a media company and wanted to get a message out.

In 1995, UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh wrote a remarkably prescient Yale Law Journal article looking ahead to the coming Internet era. In “Cheap Speech and What It Will Do,” Volokh foresaw the rise of streaming music and video services such as Spotify and Netflix, the emergence of handheld tablets for reading books, the demise of classified advertising in the newspaper business, and more generally how technology would usher in radical new opportunities for readers, viewers and listeners to custom design what they read, saw and heard, while at the same time undermining the power of intermediaries including publishers and bookstore owners.

To Volokh, these changes were exciting and democratizing. But 22 years later, the picture of what the cheap-speech boom has wrought seems considerably darker. No doubt the Internet has dramatically lowered the costs of obtaining information and spurred the creation and consumption of content from radically diverse sources. Anyone with an idea can now get it out on Facebook, Twitter or any number of other sites accessible to anyone in the world with an Internet connection. And cheap speech has been a boon to those fighting oppressive regimes around the world, as truthful messages and relevant information can spread despite government censorship efforts.

Less positively, cheap speech has undermined mediating and stabilizing institutions of American democracy, including newspapers and political parties, with negative social and political consequences.

Freedom of speech is enshrined in the Constitution; the power of information gatekeepers is not.

The Founders knew what they were doing.

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THIS SEEMS PREMATURE: Art of the Deal Writer Says Trump Will Resign Before Year’s End.


In 2012, for example, Obama won Silicon Valley by more than 40 percentage points. Of the political donations to presidential candidates that year from employees at Google and Apple, over 90 percent went to Obama.

One of the legacies of the Obama era was the triumph of green advocacy and identity politics over class.

No one has grasped that reality better that the new billionaire barons of the West Coast. As long as they appeared cool, as they long as they gave lavishly to left-wing candidates, and as long as they mouthed liberal platitudes on global warming, gay marriage, abortion, and identity politics, they earned exemption from progressive scorn.

The result was that they outsourced, offshored, monopolized, censored, and made billions — without much fear of media muckraking, trust-busting politicians, unionizing activists, or diversity lawsuits.

Hip billionaire corporatism is one of the strangest progressive hypocrisies of our times.

All of which is why Kurt Schlichter proposes that “Conservatives Must Regulate Google And All of Silicon Valley Into Submission.”

GREEN BAY RAIDERS: U.S. Marines depart the well deck of the USS Green Bay — by rubber raft.


…exceeded its heavy water production cap, necessary for a plutonium nuclear bomb,…(is) testing more advanced centrifuges…illicitly procuring highly sensitive nuclear and ballistic missile technology in Germany, according to Berlin’s intelligence services…surpassing its uranium enrichment cap, another key non-compliance factor…

Obama’s Iran deal is a very very bad deal.

SARAH HOYT: In Defense of Vile Speech.

The antidote to vile speech is more speech — not violence.

THE NARCISSISM OF MINOR DIFFERENCES: Fighting Nazis doesn’t make ‘antifa’ the good guys.

WHY ARE MILITARY BASES IN THE SOUTH NAMED FOR CONFEDERATE GENERALS?: An op-ed from the Charlotte Observer by Michael Newcity, a professor at Duke. When you read it remember who was president in 1918: Woodrow Wilson. Wilson was a Democrat, a southerner and a for real racist who segregated the federal work force. Note Newcity doesn’t mention Wilson, his party or his ugly record.


“THERE’S A REASON STEVE BANNON LOVES THIS ISSUE:” Poll: Strong majority opposes removing Confederate monuments.

IT’S ALMOST LIKE THEY’RE MORE FASCIST THAN “ANTI-FASCIST:” Jake Tapper: Antifa protesters have attacked several journalists.

Note that although the Tea Party movement was treated much worse by mainstream media than Antifa has been, Tea Partiers never physically attacked journalists, or anyone. Note also that this didn’t get the Tea Party any credit, or even spare it from being compared to Nazis and the Klan.

MATTHEW CONTINETTI: America’s new, combustible four-party system.

Trump’s emphasis on social issues broadly construed—on abortion, guns, judges, crime, drugs, immigration, terrorism—and his rejection of orthodox GOP support for free trade and entitlement reform transformed the Republican makeup. What Drutman describes as a “split in the Republican Party between populists and conservatives” can also be interpreted as a division between the party of Trump and the Grand Old Party. The two parties may agree on some issues, but they differ in tone and outlook and on crucial policy questions. It is difficult for them to function as a coalition government. Trump’s health care reform is stalled in Congress, his tax reform is inchoate, and his infrastructure plan is nonexistent. The two parties are able to unite against the left, but have trouble finding common legislative ground.

Making things more complicated is the fact that there are more than these two parties. Drutman also found divisions within the Democrats. “To the extent that the Democratic Party is divided, these divisions are more about faith in the political system and general disaffection than they are about issue positions.” The Democratic Party of Barack Obama and Bill and Hillary Clinton is satisfied with the status quo, and uses identity politics as a veneer for economic policies that benefit Wall Street, Silicon Valley, Hollywood, and multinational corporations. What we might call the party of Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, is both more radical on questions of political correctness and identity and hostile to the established order. The party of Sanders wants radical change. Beginning with Medicare for all.

Recent events have brought to light the distinction between the party of Trump and the GOP. But it would be foolish for Democrats to believe that they are out of the woods, that America has settled, for the moment, on a three-party system. What we have are four parties: The mainstream Republicans, the party of Trump, the mainstream Democrats, and the party of Sanders.

The old two-party system had failed — failed to pursue its constituents’ interests, failed at basic governance, and worst of all, failed to protect America’s institutions, both formal and informal. “Worst political class ever,” as Glenn as noted here more than once.

So the current mess might not be an improvement (at least not yet), but it was certainly inevitable. And it will likely be years before the dust settles — if then.

QUESTIONS NOBODY IS ASKING. Wolf Blitzer: People will ask, was the Barcelona terror attack a copycat of Charlottesville?

As Allahpundit writes, “after eight jihadi car-ramming terror attacks this year alone, I think it’s more likely people will ask whether Wolf ate paint chips as a kid.”

FOLLOW-UP: U.S. Hiding Key Details of Mystery Attacks on American Diplomats in Cuba.

U.S. officials disclosed earlier this month that six Americans were struck by a mystery illness believed to be caused by a covert sonic device in what many think was a clandestine operation targeting U.S. personnel stationed in the communist country.

The number of Americans impacted is greater than previously disclosed, according to multiple U.S. officials who told the Free Beacon that those suffering from symptoms of sonic damage appears to be more than 10.

“It’s definitely in the double digits,” one source told the Free Beacon.

The mysterious incident has roiled the relationship between the United States and Cuba and has raised more questions than answers in Congress, where lawmakers are finding their inquiries about the situation stymied.

Why is the Trump Administration continuing the Obama Administration’s stonewalling?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Antifa is a ‘major gift to the Right.’

UPDATE: China and India are dangerously close to military conflict in the Himalayas.

For the past two months, Indian and Chinese troops have faced off on a plateau in the Himalayas in tense proximity, in a dispute prompted by moves by the Chinese military to build a road into territory claimed by India’s close ally, Bhutan.

India has suggested that both sides withdraw, and its foreign minister said in Parliament that the dispute can be resolved only by dialogue.

Yet China has vociferously defended the right it claims to build a road in the Doklam area, territory it also claims.

Since the dispute began, the Chinese Foreign Ministry has issued an angry stream of almost daily denunciations of India and its “illegal trespass” and “recklessness,” along with demands that New Delhi withdraw its troops “if it cherishes peace.”

WEDNESDAY: “This week’s scuffle might just be a preview of a bigger and badder sequel to the ’62 war.”

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EUGENE VOLOKH: Can private employers fire employees for going to a white supremacist rally?

A substantial minority of states, though, do ban discrimination based on political activity, especially off-the-job political activity; some cities and counties do as well. I cataloged them in 2012 in my article “Private Employees’ Speech and Political Activity: Statutory Protection Against Employer Retaliation“; since then, Utah has enacted a similar statute as well.

a. Some statutes ban employers from firing employees for “political activity,” including ideological advocacy generally and not just election-related politics. California, Colorado, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah and West Virginia seem to fall in this category; there are similar ordinances in Seattle and Madison, and a New Mexico statute may also fit here, though it’s a bit more ambiguous.

b. Connecticut protects employees from retaliation for their speech more broadly.

c. Colorado and North Dakota ban employers from firing employees for any off-duty lawful activity; that would cover speech as well.

Even “at will” states are not always truly “at will.”

Related: Legal Experts Say That Fired Google Engineer Has Strong Case for Damages: Ex-Google employee James Damore’s best chances for remedy his firing are with California employment law, says a lawyer.

Ironically, of course, these protections were mostly put into place by lefties.

LINK-O-RAMA: Liz Sheld’s Friday morning brief is short but data-packed.

Plus, Latest Updates on the Barcelona Terror Attack from Patrick Poole.

FIRST AMENDMENT ICON BURT NEUBORNE: From cross burning to funeral protests, hate speech enjoys broad protection.

The First Amendment, the justices have said, protected a Ku Klux Klan member decrying Jews and blacks in Ohio in 1969. It protected neo-Nazis seeking to march through heavily Jewish Skokie, Ill., in 1977. It protected a U.S. flag burner from Texas in 1989, three cross burners from Virginia in 2003 and homophobic funeral protesters in 2011.

Just two months ago, the high court ruled unanimously that even derogatory trademarks deserve First Amendment protection — a victory for an Asian-American rock band dubbed The Slants as well as the Washington Redskins.

You wouldn’t know it from the public condemnation that has followed the events in Charlottesville, which led to the death of a 32-year-old female counter-protester and two state troopers.

Faced with the racist and anti-Semitic speeches and symbols of the marchers, the violence that resulted and President Trump’s equivocal denunciation of “all sides,” Republican as well as Democratic officials have said the groups should not be welcomed anywhere.

Ah, but they are — by virtue of Supreme Court precedent.

“I don’t quarrel with the president’s recognition that people had a right to march,” said Burt Neuborne, a professor of civil liberties at New York University School of Law who represented Ku Klux Klan members and others as an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer. “This is a time to distinguish legal rights from moral condemnation.”


SPACE TO DESTROY, THE FINAL FRONTIER: Here’s A List Of All The Monuments Liberals Want To Tear Down So Far.

You’re gonna need a bigger blog.

Related: “CNN posted a map on August 17 showing the location of approximately 1,500 Confederate monuments and/or official symbols in the U.S. The map will, no-doubt, serve as a hit-list for the frenzied Workers World Party members and others seeking the removal and destruction of Confederate statues in city after city across America.”

HAVE YOU HUGGED A FRACKER TODAY? OPEC’s Oil-Glut Fight Could Last Years.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its partners plan to wrap up their production cuts next spring, already nine months later than originally expected. Yet oil prices are faltering again as data from the International Energy Agency show world inventories could remain oversupplied even after the end of 2018. ESAI Energy LLC predicts that, rather than months, draining the surplus may take years.

“They’re going to have to dig in for the long haul,” Neil Atkinson, head of the IEA’s oil markets and industry division, said in a Bloomberg television interview. “Re-balancing is a stubborn process.”

Have they factored in the cheating?


In this, the summer of our discontent, many college presidents are breathing a sigh of relief that they made it through a politically fraught spring without their campuses erupting. Nobody wants to be the next Middlebury or Claremont McKenna, where demonstrations disrupted controversial speakers.

Law deans, in sharp contrast, have reason to be cheery. Their campuses have been largely exempt from ugly free-speech incidents like these. Charles Murray, the controversial scholar whose speech drew violent reaction at Middlebury, has spoken at Yale Law School twice during the past few years. Students and faculty engaged with him, and students held a separate event to protest and discuss the implications of his work. But he spoke without interruption. That’s exactly how a university is supposed to work.

There may be a reason why law students haven’t resorted to the extreme tactics we’ve seen on college campuses: their training. Law school conditions you to know the difference between righteousness and self-righteousness. That’s why lawyers know how to go to war without turning the other side into an enemy. People love to tell lawyer jokes, but maybe it’s time for the rest of the country to take a lesson from the profession they love to hate.

In law schools we don’t just teach our students to know the weaknesses in their own arguments. We demand that they imaginatively and sympathetically reconstruct the best argument on the other side. From the first day in class, students must defend an argument they don’t believe or pretend to be a judge whose values they dislike. Every professor I know assigns cases that vindicate the side she favors–then brutally dismantles their reasoning. Lawyers learn to see the world as their opponents do, and nothing is more humbling than that. We teach students that even the grandest principles have limits. The day you really become a lawyer is the day you realize that the law doesn’t–and shouldn’t–match everything you believe. The litigation system is premised on the hope that truth will emerge if we ensure that everyone has a chance to have her say.

The rituals of respect shown inside and outside the courtroom come from this training. Those rituals are so powerful that they can trump even the deepest divides. As Kenneth Mack recounts in his book Representing the Race: The Creation of the Civil Rights Lawyer, Thurgood Marshall was able to do things in court that a black man could never do in any other forum, like subjecting a white woman to cross-examination. Marshall was able to practice even in small, segregated towns in rural Maryland during the early days of the civil rights movement. The reason was simple: despite their bigotry, members of the Maryland bar had decided to treat Marshall as a lawyer, first and foremost.

She makes excellent points, though I wonder if a contemporary equivalent of Marshall would do as well today, when the personal is political and when “protesters” scrawl “Fuck Law” on the Lincoln Memorial. Marshall, after all, benefited from the bourgeois conventions of dignity that a latter generation of activists rejected.

IF IT’S A CHOICE BETWEEN POLITICAL EXPEDIENCE AND ITS CORE MISSION, I EXPECT THE ACLU TO PICK THE FORMER: Odd statement from the ACLU: ‘White Supremacist Violence is Not Free Speech.’ They’re going to take the position that some speech is so inflammatory it counts as violence. Because ultimately they’re driven by their wealthy Democrat donor base.

I’d like to be wrong about this, but I don’t think I am. I’ve seen one institution after another abandon its stated purpose and mission to support the party line.

LATE-STAGE SOCIALISM: Venezuela’s Maduro Regime Steps Up Crackdown on Dissidents.

The raid came just as a so-called truth commission established by the constituyente announced investigations into Julio Borges, president of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, and Freddy Guevara, the assembly’s vice president, claiming that they promoted violent anti-government protests that have left more than 100 dead.

The campaign of repression is already well advanced. The Venezuelan chapter of Transparency International says that 40 of 77 opposition mayors have been threatened or punished by the government since 2013, with some removed and jailed, some having their powers curtailed and some barred from leaving the country.

“This is an atrocity,” said Ramon Muchacho, the former mayor of the Chacao district in Caracas, an opposition hotbed, who has fled to Miami. “The truth commission is little more than a firing squad.”

“Unexpectedly” now feels far too flip for stories coming out of Venezuela.

ENFORCING THE LAW? JUST A PASSING FAD: ‘Not One More Dollar’ for Immigration ‘Enforcement Craze,’ Gutierrez Vows.

BYRON YORK: Measuring, and mismeasuring, the Trump conundrum.

Perhaps the most astonishing thing about Donald Trump’s victory last November was that, according to exit polls, 60 percent of the voters had an unfavorable impression of Trump on the day he was elected president of the United States.

Now, it’s remarkable that after all that has happened, Trump’s favorable and unfavorable rating — not his job approval, but whether people hold a favorable or unfavorable view of him — is virtually the same as it was on election day.

A new Marist poll, released Wednesday, found that 60 percent of those surveyed have an unfavorable view of the president, versus 34 percent who have a favorable view and six percent who don’t know.

In the RealClearPolitics average of all polls on the favorable/unfavorable question, Trump is now at 55.6 percent unfavorable versus 39.0 percent favorable. That is little changed from his average on Nov. 8: 58.5 percent unfavorable, versus 37.5 percent favorable. Among the unfavorables, that is just 1.5 points difference from then to now; among the favorables, 2.9 points.

Considering all that has gone on in the Trump presidency — it’s too much to recount in a sentence or two — the stability of the Trump favorable/unfavorable rating is notable.

It’s almost as if people have tuned out the media chatter.

Meanwhile, if you care about making a difference in politics, you should focus on the 2018 elections and ignore the daily drama around Trump.

MARCO, POSING:Moral Courage and Moral Arbitrage.

AND VIOLENCE IS NOT SPEECH: Words Aren’t Violence.

IF THEY DON’T DESTROY ALL PAST ICONS, HOW CAN THE POOR SHRIVELED LITTLE THINGS SHINE? Social Justice Warriors Go After Elvis Presley, Forty Years After His Death.

IT’S TIME TO STOP THE NONSENSE:VICE Magazine Tweet Calls for Blowing Up Mount Rushmore.

THE END STAGE OF THE BLUE MODEL: No more worlds to conquer and still out of money.


THIS HAS BEEN A REALLY LONG DAY: [Developing] Multiple Shootings in Cambrils Near Barcelona.

IT ALSO DOESN’T MAKE YOU MORAL OR SPECIAL:Having power over others doesn’t necessarily make you feel powerful.