July 19, 2018 – SPENGLER ON RUSSIA

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We get fooled by Russia. We enjoy their accomplishments in Western idioms of literature and music and assume Russians are just like us. But those creations come from a thin veneer; a tiny percentage of Russians. Scratch below the surface and you will find xenophobic thuggish paranoid peasants. And they got there in the natural way – by geography.

Russia is located in the middle of the Great Northern European Plain that stretches from Germany all the way to steppes of Asia. There are no mountains or seas. Just an endless rolling landscape. There are no barriers to entry. No protection. Since the beginnings of Kievian Rus in the ninth century, Russian has fought in 158 wars. Here’s the list in Wikipedia. They fought with all their neighbors; The Byzantine Empire, Poland, Prussia, the Mongols, Lithuania, Sweden, etc. etc.. Five Romanov Czars, and Ivan the Terrible and Boris Godunov just before them, all fought with Sweden. Nine times Russia fought with the Byzantine Empire. And when that empire was history, Russia fought sixteen times with Turkey. 

Many of these were existential wars and in more than a millennium they formed the Russian psyche and its preference for a strong central state that could police the borders and protect the country. No wonder they prefer order. No wonder they persecute apostates. No wonder they like Putin. 

Our political ancestors lived on an island that was, with some exceptions, free of the fear of invasion from without. Our ancestors had more fear of tyranny from within. So, they wrote the Magna Carta. They wanted to control and temper the central state. They

nurtured the idea of representative government responsible to the citizens. We can pretend we are clothed in virtue, but if our culture developed and grew on the bountiful soil at the inhospitable intersection of two continents we would likely think like Russians.

Trump must have great intuition. His thoughts on Russia exhibit nuanced sophistication as he struggles to find a way for the two countries to exist together in the 21st century. The present enmity from the chattering classes is little more than a nuisance. David Goldman, writing as Spengler, comments on recent events with Russia. The title is; Once Again, President Trump Is Magnificently Right—This Time About Russia 

President Trump offended the entire political spectrum with a tweet this morning blaming the U.S. for poor relations with Russia. “Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity,” the president said, and he is entirely correct. By this I do not mean to say that Russia is a beneficent actor in world affairs or that President Putin is an admirable world leader. Nonetheless, the president displayed both perspicacity and political courage when he pointed the finger at the United States for mismanaging the relationship with Russia. …

… Unfortunately, the delusion that the United States would remake Russia in its own image persisted through the Bush and Obama administrations. I have no reason to doubt the allegations that a dozen Russian intelligence officers meddled in the U.S. elections of 2016, but this was equivalent of a fraternity prank compared to America’s longstanding efforts to intervene in Russian politics.

The United States supported the 2014 Maidan uprising in Ukraine and the overthrow of the Yanukovych government in the hope of repeating the exercise in Moscow sometime later. Then-Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland pulled whatever strings America had to replace the feckless and corrupt Victor Yanukovych with a government hostile to the Kremlin. She didn’t say it in so many words, but she hoped the Ukraine coup would lead to the overthrow of Vladimir Putin. Evidently Nuland and her boss, Hillary Clinton, thought that the Ukraine coup would deprive Russia of its Black Sea naval base in Crimea, and did not anticipate that Russia simply would annex an old Russian province that belonged to Ukraine by historical accident. …

… Russia is in crisis, but Russia always is in crisis. Russia has a brutal government, but Russia always has had a brutal government, and by every indication, the people of Russia nonetheless seem to like their government. If they want a different sort of government, let them establish one; what sort of government they prefer is not the business of the United States. America’s attempt to shape Russia’s destiny, starting with the Clinton administration’s sponsorship of the feckless, drunk and corrupt Boris Yeltsin, had baleful results. So did the State Department’s attempt to manipulate events in Ukraine in 2004 and 2014. …

… Nonetheless, it was America that made a mess of relations with Russia, and President Trump’s tweet this morning was right on the mark. You can usually gauge the merits of this president’s public statements by the decibel level of the protests. …

  

 

 

Here is a good article Spengler wrote for the Asia Times in 2008.

On the night of November 22, 2004, then-Russian president – now premier – Vladimir Putin watched the television news in his dacha near Moscow. People who were with Putin that night report his anger and disbelief at the unfolding “Orange” revolution in Ukraine. “They lied to me,” Putin said bitterly of the United States. “I’ll never trust them again.” The Russians still can’t fathom why the West threw over a potential strategic alliance for Ukraine. They underestimate the stupidity of the West. 

American hardliners are the first to say that they feel stupid next to Putin. Victor Davis Hanson wrote on August 12 [1] of Moscow’s “sheer diabolic brilliance” in Georgia, while Colonel Ralph Peters, a columnist and television commentator, marveled on August 14 [2], “The Russians are alcohol-sodden barbarians, but now and then they vomit up a genius … the empire of the czars hasn’t produced such a frightening genius since [Joseph] Stalin.” The superlatives recall an old observation about why the plots of American comic books need clever super-villains and stupid super-heroes to even the playing field. Evidently the same thing applies to superpowers. 

The fact is that all Russian politicians are clever. The stupid ones are all dead. By contrast, America in its complacency promotes dullards. A deadly miscommunication arises from this asymmetry. The Russians cannot believe that the Americans are as stupid as they look, and conclude that Washington wants to destroy them. That is what the informed Russian public believes, judging from last week’s postings on web forums, including this writer’s own

These perceptions are dangerous because they do not stem from propaganda, but from a difference in existential vantage point. Russia is fighting for its survival, against a catastrophic decline in population and the likelihood of a Muslim majority by mid-century. The Russian Federation’s scarcest resource is people. It cannot ignore the 22 million Russians stranded outside its borders after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, nor, for that matter, small but loyal ethnicities such as the Ossetians. Strategic encirclement, in Russian eyes, prefigures the ethnic disintegration of Russia, which was a political and cultural entity, not an ethnic state, from its first origins. …

 

July 15,2018 – SPENGLER

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It’s Spengler Day. Spengler was the pseudonym of David Goldman who originally wrote for the Asia Times. He has a column now in Pajamas Media. His first essay is; Israel Shows What Alliances Are For.  

 

A residual rancor against America’s $3 billion military aid budget to Israel still can be detected in the corners of the conservative movement. Yes, Israel is the only democracy in the region, and yes, Israel is an American ally, but Israel is out for Israel’s interests just as America is out for America’s interest — so why should American taxpayers subsidize the powerful and prosperous Jewish state?

 

Never mind that the $3 billion in military aid amounts to a Pentagon subsidy for American arms manufacturers. Never mind also that Israeli military technology and intelligence make an enormous (and largely untold) contribution to American security.

 

There’s a reason to maintain alliances in the cold light of Realpolitik which conservative isolationists refuse to consider: Allies can do things that we want done at much less risk to us and at far lower cost than if we were to do them directly.

 

Israel has substantially reduced Iran’s military capacity in Syria, for example, and has done so without provoking a confrontation with Russia. If the United States were to use its own planes to bomb Iranian installations in Syria, that would constitute a direct challenge to Russia’s presence in the country, and lead to a strategic confrontation that we do not want (and the isolationists want least of anyone). But Israel can do so, because Israel is no threat to Russia, and Israeli bombing raids in Syria do not humiliate the Kremlin. Israeli action keeps the matter on the local level, rather than escalating it to a matter of global tension. …

 

.. the United States gets enormous benefits by locking Israel into American weapons systems. First of all, Israel’s military R&D makes a huge contribution to our security. Its anti-rocket system, Iron Dome, was a minor miracle that the Pentagon did not believe possible at the time. More importantly, it aligns Israel with American interests, and encourages Israel to continue to take risks on our behalf.

 

All of the above should be obvious to anyone who knows the basic facts. President Donald Trump understands it clearly, and has done more than any American president to foster the Israeli-American alliance since Harry Truman recognized the new Jewish state in 1948. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that isolationists who still grumble about our alliance with Israel are victims of an ugly obsession.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appearing in Asia Times, he says NATO’s problem is that Europeans won’t fight.

 

 It is refreshing to hear an American president call the Europeans out for the sybarites and deadbeats they are.

 

President Trump outraged European opinion by denouncing his allies on the far side of the Atlantic for their failure to meet NATO’s spending target of 2% of GDP.

 

Other alliance members, he added, should spend 4% of their output on defense, just like America does. His dudgeon at the Europeans was more than justified: the Europeans really are deadbeats who don’t pay their fair share of the cost of defending their own countries and leave the burden in the hands of American soldiers and taxpayers.

 

Trump’s remonstrations will fall on deaf ears. Why should Europeans spend money on arms, when they have no intention of using them?

 

A recent opinion poll found that small minorities in the core European members of NATO were willing to fight for their country under any circumstances. …

 

… Something more than Locke’s notion of a mutual protection society is required if we are to justify the state’s monopoly of violence, its right to imprison or kill criminals at home, and to demand of its young people that they shed blood in its defense. The state must be imbued with a sense of the sacred and must stand surety for the continuity of our lives with those of generations that follow. It must preserve a heritage and a culture that allows our words and deeds to speak to future generations just as those of our ancestors speak to us.

 

Today’s Europe is something of a Lockean dystopia: It is composed of individuals concerned mainly about their own hedonic enjoyments, who want the government to protect them from want and disease, but have no desire whatever to defend their nations, which are on a slow boat to extinction in any event.

 

It is refreshing to hear an American president call the Europeans out for the sybarites and deadbeats they are, rather than repeat the old cant about the glories of the Atlantic Alliance and the gallantry of America’s allies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then he suggests that Trump could be one of our country’s great foreign policy presidents

 

Below I repost Uwe Parpart’s Asia Times analysis of the Trump-Kim summit in Singapore. Liberal media is aghast at the president’s rough handling of Canadian boy-band frontman Justin Trudeau, and his confrontational approach overall at the Group of Seven summit. When the dust settles, though, Trump may accomplish what eluded Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama: a stabler and safer world without the need for millions of American boots on the ground. He well may go down in history as one of our great foreign policy presidents. It’s not in the bag, but it is within sight. …

 

… Of course, Trump can’t please everybody. German Chancellor Angela Merkel complains that Trump is being too nice to Russia by suggesting that it rejoin the Group of Seven. Considering that Germany spends just 1.2% of GDP on defense and can’t get more than four fighters in the air at any given moment, that’s chutzpah. Merkel’s policy is to talk tough about sanctions against Russia while rolling over for Putin when it comes to Germany’s gas supplies, which will be supplied by the just-started Nord Stream II pipeline from Russia. Germany likes to wag a finger at Russia over its depredations in Ukraine, but only 18% of Germans say they will fight to defend their country. Trump’s policy is to rebuild American strength and stand up to Russia, while looking for ways to strike agreements with Russia–on American terms. That’s the difference between speak softly and carry a big stick, and declaim loudly while waving a bratwurst. If the Germans don’t want to spend money on defense, let alone fight, that’s their business, but they shouldn’t lecture us about how to handle the competition. …

 

 

July 9, 2018 – ROGUES IN ROBES

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John Fund spotted something important in the Supreme Court immigration ruling. It was an aside in Justice Thomas’ concurring opinion.

 

Whenever there is a Supreme Court vacancy, I view it as a chance to teach voters about the courts and their legitimate role in our government. We could use that. Last year, the Annenberg Center found that only 26 percent of those it surveyed could name the three branches of government (executive, judicial, and legislative). A full 33 percent couldn’t name even one branch.

Confusion about the proper role of the courts extends to many of our sitting judges. Last month, while the Supreme Court narrowly upheld the so-called Trump travel ban, Justice Clarence Thomas raised an issue that the next Supreme Court justice may have to weigh in on. Why is it, he asked, that a single federal district judge can impose an injunction blocking a presidential executive order in all 50 states even if none of his colleagues (599 district judges) thinks it’s a good idea? …

… Justice Thomas says their recent explosion calls for a rethinking of their validity because “no statute expressly grants district courts the power to issue universal injunctions.” He concludes that, as used today, they “boi[l] down to a policy judgment” about how judges define the limits of a president’s power. But that judgment is supposed to spring from the Constitution, not from the preferences of a black-robed figure. …

 

 

 

Glenn Reynolds had a good thought a few months ago about the people we put on SCOTUS. He call’s them “front row kids.” We can also think of them as “A” students. Pickerhead thinks we need more “C” students. After all, look at what the A students have brought us.

 

In the wake of the 2016 presidential election, we heard a lot about America’s division into two mutually hostile camps: a largely coastal, urban party run by educated elites, and a largely rural and suburban “flyover country” party composed of people who did not attend elite schools and who do not see themselves as dependent on those who do. This divide is more fundamental than mere partisan identification, as there are Democrats and Republicans in both groups.

One of the best formulations of this division comes from photographer Chris Arnade, who has spent years documenting the lives of America’s forgotten classes. In his characterization, America is split between the “Front Row Kids“ — who did well in school; moved to managerial, financial or political jobs; and see themselves as the natural rulers of their fellow citizens — and the “Back Row Kids,” who placed less emphasis on school; and who resent the pretensions and bossiness of the Front Row Kids.

While teaching constitutional law after the election, it occurred to me that though the Back Row Kids can elect whomever they want as president, senators or representatives, there is one branch of the federal government (and all state governments) that is, more or less by its nature, limited to Front Row Kids: the judiciary. …

 

July 7, 2018 – REX MURPHY

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We’ve spent time posting about events in Europe. We get closer to home with a stop in Canada. Rex Murphy of The National Post has an entertaining way of describing events in our country. He is thinking it’s ironic Trump-haters have become nastier than him.

It may now join the propositions of Euclid, as impregnable to rebuttal, that Donald Trump or any news that alludes to him, unhinges the minds of those who oppose him. Trump, in this respect, is like global warming. He is the universal key to every phenomenon. Any statement about Trump, so long as it is in any way condemnatory, dismissive, insulting or condescending, requires neither proof, consistency, logic or (and especially) decency.

Just as enlisting in the grand cause of global warming invests the recruit with the immeasurable gifts of infallibility, moral superiority and boundless righteousness, so too does opposition, even to hatred, of Trump free the mind from all obligation to moderation, custom, or articulate argument. It is the ultimate pass to be as nasty and crude as anyone could wish, and — with rarely noted irony — even to be more nasty and crude than the great boorish Trump himself. How odd: to oppose Trump is to become a more clangorous version of him. …

… Sarah Huckabee Sanders, an articulate, tough, poised woman, is his press secretary, who with seven of her friends went far out of Washington to have supper at a restaurant, The Red Hen. Two minutes after placing the order, the zealous owner, Stephanie Wilkinson, asked/told Sanders to leave. (No free-range chickens for you!) The obliging, polite, still esurient Sanders did, without demur or protest.

The locust swarm of anti-Trumpers soon hit the high clouds of Twitter to cheer Wilkinson’s “resistance.” She was the Bonhoeffer of Today’s Specials. Those who spoke a word or two in Sarah Sanders’ favour were mauled mercilessly. …

… Do you hate and despise Trump? Why then, you are virtue itself and a vessel of perfect probity. When the day comes, and the greeting at the Gate is done, the following dialogue will ensue:

St. Peter: “Were you against Trump and all his works and pomps? Did you call him Hitler?”

Red Hen devotee: “Yes, I was. Yes, I did.”

St. Peter: “Will that be one harp, or two?” …

 

 

 

 

Next Mr. Murphy writes on the Inspector General’s report on the FBI and DOJ.

Such was Anthony Weiner’s admiration of his private parts, he burned to share their glory with the world — particularly, that part of it composed of young and female strangers. Thus it was he became the Ansel Adams of genital selfies. Iphone in one hand, his unspeakables on the pedestal of the other, Instagram his gallery, out went the junk mail.

His other fame, leaving aside such trivia as serving in the U.S. Congress, and a hilarious run for mayor of New York, was his (now exploded) marriage to Hillary Clinton’s top aide and principal pilot fish, Huma Abedin. If Disney did noir it could be a movie: The Princess and the Pervert. …

… The whole world knew of the Abedin-Weiner marriage. The bandits of the Afghanistan mountains knew Huma and Anthony were married. The chipmunks of Central Park knew Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin were married. There are anchorites sitting on a tree spike somewhere in a desolate and empty landscape that knew this. Charlie Rose knew it.

However, there was one man, one mind alone, not furnished with that factum. It was the top man at the FBI, the No. 1 sleuth of the greatest investigative institution in all of human history, James Comey.

But Comey, a full six feet and seven inches of righteousness and zeal, says he didn’t know that Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin were man and wife. The man conducting an investigation into the conduct of the world’s most famous woman, and presidential candidate, did not know of the infamous husband of Ms. Clinton’s principal counsellor.

Ineluctably this leads to the conclusion that the only conceivable reason James Comey was selected as the head of the FBI, was that Inspector Clouseau was too busy sorting out whether there was ever any connection between one Brad Pitt and a woman called Angelina Jolie. …

… the really significant message, the big “tell” of the IG report. They know what’s best. They will tailor things for what they see as the “right” outcome. They, and they alone, are the enlightened. Those who think differently are “pieces of sh-t.” It’s not that they were going to “stop it.” It’s that they thought they had the right to stop it. 

And in all that basket of contempt and self-righteousness, who’s at the pinnacle, the chief Pharisee of the lot? James Comey. He has presided over a biased, democracy-defying FBI. He has used his position, in secret, to set the terms of the game. He went from judicious public servant to self-appointed master.

This is corruption. Not the corruption of money. The corruption of unfathomable, reckless moral egotism. Was the Clinton investigation a fix? How could it have been anything other, with this guy in charge?

 

 

July 1, 2018 – NO POGROM HERE

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There are areas of Europe where the slow pogrom is not taking place. Counter-intuitively, it is areas of Eastern Europe where Jews have found homes with far less strife than in Western Europe and the UK. David Goldman writes on Hungary. 

Last Friday evening I put on a kippah and walked half an hour across Budapest to the Keren Or synagogue maintained by the Budapest Chabad. After violent attacks on Jews in German streets,  the leaders of Germany’s Jewish community warned Jews last month  not to wear a kippah or any other visible sign of Jewish identification in public. The French community issued such warnings years ago. Belgian TV could not find a single Jew in Brussels willing to wear a kippah in public.  I walked across Budapest four times (for Friday evening and Saturday daytime services), and no-one looked at my kippah twice.  At services I met Hasidim who had walked to synagogue with kaftan and shtreimel, the traditional round fur hat. Whatever residual anti-Semitism remains among Hungarians, it doesn’t interfere with the open embrace of Jewish life. There are no risks to Jews because there are very few Muslim migrants.

On any given Friday evening, the Keren Or synagogue—one of several Chabad houses in Budapest—hosts two hundred people for dinner. Jewish life isn’t just flourishing in Budapest. It’s roaring with ruach, and livened by a growing Israeli presence. About 100,000 Israelis have dual Hungarian citizenship; many own property in the country and vote in Hungarian elections.

Prime Minister Orban has been a close friend of Israeli leader Binyamin Netanyahu for twenty years. When Orban first was elected prime minister in 1998 in the thick of an economic crisis, he asked then-Finance Minister Netanyahu for help, and Netanyahu lent him some of his staff to shape Hungary’s economic program.  I asked everyone at Keren Or who spoke English what they thought of Orban. In that gathering the prime minister would have polled 100%. …

… On April 8, Hungarians re-returned Orban to office with a two-thirds majority. He had served as prime minister for the past eight years, and has a lot to show for his efforts. Hungary’s economy is booming, with growth at 4%, unemployment at 3.9%, and a pronounced labor shortage. Budapest is a different city than the dowdy capital I last visited six years ago. New high-rises are sprouting, the streets are clogged with expensive cars, a new upscale restaurant opens every day and visible signs of prosperity are ubiquitous. Orban’s enemies do not allege that the vote was rigged, but they complain that his government put its thumb on the scales of state media to influence public opinion. It would seem that Orban’s previous eight years in office would have given the voters sufficient information.

Orban is also popular because he bucked the explicit directives of the European Commission in Brussels and refused to accept an Hungarian quota of Middle Eastern migrants (not refugees—three-fifths of the millions of Middle Easterners who surged into Europe in 2016 are economic migrants, by the Commission’s own reckoning). Along with the governments of Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Hungary formed the Visegrad Group and remains intransigent. Hungarians supported Orban, just as an absolute majority of Americans supported then-candidate Donald Trump’s promise to ban immigration from Middle Eastern terror states. The Soros foundations campaigned for free migration, with a budget of a size unimaginable in American terms. …

… In Western Europe, the political class hates Donald Trump viscerally. To the beleaguered nationalists of Eastern Europe, Trump is an inspiration. Americans in general and Jews in particular should remember who their friends are.

Like the Czechs and Poles, Hungary’s government worries that the United States may grow weary of its commitment to NATO. “You have to show strength to the Russians or they put their foot on your neck,” a senior official told me. Hungary also worries that the Merkel government in Germany is rolling over to Russia, giving lip-service to sanctions while increasing its dependence on Russian gas exports through the Nordstream II pipeline. Hungary does business with Russia, which invaded and occupied the country after World War II. The West shouldn’t provoke Russia, Budapest believes, but it should deal with Putin from a position of strength.

 

 

 

You’re really going to like Hungary when you learn it’s the bad boy of the EU. The story from Spiked OnLine

Brussels fears Hungary because it refuses to bow to imperial technocracy.

According to the political establishment that runs the EU, Hungary has become a xenophobic, authoritarian society. The Hungarian government and in particular the prime minister, Viktor Orban, are continually denounced for their alleged violations of EU values. The mainstream Western media have picked up the message that it is okay to hate Hungary. They give the impression that Hungary is a totalitarian and viciously anti-Semitic society in which critics of the regime are silenced and the government dominates the media.

Calls to expel Hungary from the EU by pro-EU voices in the Guardian and elsewhere echo an intolerant outlook that is growing within the Brussels oligarchy. Recently, members of the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee voted for a resolution that says the situation in Hungary constitutes ‘a clear risk of a serious breach’ of the EU’s values. 

Denunciations of the Hungarian government are often justified on the basis that this is a nation that refuses to go along with the migration policies that German chancellor Angela Merkel effectively imposed on the continent. Other Hungarian sins cited by the ‘Kick Hungary out of the EU’ lobby include a new law that makes life difficult for NGOs funded by George Soros. …

… It is paradoxical that supporters of the EU’s line on Hungary believe they are upholding the values of tolerance and democracy. In truth, they cannot tolerate a nation that has democratically decided to adopt values that are different to their own. The EU is very selective in the way it interprets its own values. Rhetorically, EU ideologues celebrate diversity, yet they are bitterly hostile to those who demand that diversity should also be applied to the realm of values. This is why the campaign against Budapest unabashedly claims that it has the right to impose its values on Hungary whether that nation and its people like it or not.

Since the re-election of the Orban government in April, hostility to Hungary has morphed into a highly politicised and irrational Magyarophobia. The EU establishment regards the massive mandate endorsing Orban’s policies as a direct challenge to its way of life. Isolating Hungary and containing its influence on the political life of other European member states has become a priority for the EU leadership. Scaremongering about the return of fascism in Hungary is really a way of imposing a cordon sanitaire around that country. Thankfully, support for the ideal of sovereignty is not confined to the people of one nation. Hungary’s challenge to the EU’s imperial ambitions may well resonate throughout the continent.

 

 

June 27, 2018 – “A SLOW POGROM”

 

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The situation of Jews in Europe and the UK today has been described as a slow pogrom. Pogrom is a Russian word pronounced with the accent on the second syllable (pogrom). These were small scale actions during the late 19th Century against Jews in the area known as the “Pale of the Settlement”. Which is an area comprised of parts of Belarus, Moldova, much of Ukraine and parts of Poland. This was where Jews were directed to settle starting in the reign of Catherine the Great. This restriction was ended by a decree of Kerensky’s Provisional Government in March 1917.  Melanie Phillips in Commentary is first with “Time to Leave?” 

 

These are alarming times for Jews in Britain and Europe.

The British Labour Party is convulsed over the realization that it is riddled with anti-Semitism. Jeremy Corbyn, its leader and a friend to Hamas, has been exposed as belonging to Facebook groups hosting claims that the Jews were behind ISIS and 9/11, that the Rothschilds controlled the world’s finances, and other such paranoid theories. The backwash from the exposure of these groups revealed a tsunami of anti-Jewish insults, smears, and libels by Labour supporters. Corbyn’s responses, often truculent and insulting to the Jewish community, have only deepened the crisis.

Last year, according to the Community Security Trust, saw the highest number of anti-Semitic incidents in Britain since the CST started recording such data in 1984. In the past, surges in these incidents had occurred in response to the reporting of Israeli military action. That’s disturbing enough. But what was more disturbing here was that this record surge had occurred in the absence of any such Israeli activity.

Worse is happening in mainland Europe. In Paris, an 85-year-old survivor of the Shoah, Mireille Knoll, was stabbed to death and her body burned by a young Muslim. Last year, a man shouting “Allahu akbar” beat up Jewish schoolteacher Sarah Halimi and threw her to her death out of her Paris apartment window. In January, a teenage girl in the Paris suburb of Sarcelles wearing the uniform of her Jewish school was slashed in the face with a knife. Later that month, an eight-year-old boy was beaten in the same area because he was wearing a kippah. In February, two Jewish men in Paris were attacked with a hacksaw amid a volley of Jew-hating abuse. …

… There are three different sources of anti-Semitism in Britain and Europe: on the left, on the right, and in the Muslim community. All these threats to the Jews are connected to one another. All are rooted in threats to Britain and Europe. All are creating a perfect anti-Jewish storm. …

… ANTI-WEST LEFT-THINK

This left-wing prism is responsible for eroding Western values, undermining the defense of Britain and Europe against jihad, and exposing Jews to attack. These are all connected. You cannot understand the resurgence of paranoid, unhinged anti-Semitism unless you understand that the West has been tearing up the very idea of reason itself along with the moral codes at the heart of Western civilization.

Leftists view the West as the historic and current oppressor of the entire developing world. This Western cultural self-hatred has a complex history, at the root of which lies the erosion of biblical morality by the tides of secularism. But in my view, the key political driver of this cultural demoralization was the Holocaust.

It simply smashed to smithereens Europe’s belief in itself as the exemplar of superior cultural values. The Holocaust was conceived and directed, after all, in the heartlands of high European culture, the supposed crucible of enlightenment and rationality. It wasn’t just the Jews who died in the extermination camps: It was also the West’s (or Europe’s) concept of itself as moral and rational.

Lethally demoralized, Western cultural elites took an axe to the building blocks of their civilization: an axe to education as the transmission of that civilization, an axe to the traditional family as the best way to generate emotionally resilient inheritors of that civilization, and an axe to national identity as the political expression of that civilization.

Policies and laws passed by national governments now had to take second place to transnational institutions, such as the UN and EU, and legal frameworks, such as international human-rights law. With no Western nation or values thought worthy of defending to the death, wars to establish justice and freedom were deemed inferior to conflict resolution, negotiation, and peace processes. Between God and the devil, Western liberals would split the difference and broker a triumphant compromise. …

… WHY LEFT-ING ANTI-SEMITISM?

This is the new anti-Semitism. Trying to understand it, however, is like peeling a rotten onion: Beneath every rancid layer lies a yet more rancid layer.

The outer, most visible layer is fairly obvious. The left in general now subscribes to beliefs once considered extreme. It has absorbed the Marxist concept that everything has to be understood in terms of political power. The world is divided into the powerful and the powerless. Those with power can never be good; those without power can never be bad. Those who make money have power over those who don’t make money. Those who make money are bad; those without money are good. Jews make money. Therefore Jews are powerful and bad.

The 19th-century German anti-Semite Wilhelm Marr, who is credited with inventing the term, ascribed to the Jews the attribute of global power. Israel —which isn’t really Western at all—is seen as menacingly powerful. That is its crime, and that is also why anti-Israelism is umbilically connected to anti-Semitism. Even though Jews are now equipped with military power solely to defend themselves against annihilation, this breathes life into the paranoid delusion that the Jews are so powerful that they pose a threat to everyone else.

The next layer of the onion is even more rank. This is that—as the black joke that isn’t a joke at all would have it—the West will never forgive the Jews for the Holocaust. This isn’t just because of the terrible legacy of guilt carried by the West. It is because of jealousy.

What on earth about the Holocaust can provoke such jealousy? It gives the Jews what many in the West perceive as the trump card of victimhood. …

 

 

 

 

After a recitation of French events cited by Melanie Phillips above, Guy Milliere, a University of Paris professor goes on in a post from last February. 

… Those French Jews who can leave the country, leave.

Those who have not yet decided to leave or who do not have the financial means, move to safer neighborhoods.

Most departures are hasty; many Jewish families sell their homes well below the market price. Some families end up in apartments that are too small, but prefer discomfort to the risk of being mugged or killed.

The French Jewish community may still be the largest in Europe, but it is shrinking rapidly. In 2000, it was estimated at 500,000, but the number now is less than 400,000, and sinking. Jewish districts that once were thriving are now on the verge of extinction.

“What is happening is an ethnic cleansing that dare not speak its name. In few decades, there will be no Jews in France,” according to Richard Abitbol, president of the Confederation of French Jews and Friends of Israel.

Without the Jews of France, France would no longer be France, said Former Prime Minister Manuel Valls in 2016 . But he did not do anything.

Recently he said that he had done his best, that he could not have done more. “The problem,” he said, “is that anti-Semitism today in France comes less from the far right than from individuals of the Muslim faith or culture”.

He added that in France, for at least two decades, all attacks against Jews in which the perpetrator has been identified have come from Muslims, and that the most recent attacks were no exception. …

… Politicians see that the number of Muslims in France is now so large that it is virtually impossible to win an election without the Muslim vote, and that the difference in birthrate between Muslims and non-Muslims will make that arrangement even more obligatory in years to come.

Politicians also see that the country’s 600 “no-go zones” are growing; that radicalized Muslims may kill, and that violent riots can break out at any time. In France, more than 500 people were murdered or maimed by Islamic terrorists in less than four years.

Politicians also see that waves of migrants from the Middle East and Africa have created slums largely beyond the control of the police; that French prisons are on the verge of exploding, and that Jews have no electoral weight and are essentially powerless.

Politicians therefore choose inertia, denial, cowardice.

In French Muslim neighborhoods, Islamist imams denounce the “bad influence” of Jews and spread anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. French politicians stay silent.

Islamic bookstores in France sell books banned elsewhere, such as the fraudulent Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and CDs and DVDs of violent anti-Semitic speeches by radical preachers. For instance, Yussuf al-Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, who is prohibited from entering France and the US, says he regrets that Hitler did not “finish the job”. French politicians stay silent.

Although synagogues in France have not been attacked since 2014, they all are guarded around the clock by armed soldiers in bulletproof vests who are protected behind sandbags, as are Jewish schools and cultural centers.

Meanwhile, laws meant to punish anti-Semitic threats are now used to punish those who denounce the threats.

Six years ago, the author Renaud Camus published Le Grand Remplacement (“The Great Replacement”), a book noting that Jews and Christians are not only being replaced by Muslims, but that they are often harassed and persecuted. He lamented the destruction of churches and described attacks on Jews as a “slow pogrom”. …

 

 Since we’ve been away for awhile, there’s lots of cartoons from Krauthammer to the Red Hen.

 

 

June 12, 2018 – TWO SUMMITS

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Trump says he’s gonna “wing it.” Hilarity ensues. Roger Simon has some thoughts.

Gasp! Gasp!  Trump is going all the way to Singapore to wing it with Kim Jong-un! What does he think he’s doing — negotiating for a golf course?

At least that’s what we’re being led to believe by news reports, …

… What, no briefing books?  Doesn’t the president know how well they worked for presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama when they and their envoys negotiated with North Korea in the past? Oh, wait…

And, come to think of it, didn’t Obama and Kerry have briefing books, filled with expertise, when they negotiated the Iran deal that gave the mullahs all the money upfront, including millions in untraceable cash, allowing them to run rampant all over the Middle East? …

… Of course, there is a lot more to it, including the role of China, but the real question is who would you trust to negotiate the U.S. and the world out of this mess — some diplomatic veteran of twenty-three visits to Pyongyang or Donald Trump?  I would imagine most objective observers would, reluctantly or not, choose Trump.

That won’t stop his critics for a second. Chuck Schumer, on Twitter, is clearly “worried,” or pretending to be: “With ICBMs and nuclear warheads in the hands of North Korea, the situation is far too dangerous for seat of the pants negotiating.”

Many of these critics — in a sad commentary on human nature — would unconsciously or even consciously prefer the negotiations to fail than to deliver Trump such a significant victory.  Call this Trump Envy that is now superseding Trump Derangement Syndrome as the president is appearing more successful and seems likely to serve a second term.  In a way, that’s a form of progress.

  

 

Ed Driscoll of Instapundit links to a good “two Tony’s” comparison by Rod Dreher.

The late Anthony Bourdain kicked off his current season of CNN shows by visiting West Virginia and writing:

“… I’ve gotta tell you, I was absolutely rocked back on my heels by, first of all, how beautiful it is, and how kind people were to me, and generous. I mean, in the same way that my preconceptions are upended so often around the world, I felt the same thing happening in West Virginia. In the stereotypical coal mining town in West Virginia — which is pretty much where we went, into the poorest area of West Virginia coal country — I was utterly moved and enchanted by the people and the place. And I like to think I came back from it with a more nuanced picture of what it means to be a coal miner, and why people voted for a sketchy businessman from New York who’s never changed a tire in his life.

You know, I went right at those things — guns, God, and Trump — and I was very moved by what I found there. I hope that people who watch the show will feel the same kind of empathy and respect, and will be able to walk in somebody else’s shoes, or imagine walking in somebody else’s shoes, for a few minutes in the same way that hopefully they do with one of my other shows. …”

In contrast, fellow leftwing New Yorker Robert DeNiro made his in-kind contribution to the Trump 2020 re-election campaign last night, shouting “F*** Trump” on the air during the Tonys. As Rod Dreher writes, “I can’t imagine that many Trump voters were watching the Tony Awards last night, so they wouldn’t have seen that virtue-signaling display. But it will enjoy a long life on social media, where it will do Donald Trump a lot of good with the masses, because it will solidify their entirely accurate belief that the cultural elites hate them. De Niro and the standing-ovation-giving audience are so vain that they don’t recognize this.”

June 11, 2018 – HOOLIGAN

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The UK is not Downton Abbey writ large. 

A good example would be the game of football (soccer) which in the UK and Europe is the Joe six-pack, blue collar sport of thugs. Which makes it amusing to see American europhiliacs and their slavish devotion to the sport of the violent hooligans of Europe’s cities. The fan violence started in Great Britain but spread to the continent and took hold. In a list of the ten worst soccer riots over the last 35 years, four were in Great Britain, the balance in Europe. And in the 21st century, of the six worst riots, five were in Europe. One in Switzerland, for God’s sake! 

Perhaps because the game is so boring, they enliven it with thuggishness in the stands. If they need excitement, we should send them baseball, which compared to soccer, is a hotbed of activity. Maybe if there was something exciting on the playing field, the spectators would behave. 

Today is hooligan day because of Tommy Robinson, a soccer hooligan of sorts, who is on a crusade trying to expose and stop the pattern of male muslim sexual abuse of young English girls. The first time this came to our attention, it was in the city of Rotherham 150 miles north of London where 1,400 young, mostly white, girls, were gang raped from 2009 to 2013 by a collection of muslim males. 

A Pickings reader in the UK explains the hooligans.

“If you can imagine that every Saturday, in season, normal people with jobs, kids, mortgages and dogs morph into animals that are escorted through the streets by hundreds of Police at enormous cost to watch a game of football, then this is the religion of Football Hooliganism. When they arrive at the amphitheatre that is a sports ground, they are segregated and fenced in singing abuse songs at the opposition all to be watched over by more police . Violence can break out at any  time and racial abuse is common whilst at the end of the game the visiting fans are escorted to the nearest station to be put on trains to return to their normal working class homes in the normal suburbia. 

Some team fans are more notorious than others, the Millwall club from London being possible the most famous. Groups meet in pubs before the games to plan attacks on other team fans . The visiting buses of the teams can be attacked as well as random attacks on groups of fans wandering to the game. 

All in all this costs the country millions of pounds every weekend to enable Football fans to enjoy themselves. 

Tommy Robinson is very much at home in this environment; an uneducated shit stirrer not worthy of your hollowed pages. He is a career criminal extremist who has been indirectly legitimatised by Trump with his reference to the BNP . He is one of many who are feeding off the Muslim hate problem  in Europe . Yes it is a problem, but we need better people than him to fight our cause. Do your home work on him before championing him!! 

Simply put the exploitation of young innocent girls by Muslims is a matter of political correctness, not just class. We are obsessed by the need not to be racial in all things and not to prosecute these poor people because the Police have to be so careful that such actions are RACIST . This is why it took years to take action against these scum bags and yes as we speak its still happening throughout the UK every day. The town of Rotherham is in a very poor working class area built on Steel , however this issue is all over the UK not just in the low class areas.

The failure to address the abuse was attributed to a combination of factors revolving around raceclass and gender contemptuous and sexist attitudes toward the mostly working-class victims; fear that the perpetrators’ ethnicity would trigger allegations of racism and damage community relations; the Labour council’s reluctance to challenge a Labour-voting ethnic minority; lack of a child-centered focus; a desire to protect the town’s reputation; and a lack of training and resources  

There is an enormous gulf between the US and UK when it comes to policing. You have a vast resource and we are woefully under financed. Our jails are full and short sentences are given to stop overcrowding in our decaying prisons.  

Wow! What am I doing here? I need to spend more time in the US.”

 

Authorities turned a blind eye because of class and racial concerns. It is hard for US citizens to understand the class consciousness endemic in the culture of the UK. But it is probably fair to say the police had little interest because of the lower class origins of the girls involved and because the Labour Councils had no wish to antagonize a group of sympathetic muslim voters. 

Tommy Robinson was angry, and many more like him were angry, because these muslims were bedding their girls. A movement was formed – the English Defense League (EDL). The league seeks to ban mass muslim immigration. Last week Tommy was live-casting outside a courtroom where muslim males were on trial for child rape. The government put him in jail because they do not want attention attracted to the disgusting crimes that have become an epidemic in the UK. Furthermore, the government forbade any news outlets, print or broadcast, from reporting on Robinson’s arrest and incarceration.

 

Craig Pirrong of Streetwise Professor posted on two European items. First on Italy, which we cut out, and then on Tommy Robinson’s arrest.

… Robinson is in the news–well, sort of, as will soon become clear–for having been arrested and incarcerated (after a “trial” lasting minutes), for livecasting from the outside of a courthouse where a group of child rapists, who happen to be Muslim, are on trial.

The charge against Robinson was that he violated the terms of his suspended sentence.  Said sentence was not for any conduct remotely related to his activism, or racism, but for providing misleading information on a mortgage application. (Arguably the original charge was pretextual, but leave that aside for the moment.)  But the judge leapt at the opportunity to clap Robinson behind bars for daring to call attention to one of the most sordid and colossal failures of the British establishment.*

But that’s not the most outrageous thing here.  The judge also imposed a gag order forbidding any reporting on Robinson’s arrest and incarceration in the British press.  Several outlets that had posted articles online immediately took them down.

This is revealing on so many levels. …

… as the judge clearly fears, Robinson evidently represents the views of a large portion of the British populace.  Yet though many agree, few speak out, and it is left to a marginal and truculent figure to launch a kamikaze attack on the system.  This illustrates the relentless and ruthless application of social pressure by the establishment–the politicians, the media, and the police, who repeatedly tell people that their social media posts are being monitored for “hate speech”–and the consequent intimidation of pretty much everybody but the likes of Tommy Robinson and a few like him.

That is, silence and preference falsification are the rational responses of those who are deeply uneasy about the social changes that the UK has undergone.  These responses are decidedly characteristic of repressive societies, not free ones.

The UK at present differs from China’s “Social Credit” system in degree, but not in kind. Social control enforced by the threat of ostracism and even imprisonment is a pervasive reality.

To which I say: thank God for the Revolution, and the Bill of Rights.  There is no right to free speech in the UK as guaranteed by the First Amendment–and people are quite aware of that, and trim their expression accordingly.

I also repeat something that I have said often: the UK is the US’s Ghost of Christmas Future. …

 

UK authorities, in the true spirit of Lavrentiy Beria, chief of Stalin’s secret police, (“Show me the man, and I will find you the crime.”) went through Robinson’s life and found a mortgage application with problems. Hence his jail sentence. Remember last June’s Pickings on Jane Sander’s credit fraud problems when we pointed out how easy it was to commit bank fraud in loan applications? 

Bruce Bawer in Pajamas Media tries to make sense of the criticism Robinson has been dealt by James Delingpole, Nigel Farage, and Daniel Hannan, all of whom you would think would be defenders of Robinson’s right to publicize the court proceedings.

… What the hell is going on with these “friendly” critics of Robinson? One factor, indubitably, is class. (It’s hard for most Americans to process it, but Tommy’s accent is a very big deal in the UK.) I also suspect that Tommy’s friendly critics are acting, at least in part, out of a reflexive respect for British public order and establishment institutions, something instilled in them from an early age, at Eton and Oxford and so on. They claim that — as unpleasant as it is to say so — Robinson deserved what he got because he knew what he was doing. They then proceed to cite ridiculous legal technicalities and absurd details about, for example, how close he was standing to the courthouse when he was broadcasting on Facebook on the day of his arrest. And they insist that his arrest was fair because, as they put it, “justice must not only be done, but must be seen to be done.”

I have seen this line repeated like a mantra in the last few days — but never with any irony. The idea of justice being “seen to be done” seems to be a beloved concept in Britain. But no objective observer of the current behavior of cops and courts in that country could say that justice is being done, or being seen to be done, when it comes to Islam.

If justice were being done, the courts would be overwhelmed with trials of serial Muslim rapists and other Muslim felons — as well as with the trials of the British police, politicians, journalists, social workers, and others who covered their crimes up over a period of decades.

Every single one of those offenses is far more serious than anything Robinson has ever done.

Supposedly “friendly” critics of Tommy, by way of showing that he’s not perfect, dredge up his conviction a few years back for mortgage fraud. The crime? He loaned money to a relative so that the latter could get a housing mortgage. Tommy was imprisoned for this. He was imprisoned for it because the authorities had combed through his finances in search of something, anything, to send him up the river for — and this was the best they could do. Meanwhile, what offenses could some of Britain’s more reprehensible imams be nabbed for, if the authorities were as eager to jail them as they have been to punish Tommy? The mind boggles. …

 

… It seems to me that these people who, while having a certain degree of sympathy for Robinson, nonetheless defend his imprisonment, can’t quite wrap their minds around the fact that the savior of their ancient country might yet prove to be some rough-around-the-edges chap who never attended Oxford or Cambridge, and who speaks in what they consider a horrid low-class dialect.

I also suspect that they’re looking desperately for a reason to believe that their nation’s system is still working — and that it’s still fair.

Their desperation is understandable. It’s touching.

But the system isn’t fair. On the contrary, it’s become the cruel instrument of cynical and cowardly officials who are manifestly determined to cover up evil — and to utterly destroy those few courageous souls who are standing in their way, driven to bring evil into the light and to drive it from their once-great country.

 

June 8, 2018 – BIG SURPRISE

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A Columbia undergrad speaks truth to the campus and everywhere. He is a black man who thinks his people shouldn’t live on stale grievances. The guys at Power Line think he will need a bodyguard if he keeps writing like this.

 

In the fall of 2016, I was hired to play in Rihanna’s back-up band at the MTV Video Music Awards. To my pleasant surprise, several of my friends had also gotten the call. We felt that this would be the gig of a lifetime: beautiful music, primetime TV, plus, if we were lucky, a chance to schmooze with celebrities backstage.

But as the date approached, I learned that one of my friends had been fired and replaced. The reason? He was a white Hispanic, and Rihanna’s artistic team had decided to go for an all-black aesthetic—aside from Rihanna’s steady guitarist, there would be no non-blacks on stage. Though I was disappointed on my friend’s behalf, I didn’t consider his firing as unjust at the time—and maybe it wasn’t. Is it unethical for an artist to curate the racial composition of a racially-themed performance? Perhaps; perhaps not. My personal bias leads me to favor artistic freedom, but as a society, we have yet to answer this question definitively.

One thing, however, is clear. If the races were reversed—if a black musician had been fired in order to achieve an all-white aesthetic—it would have made front page headlines. …

… Though the question seems naïve to some, it is in fact perfectly valid to ask why black people can get away with behavior that white people can’t. The progressive response to this question invariably contains some reference to history: blacks were taken from their homeland in chains, forced to work as chattel for 250 years, and then subjected to redlining, segregation, and lynchings for another century. In the face of such a brutal past, many would argue, it is simply ignorant to complain about what modern-day blacks can get away with.

Yet there we were—young black men born decades after anything that could rightly be called ‘oppression’ had ended—benefitting from a social license bequeathed to us by a history that we have only experienced through textbooks and folklore. And my white Hispanic friend (who could have had a tougher life than all of us, for all I know) paid the price. The underlying logic of using the past to justify racial double-standards in the present is rarely interrogated. What do slavery and Jim Crow have to do with modern-day blacks, who experienced neither? …

… The celebrated journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates provides another example of the lower ethical standard to which black writers are held. In his #1 New York Times bestseller, Between the World and Me, Coates explained that the policemen and firemen who died on 9/11 “were not human to me,” but “menaces of nature.”1 This, it turned out, was because a friend of Coates had been killed by a black cop a few months earlier. In his recent essay collection, he doubled down on this pitiless sentiment: “When 9/11 happened, I wanted nothing to do with any kind of patriotism, with the broad national ceremony of mourning. I had no sympathy for the firefighters, and something bordering on hatred for the police officers who had died.”2 Meanwhile, New York Times columnist Bari Weiss—a young Jewish woman—was recently raked over the coals for tweeting, “Immigrants: They get the job done,” in praise of the Olympic ice-skater Mirai Nagasu, a second-generation Japanese-American. Accused of ‘othering’ an American citizen, Weiss came under so much fire that The Atlantic ran two separate pieces defending her. That The Atlantic saw it necessary to vigorously defend Weiss, but hasn’t had to lift a finger to defend Coates, whom they employ, evidences the racial double-standard at play. From a white writer, an innocuous tweet provokes histrionic invective. From a black writer, repeated expressions of unapologetic contempt for public servants who died trying to save the lives of others on September 11 are met with fawning praise from leftwing periodicals, plus a National Book Award and a MacArthur ‘Genius’ Grant. …

 

 

May 26, 2018 – CONTINETTI

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Matthew Continetti gets his own day today. First his send off for Tom Wolfe.

In 1965 Tom Wolfe visited PrincetonUniversity for a panel discussion of “the style of the Sixties.” The author of The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby, published that year, was scheduled to appear alongside Günter Grass, Allen Ginsberg, and Paul Krassner. Grass spoke first. The German novelist’s remarks, Wolfe wrote later, “were grave and passionate. They were about the responsibility of the artist in a time of struggle and crisis.” And they were crudely dismissed by Krassner. “The next thing I knew,” Wolfe wrote, “the discussion was onto the subject of fascism in America.”

Wolfe was flummoxed, Grass silent as their co-panelists described the nightmares and injustices taking place outside the hall. “Suddenly,” Wolfe recollected, “I heard myself blurting out over my microphone: ‘My God, what are you talking about? We’re in the middle of a … Happiness Explosion!”

That was not what the crowd wanted to hear. A “tidal wave of rude sounds” drowned out Wolfe. But he found an unexpected ally in Grass, who spoke up once more. “For the past hour I have had my eyes fixed on the doors here,” he said. “You talk about fascism and police repression. In Germany when I was a student, they came through those doors long ago. Here they must be very slow.”

How little our intellectual climate has changed between that evening in the sixties and Wolfe’s death on May 14. America’s writers, artists, and thinkers, and their media manqué, continue to argue that our civilization is decadent, sexist, racist, torn asunder, on the verge of succumbing to authoritarianism or fascism, the population impoverished, the environment despoiled, the world made worse by our presence. … 

… he resisted membership in the “herd of independent minds,” choosing instead to join the ranks of counter-intellectuals who problematized not middle-class society but its critics on campus, in media, and along the radical frontier of the Democratic Party. Wolfe is often overlooked as a counter-intellectual because his method was not polemic but devastating, irresistible satire. He was Jonathan Swift in a white suit. …

… The job of counter-intellectuals like Tom Wolfe is to stop intellectuals from ruining things for the rest of us. And turn our eyes toward the Happiness Explosion.

 

 

Then Continetti makes fun of our country’s europhiliac intellectuals as the search continues for a TrumpSlayer.

Donald Trump had been president for just a little more than a week, but Francine Prose was ready for him to go. On January 30, 2017, the novelist published her call to action in the pages of the Guardian. “I believe that what we need is a nonviolent national general strike of the kind that has been more common in Europe than here,” she wrote. …

… The list of potential saviors is long. It is also subject to revision. For example, on February 3, 2017, Politico magazine asked, “Will this man take down Donald Trump?” The man in question was then–New York state attorney general Eric Schneiderman, the “slender, slightly built former corporate lawyer, the only son of a New York philanthropist whose last name adorns several city cultural institutions,” who also “has a record of going not only after Trump, but going after people now in Trumpworld.” And going after women he is dating, according to the New Yorker, whose account of Schneiderman’s verbal and physical abuse of girlfriends led to his resignation on the evening of May 7, 2018.

The ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election has dogged the Trump presidency since the beginning and provided multiple opportunities for Trump’s critics to speculate, loudly and without any evidence, that he won’t survive its outcome. “If true, this CNN report about Russia could destroy Trump’s presidency,” wrote Alex Shepard of the NewRepublic in the spring of 2017. The CNN report, published on March 23, 2017, said, “The FBI has information that indicates associates of President Donald Trump communicated with suspected Russian operatives to possibly coordinate the release of information damaging to Hillary Clinton’s campaign.” It was a bombshell—one that, at this writing, has not been substantiated. …

… Rod Rosenstein, Michael Wolff, Tom Steyer, Adam Schiff—all have been portrayed as the Trumpslayer, the agent of presidential demise. The most recent and sensational claimants to the title are Stephanie Clifford, aka Stormy Daniels, and her telegenic attorney Michael Avenatti. “If for some reason Mueller does not get him, Stormy will,” Maxine Waters told Joy Reid during a March 11 phone interview. A March 12 Rolling Stone article purported to explain “How the Stormy Daniels Scandal Could Bring Down Trump.” …

… And so the Resistance has descended the winding staircase from People Power to porn stars, from Robert Mueller to Michael Avenatti. Who will be next to join the ranks of false media messiahs? No doubt the answer will surprise us. “Could an Army of Accountants Bring Down Trump?” asked a recent headline.

What caught my eye was the place where this article appeared. So desperate are they to overturn the results of the 2016 election, it would seem, that the editors of the Nation are willing—if only grudgingly—to embrace bean counters.